Hydroelectric Power Project in Himachal Pradesh- Pose threat to Vegetation & Environment

One of the major project on the Sutlej river is the Nathpa Jhakri Dam which generates nearly 1500MW of electricity. The Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Station is the country’s largest hydropower plant. The project is funded by World Bank.  The  project is located on River Sutlej, a major tributary on the Indus basin, in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh in North India. The Nathpa Jhakri plant is designed to generate 6950.88 (6612) million units of electricity each year but quality management at the plant has enabled generation to exceed yearly targets.

Hydel Power Project
Himachal Pradesh

A Memorandum of Understanding for execution of the Nathpa-Jhakri project was signed between Government of India and Government of Himachal Pradesh in July, 1991. The Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric project has been financed on a 50:50 debt equity ratio basis.The project had the backing of World Bank. The project was completed at a cost of Rs 8187 Crore.
The Nathpa Jhakri project was commissioned in May, 2004 and officially dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 28, 2005. Power allocation from Natpha Jhakri hydroelectric plant to the North Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the cities of Delhi and Chandigarh has enabled the grid to overcome power shortages in the region.

Hydel projects pose threat to Vegetation, Aquatic Life

The impact of hundreds of hydroelectric projects being constructed in Himachal are are slowly but clearly becoming visible in the shape of vanishing aquatic life, depleting vegetation, water pollution, reducing irrigation water and livelihood of locals. The problem would deepen in the entire state in the near future, environmentalists have warned.
Villagers in Kinnaur have been complaining drying up of traditional water sources, specially streams near under-construction hydel projects at Sainj, Manikaran valley and Jagatsukh areas. Residents of villages downstream the Jagatsukh river, which has been diverted to Prini river through a tunnel, said that reduced water in the river has left their canals useless, making vegetation along the riverside vanish fast.

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ADVANTAGES:

  1. Once a dam is constructed, electricity can be produced at a constant rate.
  2. If electricity is not needed, the sluice gates can be shut, stopping electricity generation. The water can be saved for use another time when electricity demand is high.
  3. Dams are designed to last many decades and so can contribute to the generation of electricity for many years / decades.

  4. The lake that forms behind the dam can be used for water sports and leisure / pleasure activities. Often large dams become tourist attractions in their own right.

  5. The lake’s water can be used for irrigation purposes.
  6. The build up of water in the lake means that energy can be stored until needed, when the water is released to produce electricity.
  7. When in use, electricity produced by dam systems do not produce green house gases. They do not pollute the atmosphere.

nathpa-jhakri

Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Power:-
There are many disadvantages of hydroelectric power due to which it is not used on a very large scale all around the globe. Before employing something on an industrial level, you should consider its pros and cons. So the disadvantages are:

Emission of Methane and Carbon Dioxide
The reservoir of water for hydroelectric power releases a large amount of carbon dioxide and methane. The area around the dam is filled with water. The plants and trees in them start rotting and decompose by other method without the use of oxygen. So this type of decomposition dumps a great amount of methane and carbon dioxide which increase pollution.

Disturbance of Habitat
The formation of large and huge dams destroys the living beings around them. Local life is disturbed as human can’t live in such a flooded area and plants are destroyed. People living nearby have to relocate.

Installation Costs
Although the effective cost is zero but the manufacturing and building a dam and installation of the turbines is very costly due to which many countries do not employ this alternative source of energy. If the initial cost had been less; then it would have used more commonly. Its construction requires a lot of human capital and labor. Its maintenance is also very costly.

Limited Use
As the hydroelectric power is produced by the water which depend on the yearly rain falls so only those areas can use this method which receives a good amount of rainfall water because this method needs a huge reservoir of water.

Divert Natural Waterway
Dams and rivers collect water for the production of electricity which alters the natural system of water flow thus depriving houses of the water they need.

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Effects on Agriculture
Making dams on rivers affect the amount, quality and temperature of water that flow in streams which has drastic effects on agriculture and drinking water.

Fish Killing
The water while flowing through the dam collects nitrogen which can damage and also kills fish. They can also damage the reproduction of fishes thus eliminating the whole species of fishes.

Breaking of Dams
Many dams which were built for industrial use or for mills are not now used and occupying a great space but they can’t be broken or removed as it would cause serious flooding. This would not only affect the humans but also many buildings and property.

Deposition of Silt
So the research is going on decrease its disadvantages and to make it happen on a large scale.

So hydropower is sustainable and long-lasting source of energy. It produces a great amount of electricity. Dams can also be used for other purposes like fishing and sports. All these advantages show the importance of hydropower electricity which gives us a solution for the problems of this boom and gloom economy.

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