Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Run of the River Just Doesn't Make Sense

Ashlu Run of River Facility was Built Despite Community Opposition

In BC a push for "greener" energy has created a massive wave of proposals to build new 'run of the river' hydroprojects on hundreds of rivers throughout the province. Many of the rivers threatened by new hydrodevelopment are home to important and fragile populations of anadromous fish. Run of the river hydroprojects will divert as much as 80% of a rivers flow for power generation regardless of the season, exacerbating low flow conditions during summer. One project proposed for the Kokish River will divert 10 kilometers of river through an intake pipe, dramatically reducing in river flows and habitat for wild steelhead and salmon. Rivers on the island and lower mainland need all the water they can get during the summer and these projects will have disastrous impacts on the many watersheds they're currently proposed in. More than 500 hydroprojects are currently on the table for rivers throughout BC including the Pitt, Harrison, Big Silver, Squamish, Lilloett, Gold, Heber, Kokish, Nimpkish, and many many more.

A Map of Proposed and Approved Hydro Projects in BC

Run of the river hydroprojects are dependent on the natural hydrology of the river to deliver energy and will supply unpredictable and relatively trivial amounts of energy. Despite this fact current regulation requires that generation continue throughout the year. Consequently during periods of summer drought, hydro facilities must divert large proportions of the river's flow or pay penalties to BC hydro. These projects absolutely must not go ahead on important salmon rivers and their tributaries. It is essential that the citizens of BC and and elsewhere who are concerned about the impact of run of the river hydro voice their opposition. Much of the energy generated by these private power facilities is being sold to the United States.

Run of the river hydro has already been developed on the Ashlu River, an important tributary of the Squamish River. Check out this video about the destruction of the Ashlu valley.

and this website for the story of the Ashlu,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

lots of resources at Save Our Rivers:

Steelhead Society of BC:

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