23 Feb 2009

The Dam Building Boom: Right Path to Clean Energy?

Led by China, the developing world is engaged in a flurry of dam construction, touting hydropower as renewable energy in an era of global warming. But critics point out that the human and environmental costs of dams remain high.
By david biello

The Jinsha River tumbles down from the highlands of the Tibetan Plateau and courses through China for more than 1,300 miles before becoming the Yangtze. Until recently, it was a free-flowing waterway that ran through the picturesque landscape of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces, but that is changing rapidly: Taking advantage of a drop of nearly 14 feet per mile, the Chinese government is building — or planning to build — as many as 12 large dams on the Jinsha. More than 300,000 people will be displaced, numerous cultural sites will be flooded, and river ecosystems irretrievably altered.

The Jinsha’s fate is typical of many of China’s rivers, as the country is engaged in a frenzy of dam building that has left it with more dams — 26,000 at last count —than any other nation in the world. In the past two decades, hundreds have been built for hydropower production, enabling towns like Shigu — famed in China as the site at which Mao and the Red Army crossed the Jinsha as part of the Long March — to leap forward from backwaters to regional centers.

“We wish to have a better life but still live in beautiful nature,” Cun Yanfang, who was born and raised in a village on the mountainous banks of the Jinsha, told me on a recent trip to China.

In China — and throughout the developing world — that is proving to be an increasingly difficult balance to strike. What is happening along the Jinsha, the Yangtze, and dozens of other Chinese rivers is emblematic of a major resurgence of dam building worldwide — a trend that is likely to intensify as growing concerns about global warming make hydropower look more appealing.

The rapid rate of dam construction today is akin to a form of environmental and social triage, with the need for a renewable, carbon-free source of electricity taking precedence over the rights of displaced local
The need for renewable energy is taking precedence over displaced populations and river preservation.
populations and the preservation of river ecosystems. As a result, governments, the World Bank, and even some environmental groups are embracing dam construction, some with an enthusiasm not seen since the heyday of industrial dam building last century when mammoth hydropower projects — from the Hoover Dam in the United States to the High Aswan Dam in Egypt — were built.

From Brazil — where large dams have been built or are planned along the Amazon River and its tributaries — to Mozambique, India, and Laos, hydroelectric power stations are being constructed at a furious pace. The World Commission on Dams reports that there are now 48,000 dams taller than 50 feet worldwide. Hydropower stations currently under construction around the globe will, when finished, produce 151 gigawatts of electricity — the equivalent of several thousand large, coal-fired power plants. That represents nearly 20 percent of the electricity being generated by all the hydropower projects ever constructed.

Given the threat of global warming and the essential nature of electricity to development, the arguments for erecting dams seem strong. China’s Three Gorges Dam — built from 1994 to 2008 — produces electricity equivalent to roughly 500 typical Chinese coal-fired power plants, which are far smaller than coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and Europe; Three Gorges is the largest hydropower station in the world. Its output avoids the production of at least 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or roughly the emissions of Norway and Sweden combined. Even Greenpeace China has called for more hydropower development (with appropriate environmental safeguards) in its "Energy [R]Evolution" plan to produce half of China’s energy needs from renewables.

Yet this surge of dam building has come at enormous human, environmental, and cultural costs. Three Gorges Dam has displaced 1.2 million people. In recent decades, Brazil has built four large dams in its

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Three Gorges

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China’s Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, completed last year, is now the largest hydroelectric power station in the world.
Amazon basin and is planning as many as 70 more, including two on the main tributary to the Amazon River, the Madeira. These two huge dams would displace thousands of indigenous families, flood large areas of rainforest, and alter the river so extensively that the migration of 750 species of fish would be affected, according to the dam watchdog group International Rivers.

Recent studies also have indicated that the 320 million tons of water in the reservoir behind the newly constructed Zipingpu Dam in China’s Sichuan Province might have triggered last May’s devastating earthquake by placing stress on a major fault line less than a mile away. More than 70,000 people died in that disaster.

China outpaces all other dam building nations; in the last decade, more than 60 percent of the hydropower projects completed worldwide have been in China.

“You can see and hear rational arguments from the Chinese: climate, air pollution, diversify [energy] supply,” says Patrick McCully, executive director of International Rivers, based in Berkeley, California. “On the ground, it’s basically unregulated with companies trying to build as much as possible as fast as possible… China’s just devastating its rivers and displacing millions of people. If they are going to build hydro, then they should do it in a rational, well-planned way so that it’s only the less destructive projects that get built and they get built with more safeguards for affected people.”

