+++ Impacts of hydropower projects for nature, people and coastal region to be calculated +++
The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), together with the Polytechnic University of Tirana, have started an assessment of the sediment transport in the Vjosa river in Albania. They are measuring the amount of gravel, sand and fine sediments the river transports into the Mediterranean Sea each year. The assessment will take approximately one year. The results will allow conclusions about the efficiency of the projected hydropower projects. Due to the massive sediment transport, it is likely that the planned dam reservoirs will be filled within just a few decades, resulting in a considerably lower energy efficiency.
“Albania has very high erosion rates of 20 – 40 t / ha per year. The authorities should take precautions to avoid a lose-lose-lose situation for the Vjosa: (1) Losing the capacity for producing hydropower due to sedimentation, (2) losing the ecological integrity of the last undisturbed large river, and (3) losing the opportunity for touristic use and fisheries productions in the lagoons and along the coast,” so Dr. Christoph Hauer, from University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna.
“The construction of dams within the entire Vjosa river basin should be based on good geological, geo – engineering, hydrogeological and sedimentological assessments. Unfortunately, we do not have studies of this kind so far. Without sufficient information on the quantity and variety of sediments to be deposited in the dam reservoir – which will severely affect the longevity of the dam– one should not make any strategic decisions about the construction of dams,” says Dr. Klodian Skrame from the Polytechnic University of Tirana.