The Battle for dams

Posted by Freddy on Oct-24-2010

Dams have always remained as a major concern. Dams and hydroelectric projects are constructed to fulfill needs of human beings but these have satisfied only a minority group. These projects are made with huge promises throwing light on the reward. But many a times the impacts of these dams turn out to be ridiculous.
The construction of large dams completely change the relationship of water and land, destroying the existing ecosystem balance which, in many cases, has taken thousands of years to create. The reservoirs held behind dams affect many ecological aspects of a river. Rivers topography and dynamics depend on a wide range of flows whilst rivers below dams often experience long periods of very stable flow conditions or saw tooth flow patterns caused by releases followed by no releases.
In china the dams have become a threat to the Biodiverse Rivers. China already four dams and it plan to construct more dams. Now it’s the Mekong River where a new dam would be constructed. The Mekong River which is world’s most biodiverse river is now under threat. It is considered as world’s largest freshwater fisheries. The rich ecosystem of this river includes the giant cat fish as well as a colony of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. The problem for countries further down the Mekong is that dams reduce the levels of sediment and silt that carry nutrients essential for fish to survive. It causes the loss of entire ecospheres, including endangered and undiscovered species in the area, and the replacement of the original environment by a new inland lake.
The Mekong flows through China winding down through the heart of South-east Asia before emptying into a fertile delta in Vietnam. But rapid investment in the rapid expansion of hydropower dams is starting to take its toll. The environmentalists have raised serious concerns about the river’s future. Despite knowing the impacts caused by the dam the government planners have given approval for its construction. But it’s not just the Chinese government that supports the dam building. Officials in Laos are also keen to exploit the promise of hydropower, seeing it as one way to lift the country out of chronic poverty through electricity sales to energy-hungry neighbors.
Many governments only think about the economy. The existing and proposed dams on the mainstream and tributaries of the Mekong River pose tremendous threats to 20 million people living in the delta. Most of the people depend on freshwater fisheries for an estimated 80 percent of their protein intake, dams that block fish migration spell disaster for food security. Fishing which is the employment of more six million would be totally effected. But despite knowing all the consequences, battle for the construction of dams continues. It’s not just the matter of China alone but it’s the matter of all the countries.
At the end of the day, no dam is the best option for all countries.

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