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Attention to environmental problems in the Southeastern Anatolia Project: imbalances and shifts in focus over time
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
(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 [en]
Large dam project, Environmental consideration, Environmental effects, Irrigation development, Southeastern Anatolia Project, Turkey
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78971OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-78971DiVA: diva2:537330
Available from: 2012-06-26 Created: 2012-06-26 Last updated: 2012-06-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental considerations in the planning of large dam projects: a study on Environmental Impact Statements and the Southeastern Anatolia Project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental considerations in the planning of large dam projects: a study on Environmental Impact Statements and the Southeastern Anatolia Project
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
Atatürk Dam. EIA, ecosystem services, environmental impact, Euphrates River, GAP, hydropower, river system, sustainable development, Tigris River, Turkey, Dammar, Miljöaspekter, Tigris, Turkiet
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29569 (URN)14944 (Local ID)91-7373-649-X (ISBN)14944 (Archive number)14944 (OAI)
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

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Brismar, Anna

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