Dam building creates other significant impacts as well. Drowned trees and vegetation burp methane — which traps heat at 25-times the rate of CO2 — out of the reservoirs, particularly in tropical regions like Brazil. In fact, scientists at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research calculate that the world’s large dams are responsible for producing 104 million metric tons of methane a year — making dams the single largest source of human-caused methane.

And, ultimately, human-caused climate change may send these modern monoliths into obsolescence faster than anticipated by changing river flows, most notably by speeding the melting of glaciers. Should the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau largely disappear in the coming century, for example, not only will the drinking water supplies of more than 1 billion people be affected, but flows vital to water storage and hydropower production on rivers such as the Yangtze would be significantly reduced. Chinese scientists have found that the more than 46,000 glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are shrinking by an average of 7 percent annually; the bulk of water in China’s two major rivers — the Yangtze and Yellow rivers — comes from glacial melt.

“Climate change is going to very adversely effect big dams,” says anthropologist Thayer Scudder of the California Institute of Technology, who has been a consultant on dam projects to the World Bank since the 1960s and is a member of the World Commission on Dams. “These dams are going to meet relatively short-term needs. What’s the situation going to be 30 to 50 years from now, which is when they think the glaciers may be gone?”

And, while the Chinese government continues to construct dams at a feverish pace inside China, it has also taken over a role once reserved for international development banks, such as the World Bank: funding
The dam boom could mean hydropower will one day supplant coal as China's chief energy source.
dam-building in developing countries from Asia to Africa. In fact, China is now involved in funding or building more than 200 dams around the world. According to Scudder and other analysts, the goal is not combating climate change or even fostering development. Instead, they say, China is building dams in exchange for access to natural resources, such as metals, fossil fuels, and even farmland—as well as lucrative construction contracts.

For example, the China Export-Import Bank has helped launch the funding for a new 1,500 megawatt dam on the Zambezi River in Mozambique, the Mphanda Nkuwa. Building the dam would eliminate any hopes of rectifying the impacts of a previously built dam on the Zambezi river delta, which has shrunk by half as sediment and water have been choked off, crippling local fisheries and reducing fertile farmland downstream. That dam, the Cahora Bassa — built in the 1970s — required the relocation of more than 10,000 people.

Richard Taylor, executive director of the International Hydropower Association, ascribes the worldwide flurry of dam building to the run-up in the price of fossil fuels, concerns over climate change, and the desire of nations to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Producing electricity has become the main reason for building new dams, supplanting issues of water storage, irrigation, or flood control.

“Where hydropower is feasible,” says Taylor, “it can be the most benign and long-term economic option to meet electricity supply needs.”

In China, some analysts say that the dam building boom could mean that hydropower will one day supplant coal as the country’s chief energy source.

“Within 30 to 50 years, hydro will be the main energy we [China] should rely on,” says Lai Hun Sen, a professor of sustainable development at Chongqing University and a municipal government official who has studied the Three Gorges Dam. “It is a choice we made when we had no other choice.”

But "there are many problems," Lai says, including massive relocations of people, natural disasters such as mudslides, and water quality issues. "When the water drops, areas are exposed in the reservoir in summer, as much as 400 square kilometers,” says Lai. “When [water pollution] deposition is exposed under the sun and temperatures, some disease will spread. This will happen every year."

What’s happening on the Jinsha is typical of the frenzy of dam building throughout China, where the southwestern corner of the nation may soon have as many as 114 dams on eight different rivers. The dam projects on the Jinsha may eventually generate some 33 gigawatts of potential hydropower, equivalent to roughly 730 of China's relatively small coal-fired power plants.

Many of these dams must be built for another reason besides electricity generation: to keep Three Gorges in business. The problem is silt, which will rapidly build up behind the megadam unless it is captured by other dams upstream. In other words, building one dam means building many more.

And, ironically, the conflicting goals of local, regional and national development means more dams are being built than may ultimately prove useful, with one dam effectively depriving another of water.

“Within the last four years, the water is less than we expect,” Chongqing’s Lai says. “This is really a big problem for us.”

The environmental effects are already being felt in China. Stretches of the
The World Bank has decided once again to get more deeply involved in funding dams.
Jinsha River — “Golden Sands” in English — run red as the iron-rich dirt removed to build these dams is dumped back into the river. Already, thanks to Three Gorges and other dams, the nutrient mix in the East China Sea, where the Yangtze empties, has changed dramatically as less water and silt reach the sea.

