A dam can be termed a
barrier that stops/ restricts the flow of water or underground streams. Dams
are also an efficient way to control natural calamities. Reservoirs created by
dams to help with water store and supply purpose, not only suppress floods but
also provide water for basic activities like irrigation, human consumption,
industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability. Hydropower is often affiliated
with dams for electricity generation. It can also be used to collect water or
for storage of water which is later evenly distributed between locations. Dams
usually serve the basic purposes of retaining water. There are also other structures
such as floodgates or levees that manage or prevent water flow into specific
land regions. A dam is constructed mainly for power generation,
irrigation/water supply or flood prevention. Hydroelectric power generated from
the dams is a major source of electricity in the world.
Even though the
dam construction was initiated as the indicator of infrastructural development,
it has their shares of disadvantages too. The major negative consequences
regarding the dam construction are:
Soil Erosion: One of the
reasons dams are built is to prevent flooding. However, the fact can’t be
neglected that dams hold back the sediment load normally found in a river flow,
depriving the downstream of the sediments. In order to make up for the
sediments, the downstream water erodes/ slides down its channels and banks.
This lowering of the riverbed is the result of soil erosion that threatens
vegetation and life in the river. However, most ecosystems which experience
flooding are resilient to the process and many animal species depend on the
floods for various lifecycle stages, such as reproduction and hatching. Annual
floods also deposit nutrients in the eroded areas and replenish the wetlands.
Fisheries have become an important source of food supply and employment for the
people residing near riversides; therefore more attention is being paid to the negative
results of dam construction on fishes and various other marine mammal
populations. The vast majority of large dams do not include proper bypass
systems for these animals, interfering with their lifecycles and sometimes even
forcing species to extinction.
Epidemics: The reservoirs
formed by the dam construction in tropical areas, due to their slow-movement,
are the breeding grounds for mosquitoes, snails, and flies, other vectors that
carry malaria, schistosomiasis, and river blindness.
construction can cause the sudden shift in the seismic waves and the movement
of tectonic plates, giving rise to earthquake that can cause loss of lives and
meeting point of rivers), at Pancheshwar in the Himalayas (Uttarakhand State,
India), is the site of proposed dam construction to build the Pancheshwar
Dam that controls the flow of the Kali River and its tributaries. The proposed Pancheshwar Dam would be the
world’s second-tallest; a rock-filled structure intended to harness
hydroelectric power and water. (Cited in the reference)
However, the dam
construction site in Pancheshwar and its substantial area affects both upstream
and downstream, and it is of significant ecological, cultural and spiritual,
and well as tourism importance. Much of these assets would be lost if the dam
construction were to proceed. Large dams also prove to be highly disruptive to disturb
the river ecosystems and the livelihoods of many people dependent upon them either
directly or indirectly. Although there are various planned potential benefits
from the dam construction in terms of water and energy, it appears that these
wider aftermaths and their consequences for the many people potentially
affected by it have not been included in planning. There is certainly a lack of
active engagement of local people, scarcity of transparent, published
information, and strategies being considerate of environmental and social consequences
that has been hardly mentioned in the planning process, seemingly too late to
influence scheme design and decisions with their associated sunk costs and for
which no other options appear to have been contemplated or projected.
This compares with the dam height of only 101 metres
(331 feet) from river level of China’s Three Gorges Dam, which houses
the largest hydroelectric generation facility in the world which also comprises
the world’s largest electricity-generating plant of any kind, and has a dam
width of 2,335 metres (7,661 feet) making it the world’s largest.(Cited in the
Saptakoshi is seemingly
more harmful for India rather than Nepal. Therefore, India has got a keen
interest to control the danger of flood. The plan initiated to control the
flood of Saptakoshi River, is called Saptakoshi High Dam Project. This project
was iniatiated by water and energy commission of India and Nepal. This
committee prepared two kind of planning namely Varahakshetra Dam Planning and
Chatara Dam Planning. In
the project, India proposed to make a dam and a canal at Chatara as a part of
Saptakoshi high dam project. The plan was related to irrigate 3.84 million acre
of land and the budget was estimated 1770 million Rupees for this project.
However, India did not implement this project, because it was big and
ambitious. With high cost, level the implementation process of the project was
also challenging. The quantity of the electricity that was proposed to produce was
more than the demand of that time period. In the same way, the land of Siwalik
hill was very weak and there was a great risk of breaking the dam through
intense flooding. In such a situation, it could destruct more life and property
than we could imagine. The planning commission did not say anything on the
management/ measure of the sand deposited and collected around the dam.
Therefore, it was impossible to implement the infrastructural project at that
As the scenario
of both Koshi High Dam Project and the Pancheshwor Dam Project are similar, the
potential benefits and losses come across as similar too.
policies and the strategies must be transparent in order to avoid clashes.
should be determined in case the project fails.
construction can result to both positive and negative outcomes in terms social,
economic, environmental and tourism factors.
assessment of the impact should be done and researches should be conducted to
know the feasibility of the project.
The construction of Koshi High Dam
Project should be started with the objective of achieving sustainable
Geological and anthropological features
must be considered during the dam construction planning.
Regular inspection and maintenance must
be done for the prevention of dam failure.
Compensations and facilities of
resettlement must be provided to the people facing displacement or heavy loss
of human lives/ property.
Evacuation plans in case of
emergency/disaster must be developed, updated and practiced in case of
Maximum involvement/ participation of the
people through employment, training and workshop programs and by issuing shares
to the local people as done by the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower project.
Community based infrastructure
development should be consensus oriented to enhance the attitude of local
people towards the infrastructure.
Wildlife tracking and monitoring must
take place to find out how the animals are being affected and if they are displaced
from their original settlement.
Challenges faced while
writing this paper
The major hurdle
I faced while writing this term paper was when there wasn’t much information to
browse through or brief about in the paper (Koshi High Dam Project). The other
project (Pancheshwar Dam Project) clearly stated that it failed the seven
strategic priorities identified by the UN’s World Commission on Dams (WCD),
which proved it was a meaningless collaboration between India and Nepal. At the
same time, the information seemed hard to relate as it mentioned the majority
of negative consequences but the analysis was interesting enough to be the
first term paper submission.