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Environmental Impacts of Large-Scale Hydropower Projects and Applied Ecohydrology Solutions for Watershed Restoration: The Case of Nestos River, Northern Greece

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Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 59)

Abstract

The impoundment and abstraction of freshwater in river systems for the purposes of power generation and agricultural irrigation has provided huge economic benefits at global scale over the last 50 years. However, the environmental and social costs induced by large dams have been poorly accounted for in economic terms. Although the construction of large dams reduces the threat of devastation from extreme floods, significant watershed changes arise as a result of reservoir filling, river flow blockage, river flow storage, and flow regulation. Almost 15 years after the construction and operation of the two large hydropower dams (Thissavros and Platanovrisi), and approximately 50 years after the operation of the irrigation dam at Toxotes, the environmental consequences at the downstream part, the deltaic and the coastal zone of Nestos River are evident. The application of specific ecohydrological concepts aims to mitigate these observed environmental effects. Ecohydrology is an innovative and exciting topic, considered as the science of interplay between biota and hydrology in an ecosystem. Riparian and coastal ecohydrology concepts, together with the concept of “Green Hydropower”, may be adopted as a tool for assessing the effectiveness of the measures adopted by the hydropower companies aiming at improving the environmental functioning of such systems.

Keywords

Damming Ecohydrology River flow blockage River flow regulation River restoration 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecological Engineering and Technology, Department of Environmental EngineeringDemocritus University of ThraceXanthiGreece
  2. 2.ELGO-DemeterFisheries Research InstituteKavalaGreece

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