Hydropower Back In Fashion As Countries Gather For Water Week

For Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the founders of independent India, the need to solve the water and electricity needs of his gigantic country was so great that he called dams the “new temples of India.”

It was the postwar period, and newly independent countries in Asia and Africa — in many cases influenced by the Soviet model and with Soviet support — were looking both to produce more energy for their nascent economies and to improve their self-esteem through grandiose engineering projects.

Decades later, though, the tide turned. It became increasingly evident that dams and reservoirs were a source of environmental imbalances and international disputes. And the share of hydroelectricity was negligible in relation to the total electricity output of most states.

But today, with rising energy needs and growing public opposition to nuclear energy in many parts of the world, experts say hydroelectricity is back in fashion.