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A Comparative Case Study of Small Hydro Development in the Indian Himalaya

  • A. John SinclairEmail author
  • Alan P. Diduck
  • Matthew McCandless

Abstract

The hilly and mountainous regions of the Indian Himalaya offer vast potential for hydro development because of the number of fast-flowing rivers and streams. Several state governments, along with the central government, continue to promote the harnessing of this power potential to correct energy deficits, encourage industrial development, and improve social well-being. For their part, the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have encouraged developers to take advantage of various incentives to exploit their hydro potential. Our research focuses on one aspect of these initiatives in these two states, the burgeoning small hydro industry. Small hydro development has become very popular in these and other regions in India because of its potential to provide local benefits, such as electrification, reduction in fossil fuel use, and enhanced local economic development opportunities, especially in rural and remote areas. Using a qualitative approach involving a review of documents, field observations, and interviews with government representatives, industry officials, and community members, the research investigated the development activities for two small hydro projects. Our findings show that the most successful project was the one where the local community was fully engaged in planning, construction and operation. They also reveal the need for significant policy change in relation to the approval of hydro developments that are not community based. Additionally, the work revealed that community members were concerned about the vast extent of micro-hydro development in their regions.

Keywords

Small hydro Himachal Pradesh Uttarakhand Public consultation Equity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We want to gratefully acknowledge the research participants for making the time to meet with us, the Shastri-Indo Canadian Institute and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for their financial support, and Weldon Hiebert, Cartographer in the of the University of Winnipeg Department of Geography, for preparing Fig. 19.1.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. John Sinclair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alan P. Diduck
    • 2
  • Matthew McCandless
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Studies and SciencesUniversity of WinnipegWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.International Institute for Sustainable DevelopmentWinnipegCanada

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