Tag Archives: Dams

Life-Giving Deltas Starved by Dams

indus-delta-pakistan
Indus river delta. As deltas sink, local sea levels rise. The link between Effective Sea Level Rise and sediment retention by dams has been confirmed by several studies. Photo source: NASA

Excerpts;

The deltas of great rivers such as the Nile, Mekong, Irrawaddy, Ganges and Brahmaputra belong to the world’s most important rice bowls and population centers. Since they link inland waters and marine environments, deltas are also highly productive ecosystems.

At a time when coastal areas are already battered by climate change, life-giving deltas are being sacrificed to dam building.

As deltas sink, local sea levels rise. The link between Effective Sea Level Rise and sediment retention by dams has been confirmed by several studies…

Read Full Article, by Peter Bosshard, Policy Director, International Rivers / Huffington Post

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sedimentation Problems with Dams, International Rivers

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility

elwha-dam-2011
Elwha River Dam, the largest dam removal project ever attempted in the U.S, 2011. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

DamNation is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx.

Through the use of beautiful cinematography and authenticity on several levels, it educates the audience in a powerfully moving way…

Read Full Article, by Vivian Norris; Huffington Post

WATCH: DamNation Official trailer, on Youtube

Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

“This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation¹s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.”

DamNation Trailer, Official Trailer, Youtube
Patagonia Presents DamNation, A Stoecker Ecological & Felt Soul Media Production; Executive Producer Yvon Chouinard; Produced by Matt Stoecker & Travis Rummel; Directed by Ben Knight & Travis Rummel; Edited by Ben Knight; Associate Producer Beda Calhoun; Conceived by Matt Stoecker and Yvon Chouinard.

Five Pop Culture Documentaries That Hollywood Should Make, Time Magazine

Tracking Sediments’ Fate In Largest-Ever Dam Removal
Scientists tracking the aftermath of the largest dam removal in U.S. history say the dismantling of a dam in northwestern Washington state has unleashed about 34 million cubic yards of sediment and debris that built up for more than a century…

Let’s Talk About Sand: “Sand Wars” Film Director Denis Delestrac, At TEDxBarcelona

Controversial dam projects – in pictures, The Guardian UK
A look is taken at some of the world’s most contentious dam projects, from the Three Gorges in China to Brazil’s Belo Monte dam.

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down…

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

elwha-dam-removal-sediments
Sediments on the Elwha river shores. Photo courtesy of: © Andy C., Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS)

Alluvial Fan in Kazakhstan

alluvial-fan-norway
Alluvial fan, Spitsbergen, Norway. Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea.Photo source: ©© Gus McLeod

By Adam Voiland / NASA;

Mountain streams are usually confined to narrow channels and tend to transport sizable amounts of gravel, sand, clay, and silt—material that geologists call alluvium.

The type and quantity of alluvium transported depends on the volume of the water flow and the gradient of the stream. Larger rivers pick up more alluvium than smaller ones; fast-flowing streams on steep slopes transport coarser sediment than slow-moving ones on shallow slopes.

When a rushing stream emerges from the mountains onto a relatively flat valley or basin, it often spreads out to become a braided stream with multiple, interlacing channels. As a mountain stream moves into a flat area, it also slows down. It loses its capacity to carry as much alluvium and deposits the excess in sandbars throughout the channels. Over time, the channel migrates back and forth, creating fan-shaped deposits known as alluvial fans.

The narrowest point of an alluvial fan—closest to the mountain front—is known as the apex; the broader part is called the apron. Alluvium deposited closer to the apex tends to be coarser than the material that makes up the apron. Alluvial fans are more likely to form in deserts because there is plenty of loose alluvium and not much vegetation to prevent stream channels from shifting.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this view (below) of an alluvial fan in Kazakhstan’s Almaty province on September 9, 2013. In the lower left of the image, the Tente River flows through a narrow channel in the foothills of the Dzungarian Alatau range. Where the Tente emerges from the hills near Lake Alakol, it spreads out and becomes a braided stream. The movement of the channel over time has left a large fan that’s about 20 kilometers (12 miles) across at its widest point.

alluvial-fan

Alluvial fans in arid areas are often used for agriculture because they are relatively flat and provide groundwater for irrigation. This fan is no exception. The blocky green pattern across the apron are fields or pasture land. A number of towns and villages, including Usharal and Beskol, are visible along the fan’s outer edge. The straight feature cutting through Beskol and along the northeastern portion of the fan are railroad tracks.

