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Hydropower plays a vital role in reducing the world's dependence on fossil fuels. As a renewable energy, it is essential that hydropower is developed sustainably.

Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol offers a framework for assessing hydropower projects against a comprehensive range of social, environmental, technical and economic criteria.

The protocol was shaped by representatives from governments, commercial and development banks, social and environmental NGOs, and the hydropower sector.

International Hydropower Association (IHA) played a leading role in the development of the protocol, and continues to act as its management entity, supporting assessments, overseeing training and accreditation, and supporting its governance committee.

Find out more about the protocol at

Better Hydro

Our Better Hydro initiative showcases proven good practice in sustainable hydropower.

Our Sustainability Team has developed a compendium of case studies demonstrating excellence in sustainable hydropower development, based on assessments carried out under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. 

The case studies focus on specific aspects of development, such as indigenous people, cultural heritage, economic viability, and water quality (23 topics are covered in total). Read more.

Activities 2017-2018

To find out more about our sustainability programmes, download IHA's Activity and Strategy Report 2017-2018.

Case study: Costa Rica

The Reventazón Hydroelectric Project in Costa Rica was assessed using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol in 2017. Learn more.

Watch our short documentary:

Assessing hydropower projects against good practices in sustainability