Denne rapporten tar sikte på å vise konsekvensene av store vannkraftutbygginger i Sør, og Norges stadig sterkere innblanding i slike utbygginger. Rapporten legger vekt på å vise hvordan store vannkraftutbygginger kan føre til omfattende sosiale og miljømessige problemer. Norsk eller engelsk tekst kan fåes i papirutgave fra FIVAS (kr. 100,- inkl. porto).


Foreword, acknowledgements and introduction
1. Water and water crisis
2. Hydropower and tropical forests
3. Large dams and local populations
4. Experiences from large dams
5. India: Narmada
6. China
7. The Mekong Region
8. The Philippines: Grand Cordillera Central
9. Chile: Biobìo
10. Venezuela – Caruachi
11. Lesotho: Lesotho highlands water project
12. Namibia: Epupa
13. The Norwegian hydropower industry
14. Norwegian hydropower developers in Tanzania
15. The World Bank
16. Conditions for acceptable projects
17. Suggestions for political action
18. Conclusion

Foreword and acknowledgements
FIVAS (The Association for International Water and Forest Studies) is an independent organisation working to obtain and disseminate information about the consequences of large dams and hydropower projects in the Third World, and to prevent Norwegian participation in projects with significant social or environmental impacts. Our activities are based on the cooperation with local organisations and activists in the Third World.

This report was originally intended as a revision of the 1988 FIVAS report Når Norge legger verden i rør (When Norway dams the world). The revision eventually became so extensive that it resulted in a new report. However, parts of chapters 4 and 14 are reprinted from the 1988 report.

The Norwegian edition of this report was published in May 1994. We have tried to update the various chapters as far as possible, but it should be noted that the bulk of the report is vintage 1994.

The authors of this report are:

• Ian Bryceson (chapter 14)
• Gyrd Brændeland (chapter 13, 14)
• Ellen Hofsvang (chapter 6, 15)
• Erik Høines (chapter 3, 5, 9, 12)
• Frances Jayaseela (chapter 1, 8, 10, 11)
• Trond Inge Kværnevik (chapter 7)
• Erik Steineger (chapter 12)

Marit Nyborg has edited the report and is also responsible for the design.

We want to thank Peter, Erik Høines and Marit Nyborg for translating the report into English, and Eigil Olsen for proof-reading the final English version. We also wish to thank Göran Eklöf and Maud Johansson for permission to reprint an excerpt from the book När påfågeln flyr.

The report has been partly financed by NORAD.

Oslo, January 1996

Power Conflicts aims to show the impact of large hydropower development projects in the Third World, and the increasing Norwegian involvement in such projects.

Throughout the world the opposition to large dams is increasing. This report presents several examples of hydropower developments which are opposed by the local population, because of their huge social and environmental effects. The report emphasises social and environmental effects of large dams.

Although case studies are used to illustrate the problems related to large dams, these projects should not bee seen as isolated cases. The construction of large dams is first and foremost a political issue, a question of power and decision-making processes. Even though governments in the South are responsible for most large dam projects currently under construction, they have powerful supporters in the North, with political or economic self-interest in the projects.

Norway is involved in a number of hydropower projects in the Third World. As developers, through Norwegian hydropower industry, and as financiers, directly through bilateral development aid and indirectly through international institutions such as the World Bank. As the development of new hydropower in Norway has decreased, the Norwegian hydropower industry has been more and more internationalised. Presently, Norwegian hydropower developers have a dominating position in the international market, and are involved in projects throughout the world. A significant proportion of these projects are in the Third World, and are to a large extent financed through development aid. This report shows how Norwegian development aid is gradually shifting, from untied grant aid towards the support of Norwegian industry.

It may seem strange for Norwegian environmentalists to engage in the struggle against large hydropower developments in other countries, as hydropower has played a vital part in the development of our own country. However, the opposition to certain hydropower projects in Norway, such as Mardøla and Alta, were milestones for the Norwegian environmental movement, and the increasing opposition to development of new hydropower in Norway can bee seen as one of the reasons of the internationalisation of the Norwegian hydropower industry. In addition, the conditions for hydropower in Norway, with its high natural waterfalls, steep and sparsely populated mountains and a strong democratic tradition in both local and national government, are quite different from most Southern countries.

We wish to emphasise that FIVAS does not oppose hydropower as such. However, we believe that the prevailing emphasis on large projects should be shifted towards smaller-scale projects, as many of the recurring negative impacts of large dams are totally or partly absent in small- and micro-scale hydropower projects.

The activities of FIVAS are based on cooperation with local activists and grassroot organisations opposing large dam projects in the Third World. We focus primarily on Norwegian participation in these developments, as we believe that this is where we, as a Norwegian organisation, have the biggest responsibility and possibilities of having an influence. But it is obviously not sufficient to stop Norwegian participation in controversial dam projects. In most cases this will merely lead to the companies transferring contracts to their subsidiaries or associated companies abroad, or to companies from other countries stepping in to fill the void. Thus, it is also important for us to participate in international campaigns through networking and cooperation. We hope that this report can be of use in the struggle against large dams in other countries as well.

About the contents:

The first part of the report discusses general issues related to hydropower development: The irresponsible management of water resources and the emerging water crisis (chapter 1), the impact of hydropower development in tropical forests (chapter 2) and the effects of large dams on the people living in the project area (chapter 3).

The main part of the report illustrates the social and environmental effects of large dams through a number of case studies. Experiences from existing large dams are discussed in chapter 4, while chapters 5-12 present projects under construction or being planned.

The third part of the report gives an overview of the Norwegian hydropower industry and its activities in the Third World (chapter 13), with Tanzania as an example (chapter 14). The role of the World Bank is discussed in chapter 15.

Finally, some conditions for acceptable projects and suggestions for political action are presented (chapter 16).

The appendixes give an overview of the activities of Norwegian hydropower industry in the Third World, an overview of dams financed directly by the World Bank, and finally, a glossary of expressions and units used in the report.