Dams on rivers in the Balkans are not in accordance with sustainable development, HPPs projects under question due to the bad stakeholder relations management

31. May 2013. / SEE Energy News

Construction of dam on Moraca in Montenegro is found on a list of criticized dam projects that are not respecting criterions of sustainability in the report from World Nature Fond (WWF).

Many projects got negative grade for nature protection organization in the report of WWF named Seven sins of dam construction. WWF stated that sustainable usages from dams cannot be expected if investors are relying more on financial power than on dialogue, openness and understanding, considering that some governments don’t have enough capacities to defend its national and citizens’ public interest independently.

“Dams that are planned and constructed appropriately and which work that way can contribute the energy safety and food supply, but unfortunately only long-term interests are important in decision making”, WWF stated.

Seven “sins” are mentioned and explained in the report and those are: construction on the wrong river, neglecting downstream flow, neglecting biological diversity, economy unreasonableness, social license’s issuance failures, a wrong estimation of risks and blind following of temptations/ favoritism toward construction.

It is emphasized that dams are still planned and that they are planned in high quality areas and the loss of biological diversity that occurs because of the change of natural dynamics of water flows are often not considered at all.

Some of examples are construction plan on Ombla and transformation plan for 35 km of Drava’s down flow in accumulation and direct loss of valuable forest and swamp areas.

“9 dams were analyzed in WWF’s report and it is determined that many projects have made mistakes not only at one, but at many points. It is good that these mistakes can be avoided. Lack of capacity, economy pressure or specific regional circumstances cannot be represented as excuses for dam construction anymore”, WWF’s representative Duska Dimovic stated.

It is stated in WWF that recently constructed HPP and dam on Dobra River (Croatia) is the example of badly planned and done project where 12 km of river basin were destroyed and los with all its natural values and tourism potential.

Many problems occurred because of coastal erosion, economy profit is still questionable, local public was not well introduced to all consequences it carries today and no worker is employed.

Beside mentioned HPP project in Montenegro, WWF Serbia is also preparing an analysis of Canadian REV HPP project on Lim river ( Brodarevo 1 and 2), RWE HPP project on Drina river with Republika Srpska. Both projects have cross border environmental influence and already were identified as potential environmental problems in the Balkans.

Lack of transparency in the process of public hearing and project design preparation, lack of communication with  local communities and strong opposition of regional environmental alliances are the starting point of the project marketing which is known in the regional media and environmental circles.

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