The wide-ranging benefits of hydropower are often misunderstood or under-reported.
Benefits of hydropower include flexible energy generation and storage, as well as reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Benefits to local communities include flood protection and water supply for domestic and commercial use, as well as opportunities for employment, education and recreation. Hydropower facilities also provide a boost to national economic growth through trade, transport and tourism.
Environmental benefits include pollution control and reduction of carbon emissions. Hydropower can also boost food security with a reliable source of water for irrigation.
These benefits are, however, often under-reported, and companies struggle to collect, quantify and share information on them. This is partially due to non-power related benefits being difficult to measure.
The absence of an adequate framework to define and quantify these benefits makes it difficult for society to evaluate them.
Our strategy and action
IHA supports its members to articulate the multipurpose benefits of hydropower.
Since IHA was first established, we have been building and sharing knowledge on the benefits of hydropower.
Our hydropower benefits work programme highlights the benefits which are not always built into the design of projects, but can be leveraged from them. Opportunities for non-power benefits should be evaluated and implemented in dialogue with affected communities.
We have been collaborating with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank and several IHA members on research initiatives. These initiatives are focused on how we can identify and quantify impacts and benefit sharing mechanisms to better assess and articulate how hydropower projects can contribute to the realisation of the SDGs.
Our ongoing work looks at methods of identifying and quantifying of the benefits of hydropower development at country and regional levels, as well as best practices to provide local communities with hydropower benefits.
Latest associated content
At the end of 2015 we can look back on a significant year for hydropower, from the gathering of the sector at the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, to the crucial Paris Agreement at COP21. Here are just some of the highlightType:Blog postDate:15 December 2015
For the first time, we are taking the pulse of the hydropower sector at large in a new annual survey. You are invited to take part.Type:Blog postDate:30 November 2015
The 2015 World Hydropower Congress took place on 19–21 May in Beijing, China, bringing together over 1,000 representatives of government, the finance sector, civil society, academia and industry to discuss a sustainable pathwayType:Blog postDate:12 June 2015
The 2015 World Hydropower Congress has drawn to a close. Here we take a look at the highlights of the final two days of the congress.Type:Blog postDate:20 May 2015
The 2015 World Hydropower got under way at the iconic Sunrise Kempinski Hotel at Yanqi Lake, Beijing, China on Tuesday 19 May. Here are some of the best moments from the opening day.Type:Blog postDate:19 May 2015