As drought dries up the Yangtze river, China loses hydropower

The Yangtze River, the third largest in the world, has dropped to half its average water levels, affecting shipping routes, limiting drinking water supplies, causing rolling blackouts, and even exposing long-submerged Buddhist statues. Some 66 rivers across 34 counties in Chongqing were dried up as of last week, Reuters reported. Also last week, the province of Sichuan, which gets more than 80 percent of its energy from hydropower, cut or limited electricity to thousands of factories in an effort to “leave power for the people.” Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, is just a quarter of its normal size for this time of year.

— source | Aug 23, 2022

Nullius in verba


Smaller dams disrupt fish more than large hydropower projects

The development of small hydropower dams is widespread throughout Brazil and elsewhere in the world, vastly overshadowing large hydropower projects. The proliferation of these smaller dams is a response to growing energy and security needs. Their expansion, however, threatens many of the remaining free-flowing rivers and biodiverse tropical regions of the world — interrupting the migrations of freshwater fishes, on which millions of peoples’ livelihoods depend. The findings confirm that small hydropower plants are far more responsible for river fragmentation than their larger counterparts due to their prevalence and distribution. small hydropower dams greatly outnumber large hydropower dams, but their combined energy output is much less.

In Brazil, small hydropower plants only account for only 7% of total generation capacity even though they represent more than 85% of hydropower plants in the country. It is projected that river fragmentation will increase by 21% in the future, and two-thirds of the 191 migratory species assessed in the study occupy river basins that will experience greater connectivity losses.

— source University of Washington | Jan 27, 2021

Nullius in verba

Court Suspends Belo Monte Dam License in Victory for Indigenous People

In a victory for indigenous people in Brazil, a court has suspended the license for one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, just weeks before operations were due to begin. The Belo Monte dam would divert one of the Amazon’s last major free-flowing waterways. Indigenous groups have long protested the dam, saying it will cause environmental devastation and mass displacement. On Thursday, a judge suspended the dam’s license and fined the company, Norte Energia, and the Brazilian government for failing to provide adequate support to indigenous groups impacted by the dam.


Nullius in verba