Monday, April 23, 2018

Damming the Balkans

The Balkans are home to Europe's last great wild rivers. But not for much longer. 3,000 dam projects are about to devastate the natural habitats and surrounding landscapes of Europe's last untamed waterways.

Save the Blue Heart of Europe is a campaign to raise awareness of the ecological damage being done to Balkan rivers and their environments and to petition international banks to stop funding the destruction of Europe's last wild rivers. This campaign includes an interactive map showcasing some of the damage being done by hydropower dams. The interactive map shows the location of the 1,003 dams in the region, the 188 currently being built and the 2,798 proposed new dams.

If you scroll down while viewing the map you will be taken on a tour of the region and its rivers. For example the map zooms-in on the Vjosa river, in Albania, where 38 hydropower dams have been proposed. The map also highlights some of the other natural environments in the region which are now in danger from the construction of new dams.

Around the world more and more rivers are being dammed. Decades of dam building has lead to the global impoverishment in the health of the world's river basins, poor water quality and low biodiversity.

International Rivers has released an interactive map which illustrates the effect of dams on the health of rivers around the world. The State of the World’s Rivers maps nearly 6,000 dams in the world's 50 major river basins, and ranks their ecological health according to indicators of river fragmentation, water quality and biodiversity.

Using the map you can explore how individual river basins rank in terms of fragmentation, biodiversity, and water quality. You can also explore ten of the world's most significant river basins in more depth. Each of these ten detailed explorations examines the threats from dam building on the health of the affected river and the immediate environment.

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