The growing number of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin has been mapped online for the first time, by a coalition of environmental groups.
The Dams in Amazonia database includes dams already in operation, as well as those currently under construction or planned for the future. It also lists their size, the companies that have put up the investment and any impacts on the environment and indigenous groups.
Although seen as a crucial part of economic development in the region, dams face fierce opposition from indigenous groups and civil society organisations who are concerned about the displacement of local people and the impacts on aquatic ecosystems.
Brazil recently gave the go-ahead for what will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam. The $17 billion Belo Monte dam will displace tens of thousands of people and impact upon the livelihoods of thousands more.
Another project under development, the Dardanelos Dam, also in Brazil, has already depleted river fish stocks that local indigenous communities rely on for protein. In the most recent in a series of protests, 100 construction workers were held hostage by Brazilian Indians as they occupied the site of the dam’s construction.
Brazil has more dams operating or planned than any other country in Amazonia, with 68 featured in the database.
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