In our country, there are many huge multipurpose hydroelectricity (hydel) projects. These projects involve construction of dams, resulting in huge swathes of waterbodies called backwaters. These backwaters are not just used for electricity generation but are also a direct source for agricultural irrigation, industrial water supply, freshwater pisciculture and drinking purposes. Additionally, these can contribute indirectly to GDP as they can be turned into sites of tourist attraction.
It is believed that hydel power is a clean (zero pollution) source of energy generation. But, in reality, these waterbodies have a latent effect on the surrounding ecosystems and environment. They end up contributing to production of gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. Both these gases are contributors in global warming. Additionally, the creation of backwaters transforms (usually disrupts) the natural habitats and ecosystems of the areas surrounding them. The ecosystem from the submerged area gets decimated. Human displacement is the visible impact of dams, but these are the effects that it overshadows. These effects indeed have a greater impact on the climate as not just wildlife and habitats, but entire ecosystems are lost in the process.
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