Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Dammed If They Do?

Met with an activist (Gyatso) and explored (again) some of Sikkim's hydroelectric schemes. The more one looks at it, the more problematical the process in this seismically-active area that might also be prone to surges of accumulated glacial melt, seems. The electricity does not seem to be produced in the predicted values, the structures sometimes appear to be ageing quickly and the changes to the river systems are causing problems for people, fish (animals that existed in spite of what the companies claimed), other animals and the ecotourism trade (the rivers are totally altered in terms of their nature). A UK engineer claimed that, to get the best output from the schemes, all they needed to do was to raise the level of water retained by the dams. Unfortunately, this would exacerbate the problems by altering the rivers further, displacing more folk and organisms and making the region even more prone to seismic/ landslide or a glacial lake-driven flash flood event.

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