IHA statement on Uttarakhand dam tragedy

Sunday 7 February 2021 - The International Hydropower Association (IHA) expresses its condolences to the families of those killed or missing in the Indian state of Uttarakhand following reports of a natural disaster.

Reports suggest part of a Himalayan glacier fell away, causing a deluge and damage to two local hydropower projects and leading to multiple fatalities.

IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich said: “There is still much we do not know about the circumstances of this tragic incident, but it is clear that families will be grieving tonight. The worldwide hydropower community will want to join with IHA in offering our deepest condolences to those affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts are with them and the emergency services engaged in the search and rescue effort.  

“Sadly climate change means we will see more and more weather-related natural disasters. Over the long term we need to address climate change by accelerating the energy transition while also making renewable projects and other infrastructure more climate resilient. At IHA, we recognise the importance of climate resilience and building hydropower projects sustainably and have developed international guidelines for the sector.”

At over 50 gigawatts (GW) in installed capacity, India is the world’s fifth largest hydropower producer. The country has close to 200 hydropower plants above 25 megawatts (MW) in size, plus nine pumped storage stations. In 2020, the country’s hydropower sector was heralded for restoring electricity to tens of millions following a huge plunge in demand.

IHA is a non-profit membership association, representing organisations committed to the responsible and sustainable development of hydropower. Operating in over 120 countries, members include leading hydropower owners and operators, developers, designers, suppliers and consultants. Around a third (450 GW) of global installed hydropower capacity is managed and operated by IHA’s members.

IHA is publisher of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, a set of international good practice guidelines and assessment tools aligned with World Bank performance standards, as well as the Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide which provides guidance on building resilient hydropower infrastructure to avoid risks caused by changing weather patterns.

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