Category: Destructive Dams

Hydroelectric dams threaten Brazil’s mysterious Pantanal – one of the world’s great wetlands

The Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland and covers an area slightly larger than England. It lies mostly on a huge floodplain at the foot of Brazil’s southwestern highlands, but a fraction also spills over into Bolivia and Paraguay. In the wet season, from October to April, water washes down from those highlands bringing with it nutrients and fish and leaving most of the region underwater. When the rains finish, and the ground dries up, the landscape changes once again. Seasonal variation on such a massive scale means the Pantanal contains a diverse range of plants and animals that have adapted to thrive in standing water or waterlogged soil. The region is home to more than 1,000 bird species and 300 mammals including the jaguar, capybara, giant otter and tapir.

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Alaknanda Leaves Uttarakhand Villages High and Dry

The river Alaknanda holds a special, sacred place for Indians. One of the two headstreams of the holiest river Ganga, Alaknanda originates from glaciers at the head of the Alaknanda valley in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. It runs a 190-km-course in the state’s hilly districts of Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag and Tehri before merging with Bhagirathi that originates from the Gangotri glacier in the Himalayan state’s Uttarkashi district. The Bhagirathi flows for 205 kilometres before meeting Alaknanda at Uttarakhand’s Devprayag town to become the Ganga. The Alaknanda, however, has been reduced to a shallow stream in many places now. Many villages located along the course of the Ganga in Uttarakhand are suffering from severe water shortage as the construction of dams for hydropower projects have sucked the river dry.

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Dammed or Damned: Why Are Dams Undesirable In The 21st Century?

Rivers in different parts of the world have been dammed to fulfill human needs like water for irrigation, industries and domestic supplies, to control floods, and to produce electricity. These have often been celebrated as human victory over nature, glorified as engineering marvels and claimed variously as highest, longest, etc as a matter of national pride. But rarely has there been a holistic assessment, or appreciation of what a dam does to the natural entity called a river and its adverse impacts on all the associated life forms, including humans.

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