Another sign of hydropower’s resurgence is the World Bank’s decision to once again get more deeply involved in the business of funding dams. Once strongly criticized for backing massive dam projects that displaced millions and harmed the environment, the bank has announced plans to increase lending to hydropower as part of its commitment to fund renewable energy projects. The bank’s dam funding will rise to $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011, up from $800 million in 2008.

The resurgence of dam building has slowed somewhat in recent months, due to the global economic crisis. But few think the slowdown will be anything but temporary, according to International Rivers' McCully.

For its part, China is relying on such massive infrastructure projects as part of its 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) economic stimulus program. If such projects can gain additional credence by acquiring the patina of combating climate change, all the better. China has applied for at least 729 new dams to receive carbon credits under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol — more than half the global total of such hydroelectric project applications.

“This is a huge scam,” McCully argues. “Three-quarters of them are already built when they go for carbon credits. It’s hard to argue that they need the carbon credits to get built.”

The decision to construct dams has always presented governments with the dilemma of balancing economic development with the rights of local populations and environmental protection. For the most part, development has trumped other concerns.

Now, with dam proponents arguing that hydropower meets the most pressing environmental need of our time — reducing greenhouse gas emissions — opposing dam construction has become doubly difficult.

“Over the short and medium term, dams remain an important development option under certain conditions,” says Scudder. “Over the long run, large dams are unsustainable development.”

Correction, Feb. 25, 2009: An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of power being produced by China’s Three Gorges Dam and that will be produced by dams along the Jinsha River system. The Three Gorges Dam actually produces electricity equivalent to roughly 500 typical Chinese coal-fired power plants, which are far smaller than coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and Europe. Dams along the Jinsha River system will eventually generate power equivalent to roughly 730 of China’s relatively small coal-fired power plants.


David Biello has been covering energy and the environment for nearly a decade, the last three years as an associate editor at Scientific American. He also hosts 60-Second Earth, a Scientific American podcast covering environmental news. In a recent article for Yale e360, Biello wrote about how geothermal technology can contribute to the world's energy needs.

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Let's please not underestimate the problems caused by methane ... from the surface of impoundments, but also from the agitation of the water in turbines (like shaking a soda bottle). They have done some comparative research in Brazil, and estimate that some of the dams in tropical regions have a worse emissions carbon footprint than coal plants producing the same amount of energy. And it's not a one time hit, waterlevel variability in reservoirs promotes vegetation growth along the shore, which gets regularly submerged in anaerobic conditions in regular hydropower operations. And this says nothing about the displacement of indigenous populations, and the like.

I'm most concerned with hydro development in Canada (with the U.S. as the next possible biggest consumer of electricity for import). And Canadian research universities have been busy handing out grants to study the issue (minimized by the industry) of methane emissions in the colder and oxygen starved depths of Canadian dams (particularly when they flood peat lands). Energy for import when the environmental cost is paid by someone else is not a solution. We need to work hard to promote better alternatives, and change the status-quo thinking and generate the political will to fully fund and promote renewables (that are not hydro) ... and it would actually save us money in the long-run (if ever there was a real price put on carbon ... retroactively or otherwise).

Canada has just introduced legislation to radically reform wild waters legislation (the navigable waters act) and to weaken citizen input on environmental assessments ... in a budget bill where it will not get a fair hearing. I worry every day it's not just oil sands they hope to expand, but also rivers that still support a way of life for people and communities that are looking for long term sustainable solutions, expanding tourism opportunities, and a way of life that maintains access to wild rivers and health populations of wild game.
Posted by EL on 23 Feb 2009

Rubbish and more ... Is this Yale the university ? Yale is grabbing numbers from thin air ... no control checking. Fantasy numbers and claims.

The dam projects on the Jinsha may eventually generate some 33 gigawatts of potential hydropower, equivalent to roughly 730 large coal-fired power plants.

Further claimings :
China’s Three Gorges Dam — equivalent to 500 large coal-fired power plants

From Wikipedia:

Three Gorges Dam: The total electric generating capacity of the dam will reach 22,500 MW

and one big Coal plant-
Mohave Power Station, a 1,580 MW coal power plant near Laughlin, Nevada,

The TG-dam is eq to 22,000mw/ 1,58 MW = 14 coal BIG station

14 coal plants .. Only?

