FERAL: Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning

Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning

Big concerns with small projects: Evaluating the socio-ecological impacts of small hydropower projects in India

TitleBig concerns with small projects: Evaluating the socio-ecological impacts of small hydropower projects in India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsJumani, S, Rao, S, Machado, S, Prakash, A
JournalAmbio
Pagination1–12
Date Published01/2017
Abstract

Although Small Hydropower Projects (SHPs) are encouraged as sources of clean and green energy, there is a paucity of research examining their socio-ecological impacts. We assessed the perceived socio-ecological impacts of 4 SHPs within the Western Ghats in India by conducting semi-structured interviews with local respondents. Primary interview data were sequentially validated with secondary data, and respondent perceptions were subsequently compared against the expected baseline of assured impacts. We evaluated the level of awareness about SHPs, their perceived socio-economic impacts, influence on resource access and impacts on human–elephant interactions. The general level of awareness about SHPs was low, and assurances of local electricity and employment generation remained largely unfulfilled. Additionally most respondents faced numerous unanticipated adverse impacts. We found a strong relationship between SHP construction and increasing levels of human–elephant conflict. Based on the disparity between assured and actual social impacts, we suggest that policies regarding SHPs be suitably revised.

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