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Environmental considerations in the planning of large dam projects: a study on Environmental Impact Statements and the Southeastern Anatolia Project
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Large dam projects have played a key role in supporting societal development in the past and continue to be launched, primarily in developing countries. However, large dam projects also cause extensive environmental impacts in the river system, which may reduce the river system's capacity to provide goods, services, and other values apart from those generated by the project. The Environmental Impact Statement (ElS) has become a key instrument for enabling prevention, minimization, and mitigation of significant adverse environmental effects of major projects in early planning. The potential of EISs to support compromise building between conflicting interests is also increasingly recognized. In reality, the great potentials of the ElS are rarely fully utilized, which motivate further improvements.

This thesis has three main objectives, Le. (i) to examine the motives behind large dam projects, their impact on project planning, and some constraints for full project realization, (ii) to identify shortcomings in EISs and other project-related reports regarding the extent to and manner in which potential environmental effects of large dam projects are attended to, and (iii) to suggest measures for how to improve the capacity of EISs to support impact minimization and compromise building in project plarming and decision-making.

Based on a case study on the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) in southeast Turkey, it was found that the objectives and planning of large dam projects can change significantly over time, in response to changes in the underlying ambitions and motives for development. While changes to the design may increase the dam's technical capacity to store water and generate hydropower, the actual potential to utilize its installed capacities during recurrent droughts may be limited. An increased scale and number ofdam project objectives may also lead to increased competition over the river water. Full realization of dam project objectives may be hampered by the climate and by growing water demands of competing uses. Moreover, an analysis of GAP-related reports revealed imbalances in the total degree of attention given to individual environmental problems, different categories of environmental problems, and to environmental problems of dam projects and irrigation schemes, respectively, as weIl as shifts in the focus of attention over time from early plarming to implementation. The fmdings suggest that project-related reports tend to focus on problematic environmental conditions that motivate project implementation, and on potential environmental effects that may undermine project productivity, viability, or longevity, particularly in planning and early implementation. In contrast, those potential environmental effects with no apparent bearing on the financial or operational success of the project tend to be largely neglected unless strong incentives are created.

The analysis ofEISs of large dam projects revealed shortcomings in the attention given to root causes and impact pathways involved in the generation of higher-order environmental effects and cumulative impacts. Important imbalances were also found in the degree of attention given to different types of environmental effects. In order to improve the capacity of EISs to explain how higher-order effects and cumulative impacts may arise, network analysis and cause-effect diagrams should be increasingly adopted. This thesis also proposes a conceptual framework to facilitate a comparison of desired and undesired effects, based on the view of a river system as a provider of goods and services, which enables the translation of ecological effects into their societal and economic implications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2003. , 76 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 272
Keyword [en]
Atatürk Dam. EIA, ecosystem services, environmental impact, Euphrates River, GAP, hydropower, river system, sustainable development, Tigris River, Turkey
Keyword [sv]
Dammar, Miljöaspekter, Tigris, Turkiet
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29569Local ID: 14944ISBN: 91-7373-649-X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-29569DiVA: diva2:250385
Public defence
2003-05-22, Elysion, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-09-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. River systems as providers of goods and services: A basis for comparing desired and undesired effects of large dam projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>River systems as providers of goods and services: A basis for comparing desired and undesired effects of large dam projects
2002 (English)In: Environmental Management, ISSN 0364-152X, E-ISSN 1432-1009, Vol. 29, no 5, 598-609 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In developing countries, large dam projects continue to be launched, primarily to secure a time-stable freshwater supply and to generate hydropower. Meanwhile, calls for environmentally sustainable development put pressure on the dam-building industry to integrate ecological concerns in project planning and decision-making. Such integration requires environmental impact statements (EISs) that can communicate the societal implications of the ecological effects in terms that are understandable and useful to planners and decision-makers. The purpose of this study is to develop a basic framework for assessing the societal implications of the river ecological effects expected of a proposed large dam project. The aim is to facilitate a comparison of desired and potential undesired effects on-site and downstream. The study involves two main tasks: to identify key river goods and services that a river system may provide, and to analyze how the implementation of a large dam project may alter the on-site capacity and downstream potentials to derive river goods and services from the river system. Three river goods and six river services are identified. River goods are defined as extractable partly man-made products and river services as naturally sustained processes. By four main types of flow manipulations, a large dam project improves the on-site capacity to derive desired river goods, but simultaneously threatens the provision of desirable river goods and services downstream. However, by adjusting the site, design, and operational schedule of the proposed dam project, undesirable effects on river goods and services can be minimized.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-32423 (URN)10.1007/s00267-001-0058-3 (DOI)18324 (Local ID)18324 (Archive number)18324 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2017-12-13
2. The Atatürk Dam project in south-east Turkey: Changes in objectives and planning over time
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Atatürk Dam project in south-east Turkey: Changes in objectives and planning over time
2002 (English)In: Natural resources forum (Print), ISSN 0165-0203, E-ISSN 1477-8947, Vol. 26, no 2, 101-112 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Atatürk Dam was constructed on the Euphrates River in Turkey in the 1980s as the central component of a large-scale regional development project for the South-eastern Anatolia region, known as GAP. Since the first development plan for the region was presented in 1970, the objectives for regional development have changed significantly.

