Next Article in Journal
Characteristics of Droughts in South Africa: A Case Study of Free State and North West Provinces
Next Article in Special Issue
Water Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, and Sustainable Water Resources Management
Previous Article in Journal
Domestic Wastewater Depuration Using a Horizontal Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland and Theoretical Surface Optimization: A Case Study under Dry Mediterranean Climate
Previous Article in Special Issue
Modes and Approaches of Groundwater Governance: A Survey of Lessons Learned from Selected Cases across the Globe
Open AccessArticle

Re-Linking Governance of Energy with Livelihoods and Irrigation in Uttarakhand, India

School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
People’s Science Institute, Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand 248006, India
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2016, 8(10), 437;
Received: 1 May 2016 / Accepted: 21 September 2016 / Published: 8 October 2016
Hydropower is often termed “green energy” and proffered as an alternative to polluting coal-generated electricity for burgeoning cities and energy-insecure rural areas. India is the third largest coal producer in the world; it is projected to be the largest coal consumer by 2050. In the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India, over 450 hydroelectric power schemes are proposed or are under development. Hydropower projects ranging from micro hydro (run-of-the-river systems with generating capacity up to 100 kW) to large reservoirs (storage systems up to 2000 MW) such as the Tehri Dam are in various stages of planning, construction or implementation. Run-of-the-river hydropower projects are being developed in Uttarakhand in order to avoid some of the costs to local communities created by large dams. Stakeholders in this rapid hydropower expansion include multiple actors with often diverging sets of interests. The resulting governance challenges are centered on tradeoffs between local electricity and revenue from the sale of hydropower, on the one hand, and the impacts on small-scale irrigation systems, riparian-corridor ecosystem services, and other natural resource-based livelihoods, on the other. We focus on the Bhilangana river basin, where water dependent livelihoods differentiated by gender include farming, fishing, livestock rearing and fodder collection. We examine the contradictions inherent in hydropower governance based on the interests of local residents and other stakeholders including hydropower developers, urban and other regional electricity users, and state-level policymakers. We use a social justice approach applied to hydropower projects to examine some of the negative impacts, especially by location and gender, of these projects on local communities and then identify strategies that can safeguard or enhance livelihoods of women, youth, and men in areas with hydropower projects, while also maintaining critical ecosystem services. By assessing the Bhilangana basin case, we also offer hydropower–livelihoods–irrigation nexus lessons for headwater regions across the Himalayas and globally. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydropower; governance; livelihoods; gender; irrigation; ecosystem services hydropower; governance; livelihoods; gender; irrigation; ecosystem services
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Buechler, S.; Sen, D.; Khandekar, N.; Scott, C.A. Re-Linking Governance of Energy with Livelihoods and Irrigation in Uttarakhand, India. Water 2016, 8, 437.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

Back to TopTop