Original Article, NASA / Earth Observatory

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Tracking Sediments’ Fate In Largest-Ever Dam Removal, University Of Washington (Uploaded 03-08-2013)
Scientists tracking the aftermath of the largest dam removal in U.S. history say the dismantling of a dam in northwestern Washington state has unleashed about 34 million cubic yards of sediment and debris that built up for more than a century…

Himalayas to Become The Most Dammed Region In The World, Guardian UK (Uploaded 08-10-2013)
Most of the Himalayan rivers have been relatively untouched by dams near their sources. Now the two great Asian powers, India and China, are rushing to harness them. More than 400 hydroelectric dams are planned in the mountain region…

Let’s Talk About Sand: Denis Delestrac At TEDxBarcelona
Denis Delestrac latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” is an epic eco-thriller that takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand! In this TEDxBarcelona talk, he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up…

Mount Everest, “Mother Of The Universe,” NASA (Uploaded 01-02-2014)
When climbers reach the top of Mount Everest, they are not standing on hard igneous rock produced by volcanoes. Rather, they are perched on softer sedimentary rock formed by the skeletons of creatures that lived in a warm ocean off the northern coast of India tens of millions of years ago…

World Bank Clears Congo’s Controversial Dam Project

electricity-africa
Photo source: ©© Bernard Polet

Excerpts;

The World Bank Thursday approved a 73.1-million-dollar grant in support of a controversial giant dam project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Protests by local communities and international human rights and environmental groups that documented the massive displacements and environmental damage these mega-dams often caused – not to mention their failure to deliver electricity to those most in need – resulted in a halt in approving new projects in the mid-1990s.

Earlier this month, four researchers at Oxford Unversity Said Business School released a major study based on data from 245 large dams built since 1934 in 65 different countries.

It found that they suffered average cost overruns of more than 90 percent and delays of nearly 50 percent inflicting huge additional costs in inflation and debt service for the mostly public entities that built them.

“Proponents of mega-dams tend to focus on rare stories of success in order to get their pet projects approved,” said Atif Ansar, one of the Oxford researchers. “If leaders of emerging economies are truly interested in the welfare of their citizens, they are better off laying grand visions of mega-dams aside…”

Read Full Article, IPS News

DRC Mega-Dam to Be Funded by Private Sector, Groups Charge, IPS News

Grand Inga Hydroelectric Project: An Overview, International Rivers
The Grand Inga is the world’s largest proposed hydropower scheme. It is the centerpiece of a grand vision to develop a continent-wide power system. The Grand Inga mega-project is a priority project for a number of Africa development organizations, including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), East African Power Pool (EAPP) and ESKOM, Africa’s largest power utility, among others.

The proposed dam is the fourth and largest of a series of dams that have been built or are proposed for the lower end of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Grand Inga will generate 40, 000 MW, and will be constructed in 6 phases of which the Inga III Dam is the first phase. The power generated would be double the capacity of the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam in China…

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, (Uploaded 08-01-2013)
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source.

Life on Mekong Faces Threats As Major Dams Begin to Rise

xayaburi-dam
Xayaburi Dam Construction, 2012. The Xayaburi Dam is the single greatest threat currently facing the Mekong River and its people. The project would resettle around 2,100 people and directly affect a further 202,000 people living near the dam due to impacts on the river’s ecology and fisheries. Captions and Photo source: ©© International Rivers

Excerpts;

With a massive dam under construction in Laos and other dams on the way, the Mekong River is facing a wave of hydroelectric projects that could profoundly alter the river’s ecology…

Read Full Article, Yale E360

Laos Approves Xayaburi Mega Dam On Mekong, BBC News (Uploaded 11-06-2012)

DRC Mega-Dam to Be Funded by Private Sector, Groups Charge

congo-river
The Congo River. Photo source: ©© CIFOR

Excerpts;

Watchdog groups here are warning that a deal has been struck that would see Chinese investors fund a massive, contentious dam on the Congo River, the first phase of a project that could eventually be the largest hydroelectric project in the world…

Read Full Article, IPS News

Grand Inga Hydroelectric Project: An Overview, International Rivers
The Grand Inga is the world’s largest proposed hydropower scheme. It is the centerpiece of a grand vision to develop a continent-wide power system. The Grand Inga mega-project is a priority project for a number of Africa development organizations, including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), East African Power Pool (EAPP) and ESKOM, Africa’s largest power utility, among others.