This article aims to analyze how the functions, design, and capacities of the Atatürk Dam project have been modified since 1970, paralleling changes in the regional development objectives and ambitions, and to identify accomplishments and constraints in the realization of the dam project.

Since 1970, ambitions to develop the region have grown significantly, resulting in major changes to the original project plans. The most important change occurred in 1978, when the design for the Middle Karababa Dam, recommended in 1970, was abandoned and the Atatürk Dam design was adopted. This change considerably increased the storage and power generation capacities of the dam. Yet, the sparse rainfall throughout the catchment in recent years has hampered full utilization of the dam’s storage and generation capacities and increased the need for tradeoffs between conflicting demands for water use.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78954 (URN)10.1111/1477-8947.00011 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-06-26 Created: 2012-06-26 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Attention to environmental problems in the Southeastern Anatolia Project: imbalances and shifts in focus over time
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attention to environmental problems in the Southeastern Anatolia Project: imbalances and shifts in focus over time
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the paper is to analyze how environmental problems generally associated with the implementation of dam projects and irrigation schemes are attended to in reports and articles on the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) in Turkey. Of particular interest are changes in the focus of attention over time from 1970 to 2000, and differences in the degree of attention given to individual environmental problems, to three main categories of environmental problems, and to problems associated with dam projects and irrigation schemes respectively. The defined problem categories are (a) problematic environmental conditions in a region that may motivate project implementation, (b) environmental effects of a project that may undermine its productivity, longevity, or viability, and (c) environmental effects of a project that do not pose any threat to its fmancial and operational success, but with potential tmdesirable impacts on the ecological functioning of the environment or on other societal interests.

The results reveal important imbalances in the total degree of attention given to individual environmental problems, the three problem categories, and to problems of dam projects and irrigation schemes. Most attention is given to motivating environmental conditions of the dam projects and to project-undermining environmental effects of the irrigation schemes, particularly soil salinization, increased surface and groundwater salinity, and soil erosion. Least attention is given to the projectindifferentdownstream environmental effects of the dam projects. The results also display notable shifts in the focus of attention over time. Possible reasons for the discovered imbalances and shifts in attention are discussed.

Keyword
Large dam project, Environmental consideration, Environmental effects, Irrigation development, Southeastern Anatolia Project, Turkey
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78971 (URN)
Available from: 2012-06-26 Created: 2012-06-26 Last updated: 2012-06-26Bibliographically approved
4. Attention to impact pathways in EISs of large dam projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attention to impact pathways in EISs of large dam projects
2004 (English)In: Environmental impact assessment review, ISSN 0195-9255, E-ISSN 1873-6432, Vol. 24, no 1, 59-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The importance of addressing cumulative environmental impacts in Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) of large development projects is increasingly underlined. However, cumulative impacts are generated through complex impact pathways, involving multiple root causes and lower and higher order effects, interlinked by cause-effect relationships. Consideration to potential impact pathways may thus be difficult without appropriate analytical methods, expertise, and supportive Environmental Impact Assessment guidelines and terms-of-references (TOR). This paper presents the results of an analysis of six EISs prepared for large dam projects between 1994 and 2001. The objective was to analyze if, how, and to what extent potential impact pathways involved in the generation of dam-related cumulative impacts have been addressed in the analyzed material. For this purpose, a theoretical framework was developed, which identifies four key root causes, their potential effects, and associated cause-effect relationships. The analysis revealed various shortcomings. Important imbalances were found in the degree of attention given to effects of different categories. Lower order effects received greater attention than higher order, and the potential effects of reservoir filling were more extensively attended to than those of flow blockage, storage, and regulation. Most importantly, little effort was made to carefully explain the potential impact pathways involved, root causes were often referred to in general terms only, and potential pathways leading up to an anticipated higher order effect or following upon an expected lower order effect were often inadequately addressed or ignored. Probable reasons for the discovered shortcomings are discussed and recommendations are presented for improving the World Bank EIA guidelines for large dam projects. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keyword
Cumulative impact, Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Impact pathway, Large dam project, River basin
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-45841 (URN)10.1016/S0195-9255(03)00162-8 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2017-12-13

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