Posted by frank frankly on 24 Feb 2009

The nameplate capacity of Three Gorges is indeed 22,500 MW. So you are absolutely right that Three Gorges would only displace some 22 of the largest coal-fired power plants (1,000 MW or more in nameplate capacity) like Mohave. But the reality is that the bulk of China's coal-fired power plants and boilers are much, much smaller. So the 500 number is an approximation based on the fact of smaller Chinese coal-fired power plants.

It's definitely a number on which reasonable people might disagree. But the good news regardless is: one of the quickest ways China is cleaning up its environment is by shutting down old, small, inefficient, polluting coal-fired power plants and boilers and replacing them with larger, more efficient ones.
Posted by David Biello on 24 Feb 2009

Your article was very interesting ..... until I got to your extreme errors. When I read "large coal-fired power plant" I think of a 1MW-plant at a minimum.

a. China’s Three Gorges Dam — equivalent to 500 large coal-fired power plants

b. and the Jinsa system at the equivalent to roughly 730 large coal-fired power plants.

Now you are saying: large coal-fired power plants = miniscule Chinese coal-fired power plants?
Posted by frank frankly on 24 Feb 2009

All of the 'solutions' that we have to our energy needs will fail as long as the human population is in overshoot and we to continue an unlimited economic growth model on a planet with finite resources.

It is as simple as that. Unless there is a drastic reduction in the human population to around 1-2 billion in the next two generations, we are just shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic.
Posted by Mr. Ronald Brown on 25 Feb 2009

What I want to say is that due to the severe limited electricity supply in China, it is reasonable to build Three George Dam. But I do agree with you that there might be better ways to see to this problem. I think some of us, most in authority level, have no idea about the current environmental situation and that really make me feel uncomfortable. I have been to the Dam in 2008. I was sure there must be more beautiful scene there before this dam was constructed. Unfortunately, I have no chance to see it.
Posted by Ang Zhu on 25 Feb 2009

David- it's commendable that you're seeking to underscore the expansion of hydroelectric dams throughout the Global South. However, less articles like yours be ridiculed, it's necessary to sharpen your analysis. I would stay away from terms like "huge" dams in cases where what you actually have is a multiplication of small dams with small reservoirs on the same river replacing the old model of large dams and large reservoirs; displacing "thousands" of indigenous people in the case of the Madeira when indigenous people will actually be displaced rather by migration and illegal logging driven by the dam construction, not the reservoir itself. Flooding reservoirs are only some of a few cases; run of the river dams are sometimes common nowadays with changes in turbine technology. This is significant to understanding today's discourses on dam development, and underscores the necessity to contest hydroelectric development from new frames of reference. Analyses cannot continue to contest dam building based on arguments that most appropriately characterize the industry during the 60s and 70s in the Global South. If they do, you risk the potential of being coopted by the sustainable development arguments of governments, who will claim that they've avoided all of the problems that you mention. Best of luck in your work.
Posted by Zachary Hurwitz on 25 Feb 2009

Dams may be not the green, carbon-free power source the industry claims they are. The problem of methane emissions, first recognized by Phillip Fearnside in Brazil, has not been adequately explored. Worse, the industry is doing its best to make sure any further studies get squelched. When some Canadian researchers were getting ready to publish the results of a study that showed Canadian reservoirs also contribute to greenhouse gases, BC Hydro responded by cutting the scientist's funding.
The process of construction, use of heavy equipment, and the concrete itself all contribute to ghg's. The IPCC has recommended withholding the issuance of carbon credits for hydropower facilities until better science becomes available.
Dams don't last forever either. Here in the U.S. major dams like Glen Canyon will be rendered useless within the next 50 years due to silt built up. This will happen about the same time that the looming petroleum crisis comes to fruition. While water falling on a turbine doesn't require any fossil fuel to produce electricity, the upkeep of dams is an incredibly expensive and petroleum intensive exercise. It remains to be seen how well that can be done without reliable supplies of oil. The sad reality in our country, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is that we aren't even keeping up with this job now.
The worst part of dams, however, are their immediate social and ecological costs. Here in the U.S., on the Columbia River, what was once the world's greatest annual return of salmon is down to less than a percent of its historical abundance. The costs of "mitigating" this damage have run into the billions, with no tangible positive results.
Changes in flow regimes on the Columbia have altered surface salinity in the Pacific from the Gulf of Alaska to Northern California. Killing the flow of river-born sediment to the estuary by trapping it behind dams kills aquatic life. The increasing acidity of our oceans, attributed to climate change, may well be accelerated by the frenzy of dam building, which has withheld an estimated 25% of the mineral discharge from rivers to the ocean over the past century.
Dams do as much damage as any other form of centralized electricity production. Wish your article would have scrutinized the assumption of benign power production a little more thoroughly.

