Hydroelectric Dam In Turkey May Cause Environmental Catastrophe In Georgia

A hydroelectric project in Turkey’s northeastern Ardahan district will change the flow of the Mtkvari River, the biggest water artery in the South Caucasus.

A planned dam in northeastern Turkey, the Beshik Haya cascade reservoirs, will divert most of the Mtkvari River from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, according to Georgia’s Green Party. This could trigger an environmental catastrophe, warns the group, not to mention a crisis in local foreign relations.

Ecological and human consequences

If it changes the flow of the Mtkvari River, the dam will also cause water levels to fall in the portion of the river that runs through Georgia.

Riparian ecosystems along the river will obviously suffer from a drastically reduced water supply. And lower water levels in the river will force authorities to recycle sewage from Tbilisi and Rustavi, raising the risk of epidemics among Georgia’s population.

Azerbaijan, Georgia’s neighbor to the southeast, is also heavily dependent on the portion of the Mtkvari River that flows into the Caspian Sea.

“An artificially created water deficit might cause tension between the states” of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, Georgian Green Party Head Georgi Gachechiladze told Democracy & Freedom Watch, a Georgian publication.

Dams damaging Turkey’s foreign relations in all directions

The Beshik Haya project is not the first Turkish hydropower dam to adversely affect human and ecological communities in Turkey and beyond. Nor is it the first to hurt Turkey’s diplomatic standing in its region.

Just last summer, the United Nations issued a report on how Turkish dams violate human rights, both in and out of its borders.

Turkish hydro projects along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, for example, have dried up large swathes of former marshland in Iraq and Syria as well as dams that desert communities rely on, forcing entire communities to resettle and severely affecting local plant and animal life.

Sadly, the UN report seems to have changed little about Turkey’s hydroelectric plans.

It’s too soon to tell whether Georgia’s Green Party might prevail against the Beshik Haya project. If Georgia and Azerbaijan form an alliance around the issue, however, Turkey will have to alter its plans or estrange two of its closest neighbors.

:: Democracy & Freedom Watch

 

Read more about hydropower in Turkey:

Turkish Water Projects Stirring Resentment Around The Region

Turkey’s Dams Are Violating Human Rights, UN Report Says

Hydropower Could Meet More Of Turkey’s Energy Demand — But At What Cost?

Image via L Gnome

 

 

4 thoughts on “Hydroelectric Dam In Turkey May Cause Environmental Catastrophe In Georgia

  1. iSMET

    As a Turkish American we are just as much concern about this, we put this article in our site, which has 12 million readers in all Turkish Speaking countries, we will bring this to attention of Turkish Goverement, and will make our voices heard,
    Thank you for this information, most Turks, if they are aware of this ?will not support this Dam project, I looked at Google Earth and seen what this river means to people in the region, this is one dam we do not want,Us Turkish and Azerbaijan members of the group will loud this to Turkish water Projects and please everyone join us to stop this dam

    Reply
  2. JTR

    Apparently, human beings are instinctively addicted to growth. More and more children growing up to be good consumers of more and more food and other products makes businessmen rich, so they don’t want to know the Earth is NOT growing to accomodate their growing desire for more. They just want the game to go on forever, and they convince themselves that it can because it must so they can go on feeling powerful and immune to the death-symbols of poverty and disease, which they themselves spread as the growing population continues to exceed the food supply.

    Reply
  3. Karin Kloosterman

    You plug a whole somewhere and it leaks out somewhere else. I think hydro dams should be outlawed, or built much more responsibly to allow for the passage of fish and wildlife that swim in the streams, and for people who have built societies and culture around them. I hate hearing about big hydro dam projects.

    Reply
  4. JTR

    Turkey has a water problem, but instead of building a dam, they should peacefully reduce their population with family planning education in which each and every woman is given the legally protected right to decide if and when to conceive and birth her children. Very few women want 4,5,6,7,8,9,10 children; more want none at all; but the vast majority want only 1, 2 or 3. That way the population would return to a reasonable balance with the natural availability of water in that region. If we humans did that everywhere, while safely recycling 100% of all our human-generated waste materials, there would be peace and reasonable prosperity for all people everywhere.

    Reply

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