Monday, July 6, 2009

dams undamned by being undamed

Edwards Dam going down

Put the dams up and then pull them down again. 10 years 420 dams.

As the NY Times states,
"The Edwards Dam was the first privately owned hydroelectric dam torn down for environmental reasons (and against the owner’s wishes) by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Bruce Babbitt, the interior secretary at the time, showed up at the demolition ceremony to promote what had become a personal crusade against obsolete dams. The publicity generated a national discussion about dams and the potential environmental benefits — to water quality and fish species — of removing them."

The Greens have also noted this historic event and I have to say that I agree with russel on this one.

"There are lessons here for us.

Dams have made a significant contribution to hydro electric power generation, especially in NZ, and irrigation but they have major environmental impacts. They block migration, raise temperatures, reduce water levels, slow rivers, alter timing of flows, cut oxygen levels etc.

In NZ we have already dammed virtually all our large rivers. Our native fish and eels are migratory and dependent on wild rivers in order to survive. Native fish and eel populations are in decline due to the impact of dams and pollution. Trucking eels around dams doesn’t work that well and fish ladders have a poor record.

You’ve got to wonder why we are still having to fight proposals like the Mokihinui and the Wairau hydro projects when we should be learning from those who started damming well before we did and who are pulling some of them down."

Dams aren't the answer, reducing the need for ever increasing energy is.

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