Posted by steve hawley on 26 Feb 2009

I'm not much of a numbers person, so if your calculations are a bit off here, that doesn't bother me. I am appreciative of your very clear point that hydropower expansion comes with benefits
and costs. All sources of power come with benefits and costs. I like an article like this because it reminds me that the point is to find the right mix, not a silver bullet.
Also, thanks for your hard work and balanced presentation. I especially noticed your fair treatment of the comments from the hydropower executive; you didn't couch his words in a way that made him appear greedy or callous. Good show.

Posted by Anne Minard on 28 Feb 2009

The only projects worthy of the true believer's approval are those that cause burning of fossil fuel 75 percent of the time, cannot produce for our needs, cannot clean the air, grind up birds, require thousands of square miles of land, cannot save any oil, cannot shut down any fossil fuel plants and cannot add capacity.

The only thing they provide is funding for prophets, politicians and those who build these monstrous monuments to waste, inefficiency and environmental unawareness.
Posted by Dahun on 16 Mar 2009

Sir, can we get a fowl without hatching an egg? Is it a high time to raise a question directly on the production of clean energy when we are facing the problem of carbon loaded environment?

No doubt, some cultural heritages will be drowned for ever. Some indigenous people will have to be migrated to other places. Biodiversity can be imbalanced to some extent. But what is at the top priority at present? Isn’t it the oxygen? Isn’t it the clean drinking water? Isn’t it the global warming? What and who will be spared if the globe itself gets imbalanced? Not only damming, unlimited and ruthless manipulation of anything will create problems. The need of the time is to prioritize the problems and then mitigate the adverse results.

The problem of methane produced by drowned trees can be checked by clearing the vegetation that are going to be dipped underwater. siltation problem can be minimized by converting the bare and cultivated slope land into fruit gardens that will support in food production, carbon reduction and siltation as well. Mining should be totally stopped in the catchments’ area of the dam side and fisheries can be promoted in the large dam sides. The construction of dams should be done only after deep study about its adverse effects avoiding major fault lines. The affected people should get alternative and proper new settlements and income sources. They can be empowered and supported by providing proper trainings to new life skills. We shouldn’t be careless to any adverse effects but how can we suggest stopping the production of clean energy under a carbon cloudy sky.
Posted by padam pande on 14 Oct 2009

Finally, a well balanced article on hydro development in China. Good work, David Biello.

The persons making comments about methane production by hydro reservoirs should know that there is no "internationally" accepted standard for measuring methane production in large reservoirs. (There is no U.S. national standard either) Therefore, the statements about large reservoirs producing huge amounts of methane are scare tactics as different organizations can "estimate" methane production in whatever manner they decide to promote their goals. Presently, Hydro Quebec & Ontario Hydro are involved in a research program to identify the amount of methane produced in large reservoirs; and the Brazilian utilities are involved in promoting an international standard for methane production. Until an acceptable standard is established, all this talk of methane production is bogus. To wit,I can state that the Yangtze River produced huge amounts of methane before the Three Gorges dam was established because of its natural floods. The natural floods submerged a great amount of biomass for a short period of time, thereby producing "large" amounts of methane.
Posted by David M. Clemen on 23 Oct 2009

The US Department of Energy in its April 2009 Funding Opportunity Announcement is seeking an industry-led partnership with government agencies and universities to model the interactions of conventional and pumped storage hydropower projects.

The prospects of development of hydro-electric power engineering are related to the rational use of present hydro-technical resources and, accordingly, implementation of the following measures: building of the river hydroelectric dam-less power stations with the semi-submerged and submerged hydro-turbines; building of additional combined power facilities with the semi-submerged and submerged hydro-turbines on existing hydro-technical building for hydro-accumulation and electrical power production; building of additional combined wind-turbines for hydro-accumulation and electrical power production. The future prospects of development of hydropower engineering are related with molecular technologies and equipment for hydro-accumulation and electrical power production that use internal energy of molecules, atoms of liquids and the energy of intermolecular forces to receive electric current.

