Hydro on Hold

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor in Chief; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 8, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


Hydropower projects have become the target of a growing environmental movement overseas. The tradeoff between clean, renewable energy and the possible environmental impacts of the reservoirs necessary to create such power is a difficult one. Many feel the economic benefits to large populations outweigh local environmental effects. The latest casualty is part of a multibillion international hydro project in Eastern Europe. Citizens in Hungary are focusing political dissent on the Nagymaros dam, and the government has postponed construction. The project can proceed with the dam already built and the weir almost completed, but the operation will be less efficient. In addition, the environmental effects are not necessarily adverse. The economic impact of not continuing is significant. Hungary will owe Czechoslovakia and Austria, partners in the venture, hundreds of millions of dollars if the project is stopped. Proponents claim the project will enhance shipping on the Danube, and control periodic serious flooding along the banks without affecting water quality and quantity.

Subject Headings: Environmental issues | Economic factors | Dams | Water quality | Hydro power | Reservoirs | Population projection | Project management | Europe | Hungary | Austria

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