The proposed dam is the fourth and largest of a series of dams that have been built or are proposed for the lower end of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Grand Inga will generate 40, 000 MW, and will be constructed in 6 phases of which the Inga III Dam is the first phase. The power generated would be double the capacity of the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam in China…

Dammed Rivers Create Hardship for Brazil’s Native Peoples

methane-emissions-dam-brazil
Tucuruí Dam spillway, Tocantins River, Brazil (Eneida Castro). Brazilian researchers estimated in 2007 that methane from dams is responsible for around 4% of human-caused global warming. Greenhouse gases, primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), are emitted from the surface of the reservoir, at turbines and spillways, and for tens of kilometers downstream. Emissions are highest in hot climates. Captions and Photo source: ©© International Rivers

Excerpts;

Indigenous community searches for new livelihoods , after the Itaparica dam on the São Francisco river cut them off from traditional agriculture and fishing, formely based on the regular seasonal rises in the river level…

Read Full Article, IPS News

Chilean Patagonia: a Way of Life Under Threat by Dams (Uploaded 05-10-2011)

Yale 360 Video: Belo Monte Dam Controversy (Uploaded 07-17-2012)

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams (Uploaded 08-08-2012)
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down…

“We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea”

western-africa-coastal-erosion
Photo source: ©© Melanie Kotsopoulos

Excerpts;

Grain by grain, West Africa’s coasts are eroding away, the dry land sucked under the water by a destructive mix of natural erosion and human meddling…

Nyani Quarmyne has poignantly photographed the impacts of climate change on people living on the Ghana coast.

He shows us some of the people in the ruins of their houses, which many cannot leave as they have nowhere else to go. Quarmyne makes a point of telling us their names, Numour Puplampo and Vincent Tetteh Teye and others, and meets their eyes through his camera…

WATCH: Photo Gallery: Climate Change: “We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea,” by Nyani Quarmyne

Climate change threatens Ghana’s coast; Al Jazeera
Grain by grain, West Africa’s coasts are eroding away, the dry land sucked under the water by a destructive mix of natural erosion and human meddling…
From Senegal to Nigeria, scientists say eroding beaches will soon pose an unavoidable threat to booming coastal populations. A glimpse of that future can be seen here…

Learn More; Nyani Quarmyne: Climate Change: “We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea”
Images depicting the impacts of climate change on people living near Ada on the Ghana coast…

Art Exhibit,”We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea,” by Nyani Quarmyne; We Face Forward
Quarmyne began to make photographs in 2008 and since then has gained a strong reputation as a documentary photographer, working for many agencies and publications. In the way he works with his subjects over many months and his desire to tell us the whole story, Quarmyne’s work resonates with the Western traditions of documentary photography. His photographs, however, are of West African people with whom he has a cultural and social affinity and whose stories he himself is implicated in. He shows us some of the people in the ruins of their houses, which many cannot leave as they have nowhere else to go. Quarmyne makes a point of telling us their names, Numour Puplampo and Vincent Tetteh Teye and others, and meets their eyes through his camera…

Ghana’s Ongoing Battle Against Coastal erosion, (Uploaded 09-09-2011)

Battling Ghana’s Eroding Coastline, Office Upholds Navy’s Startegic & Humanitarian Focus, US Navy Currents Winter 2010 (Uploaded 12-13-2010)
For Ghana, the real story of coastal erosion is not about what lies at the water’s edge, but what occurs beneath the waves offshore. In the capital city of Accra, an estimated 70 percent of the beach is eroding at rates exceeding 3 feet per year…

ghana-coast
Ghana. Photo source: ©© Floris Van Halm

Indians in Brazil Protest Tapajós Dams

amazon
People of Amazon… Photo source: ©© Neil Palmer/CIAT/CIFOR.
A series of dams are being planned for the Tapajós River, also a major Amazon tributary. The dams would flood national parks, reserves and indigenous lands. Captions: ©© International Rivers.

Excerpts;

Mundurukú Indians made the trek to the capital of Brazil to demand the right to prior consultation in order to block the Tapajós hydroelectric dam, which could flood several of their villages.

The Brazilian government, which is already building the Belo Monte mega-dam on the Xingú river in the northeastern Amazon state of Pará, also wants to construct another huge hydropower complex on the Tapajós river, in the same state…

Read Full Article, IPS News

Tapajós Basin, International Rivers
The Tapajós Basin is a jewel of the Amazon, home to an incredible array of plant and animal biodiversity. A mosaic of protected areas and indigenous lands, the basin is home to approximately 820,000 people, including 10 indigenous groups. The Tapajós and its major tributaries – the Teles Pires, Jamanxim and Juruena rivers – are threatened by an unprecedented series of massive dams and associated industrial waterways (hidrovias) that would flood national parks, indigenous lands and other protected areas, accelerating the destruction of the Amazon Basin…

Yale 360 Video: Belo Monte Dam Controversy, A Yale E 360 Video (Uploaded 07-17-2012)
The Belo Monte dam, now under construction in the Amazon, is heralded as an abundant power source for Brazil’s burgeoning economy. But critics contend the project’s benefits are outweighed by the environmental and social costs, the flooding of 260 square miles of rainforest and the displacement of more than 20,000 people…

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science Daily
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

The Problems With Dams
Dams block sediments going to the ocean, which implies accelerated erosion…