When working in parallel chart with operating hydro-technical building (hydro-electrical power stations and hydro-accumulation power-stations) Semi-submerged and submerged hydro-turbines can be used as for the direct generation of electric current with the use of remained kinetic energy of stream of the «exhausted» water so for hydro-accumulation of electric energy, by pumping of water from a lower level on a top level, in other words returning her in a storage pool for the repeated use for production of energy with the help of HPS hydro-turbines. Such method allows to multiply the operating condition of hydro-turbines and to raise the energetic effectiveness of all hydro-energy installation.

The new hydro-energetic equipment when working in the mode of hydro-accumulation is used for putting into motion the mechanical pumps for returning of water into a top level storage pool, in other words is used locally. It considerably diminishes the stability requirements demands to the rotation parameters of hydro-turbines.

Combined wind-turbines can be used both for direct generation of electric current with the use of energy of wind and to carry out a mechanical work in the hydro-technical systems, especially, in the hydro-accumulation systems by pumping of water from a lower level on a top level, in other words, returning «exhausted» water into a storage pool for a repeated use for production of energy with the help of regular hydro-HPS turbines. Such method allows raising the effectiveness of hydro-turbines and of all hydro-power system.

When working in the mode of electric energy generation the kinetic energy of air motion is transformed into a kinetic energy of wind turbine rotor and electrical generator rotor, which is hardly connected with turbine rotor. An electrodynamics system converts kinetic energy of rotors into electric energy which is transformed by means of adapters in an electric current. Parameters and characteristics of an electric current correspond to the standards of an electrical network.

When working in the mode of water transporting the kinetic energy of air motion is transformed into a kinetic energy of wind turbine rotor and rotor of (electro) mechanical pump that is hardly connected with him and can be made in accordance with one of the known charts. The pump system provides water lifting from a lower level onto an upper one. The requirements of motion stability of a wind turbine working in the mode of water pumping are not such critical as in the mode of electric power production. Power efficiency of combined WPP is considerably higher in comparison with WPP that works exceptionally in the mode of electric power production.

Another perfect technology we are researching – molecular hydrodynamics methods and equipment for hydro-accumulation and electrical power production. This technology utilizes of internal energy of molecules of water, force of surface tension for creation of the hydrodynamic systems. The work which is done by molecular forces is measured by significant value. Calculations and conducted researches show the possibility of creation of the artificial molecular hydropower systems with the use of energy of surface tension.
The R&D that are conducted by Nizhyn Laboratories of Scanning Devices interlace closely with the DOE seeking partnership with enterprises to model the interactions of conventional and pumped storage hydropower projects. This research would increase the hydropower’s integration into variable renewable energy sources. (Look

Posted by Vasil Sidorov on 02 Nov 2009

- It is fact the human and environmental costs of dams remain high.

- Big dams are environmental hazards.

- A large number of people have to migrate. Many people who displaced due to construction of Tarbella dam in 70s, could not be resettled after passing about 40 years.

- There is big seepage and evaporation.

- In case of breach, big dam brings ruination on large-scale.

- In Pakistan, big dams are used to usurp the share of water by might-Punjab of provinces like Sindh and Balochistan. Record shows this.

- About 1500 big dams are dismantled in USA, Spain, Thailand, India and some other countries.

- In Pakistan, no extra water is available for new dam as pointed out by A N G Abbasi, chief of high-level Technical Committee on Water.

- Indus delta - the sixth largest delta is on the verge of unnatural death in Islamic Republic of Pakistan but Punjab wants to built controversial Kalabagh dam in Punjab to usurp share of Sindh's water and finally turn Sindh into desert.

Three out of four provincial assemblies have passed 10 resolutions against construction of Kalabagh dam (KBD) in Punjab but might Punjab wants to bring forcible socalled consensus on controversial Kalabagh dam project in Punjab.

Posted by Mohammad Khan Sial on 22 Sep 2010

Mohammed Khan Sial,

After the large flooding in Pakistan which killed thousands of people, and devastated large portions of the country; are you really still so adamant against large dams? Large dams prevent flooding of this nature. So you can construct what you described as an "environmental hazard" (I disagree on this point), and save thousands of lives and mitigate the devastation of large flooding, or you can live with your environmentally friendly lifestyle, and suffer the results. You choose.

Posted by David M. Clemen on 09 Oct 2010



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