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Advantages and Disadvantages of ROR Hydroelectric Projects

Advantages and Disadvantages of ROR Hydroelectric Projects

HABITAT FRAGMENTATION

  • Habitat fragmentation refers to the emergence of discontinuities in a single habitat.
  • In other words, it refers to the division of a single large habitat into two or more smaller habitats.
  • It usually results from deforestation.
  • It can occur due to the following two reasons:
  1. Natural reasons: floods, forest fires, volcanoes, etc.
  2. Anthropogenic reasons: construction of roads, dams, forest land brought under cultivation, etc.

Implications of Habitat Fragmentation

  • Reduction of available habitat leads to the migration of animals into dense patches of forests.
  • Such migration creates competition among animals for prey, territory, water resources, etc., leading to the extinction of some species.
  • Moreover, there are greater chances of spread of disease among the concentrated population.
  • Small fragmentations with limited resources can support small amount of population only. Moreover, small isolated population is more vulnerable to fluctuations in climate.
  • The edges of fragmented habitats continue to expand due to human and natural activities.
  • Exterior portions of fragments become susceptible to the entry of exotic species. These exotic species may be invasive and may disrupt the existing ecosystem.

Solution to Habitat Fragmentation

  • A solution to habitat fragmentation is to leave a corridor or strip of forests connecting two fragments.
  • The corridors facilitate the movement of animals between fragmented patches.

RUN-OF-THE-RIVER (ROR) HYDROELECTRIC POWER PROJECTS

  • The ROR is a type of hydroelectric generation plant, whereby little or no water storage is provided.
  • The storage reservoir is referred to as pondage.
  • A plant without pondage has no water storage and is, therefore, subject to seasonal river flows.

Advantages of ROR Hydroelectric Projects

  • These projects involve minimal environment impact, because there is no large-scale storage of water. Storage of water leads to disruption in the aquatic ecosystem. Many plant and animal species submerge.
  • Water storage leads to the submergence of many villages. Thus, there is a need to rehabilitate large population. Such rehabilitation is not required in ROR projects.
  • The ROR projects do not obstruct river flow and are thus, permitted on international rivers.

Disadvantages of ROR Hydroelectric Projects

  • These projects are more suitable for perennial rivers and not seasonal rivers. During dry seasons, electricity cannot be generated in these projects.      Advantages and Disadvantages of ROR Hydroelectric Projects
  • In India, these projects are more suitable on the Himalayan rivers which are perennial in nature and not on peninsular rivers which are seasonal in nature.
  • In these projects, adjustments cannot be made in the amount of electricity produced or plant load capacity, because flow of water is determined by nature.
  • ROR projects may cause habitat fragmentation, especially when transmission pipes are constructed to transport water over large distances.

DRAWDOWN TECHNIQUE OF DESILTING

  • Over a period of time, some of the silts brought by rivers from mountains are deposited in the water reservoirs and even on the river beds.
  • Thus, water reservoirs and river beds require regular desilting. Desilting refers to the removal of silt or sand deposits from water reservoirs, river beds, etc.
  • There are various techniques of desilting. The most frequently used technique is ‘drawdown’ technique of desilting. ‘Drawdown’ refers to the lowering of the water level in a man-made reservoir or tank (for the purpose of desilting).                  Advantages and Disadvantages of ROR Hydroelectric Projects
  • Drawdown technique is considered as an efficient technique of desilting. However, this technique obstructs the continuous flow of water.
  • Thus, this technique cannot be used, where minimal flow of river is essential to be maintained.

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Environment & Biodiversity

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