Environment as important water use for hydro-infrastructure's consideration
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Environment as important water use for hydro-infrastructure's consideration

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By Chayanis Krittasudthacheewa, Stockholm Environment Institute...

By Chayanis Krittasudthacheewa, Stockholm Environment Institute

Presented at the Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
December 7-9, 2011
Session 2b: Hydropower, Irrigation and Multiple-Use: Experiences from the Region

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  • Difference between Ecosystem and Environment The terms environment and ecosystem are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms differ dramatically in their ecological definitions. Generally, an ecosystem consists of different environments, whereas an environment is fleeting. The key lies in how the two function and their relationships with the plants and animals each contain. Ecosystem Features: An ecosystem is a distinct ecological unit that includes both its living and non-living components that together function as a system. Environment Definition: In ecological terms, an environment is defined as the total surroundings of an organism, but it does not imply any ecological relationships between members. Permanency: An organism's immediate environment changes as it moves from one point to another, whereas the ecosystem remains the same no matter where the organism travels within it. Function: An ecosystem depends upon essential life processes such as photosynthesis for its existence, while an environment is merely a place in time. Differences :The components of an ecosystem as a whole define what an ecosystem is, whereas an organism determines its own environment. Read more: Difference Between an Environment & an Ecosystem | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5771440_difference-between-ecosystem environment.html#ixzz1fgHJ9goB
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Environment as important water use for hydro-infrastructure's consideration Environment as important water use for hydro-infrastructure's consideration Presentation Transcript

  • Session 2b: Hydropower, Irrigation and Multiple use: Experience from the Region Mekong Forum on the Sustainable Development of Water, Food and Energy Phnom Penh, Cambodia 7-9 December 2011 Environment as important water user for hydro-infrastructure’s consideration
  • Great challenge on how to balance between water uses (development) & protection of the poor’ s livelihood and integrity of ecosystems
  • Ecosystem Services Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem#Ecosystem_services
    • Ecosystem is a distinct ecological unit that includes both its living and non-living components that together function as a system
    • Ecosystem services are “fundamental life-support services upon which human civilization depends,” and can be direct or indirect.
    • The services and goods an ecosystem provides are often undervalued as many of them are without market value . Broad examples include:
    • Regulating ( climate, floods , nutrient balance, water filtration)
    • Provisioning ( food , medicine, fur, minerals)
    • Cultural (science, spiritual , ceremonial, recreation, aesthetic)
    • Supporting ( nutrient cycling , photosynthesis, soil formation).
  • Adverse Environmental Impacts of Hydropower Development Source: Adjusted from Good Dams and Bad Dams: Environmental Criteria for Site Selection of Hydroelectric Projects Working Paper (World Bank, 2003)
    • Flooding of Natural Habitats
    • Loss of Terrestrial Wildlife
    • Involuntary Displacement
    • Deterioration of Water Quality
    • Change in D/S Hydrological Regime
    • Water-Related Diseases
    • Fish and Other Aquatic Life
    • Floating Aquatic Vegetation
    • Loss of Cultural Property
    • Reservoir Sedimentation
    • Greenhouse Gases
    These can be minimized by good dam site selection! Figure: http://www.xlhbw.net/en/xgcal.asp?pid=41
  • Change in Downstream Hydrological Regime
    • Impacts:
    • Affect riparian ecosystems dependent on periodic natural flooding, increase saltwater intrusion, increase river-edge and coastal erosion & damage the biological and economic productivity of rivers and estuaries.
    • Damage agriculture and human water supplies
    • Mitigation measures:
    • Objectives to consider in optimizing water releases include adequate downriver water supply for riparian ecosystems , reservoir and downriver fish survival, reservoir and downriver water quality, aquatic weed and disease vector control, irrigation and other human uses of water, downriver flood protection, recreation, and power generation.
    • The ideal release pattern would closely mimic the natural flooding regime. Dams that generate baseload electricity are typically more capable of replicating near-natural downriver flows than those that produce peaking power.
    • Environmental management plans for hydroelectric projects should specify environmental water releases .
    http://mekong-tourism.com/1491-mekong-queen-cruise/
    • Mitigation measures:
    • Management of water releases are needed for the survival of certain fish species . Fish passage facilities are intended to help migratory fish move upriver past a dam but are usually of limited effectiveness. Fish hatcheries can be useful for maintaining populations of native species which can survive but not successfully reproduce within the reservoir. Fishing regulation is often essential to maintain viable populations of commercially valuable species , especially in the waters immediately below a dam where migratory fish species concentrate in high numbers and are unnaturally easy to catch.
    Fish and Other Aquatic Life
    • Impacts:
    • Even reservoirs positively affect certain fish species by increasing the area of available aquatic habitat but the net impacts are often negative because (a) the dam blocks fish migrations; (b) many river-adapted fish and other aquatic species cannot survive in artificial lakes; (c) changes in downriver flow patterns adversely affect many species, and (d) water quality deterioration in or below reservoirs kills fish and damages aquatic habitats. Freshwater molluscs, crustaceans, and other benthic organisms are even more sensitive to these changes than most fish species, due to their limited mobility.
  • Reservoir Sedimentation
    • Impact:
    • Live storage and power generation are reduced by reservoir sedimentation , such that much of some projects’ hydroelectric energy might not be renewable over the long term.
    • Mitigation measures:
    • Watershed management can minimize sedimentation and extend a reservoir’s useful physical life, through the control of forestry, road construction, mining, agriculture, and other land use in the upper catchment area. Protected areas are sometimes established in upper catchments to reduce sediment flows into reservoirs, as in the proposed Nam Theun II (Laos) project.
    • Other sediment management techniques for hydroelectric reservoirs may at times be physically and economically feasible e.g. upstream check structures, protecting dam outlets, reservoir flushing, mechanical removal, and increasing the dam’s height.
  • Conclusions
    • Environment represents a viable and important user of water resources, and needs to be built into hydropower planning, investment and coordination
    • Multi-purpose potentials including water for environmental services should be taken into account in scheme design, investment and operation for maximum total benefits
    • For planning phase, good site selection can minimize the potential environmental impacts
    • Water should be managed with:
      • reservoir management rules to ensure minimum environmental flows and maximum total benefits
      • Integration of hydro-infrastructures into IWRM/River Basin Planning
  • Thank you for your attention! Source: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/10/thailand_flood_reaches_bangkok.html
  • Difference between Ecosystem and Environment The terms environment and ecosystem are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms differ dramatically in their ecological definitions. Generally, an ecosystem consists of different environments, whereas an environment is fleeting. The key lies in how the two function and their relationships with the plants and animals each contain. Ecosystem Features: An ecosystem is a distinct ecological unit that includes both its living and non-living components that together function as a system. Environment Definition: In ecological terms, an environment is defined as the total surroundings of an organism, but it does not imply any ecological relationships between members. Permanency: An organism's immediate environment changes as it moves from one point to another, whereas the ecosystem remains the same no matter where the organism travels within it. Function: An ecosystem depends upon essential life processes such as photosynthesis for its existence, while an environment is merely a place in time. Differences: The components of an ecosystem as a whole define what an ecosystem is, whereas an organism determines its own environment. Read more: Difference Between an Environment & an Ecosystem | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5771440_difference-between-ecosystem environment.html#ixzz1fgHJ9goB