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Analysis and Comment (11)

Australia won’t be building anything as big as the Gordon Dam any time soon. JJ Harrison/Wikimedia Commons

Dam hard: water storage is a historic headache for Australia

The agricultural green paper released last week proposes 27 new water and irrigation projects, which the government claims will be necessary for Australia’s agricultural expansion. The emphasis is firmly…
The Ord River dam, completed in 1971, formed Australia’s largest artificial lake in the far north west. Graeme Churchard/Flickr

Dams are not the smart way to secure water for agriculture

Some 27 irrigation and dam projects are highlighted in the green paper for agricultural competitiveness released this week by agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Six of the projects – five in Tasmania…
The once-popular Loch McNess north of Perth has dried up almost completely after a decades-long dry period. ron_n_beth/Flickr

Saving water in a drying climate: lessons from south-west Australia

Since 1970, average rainfall in the south-west of Western Australia has decreased by nearly a fifth, and the science suggests that this is linked to human-caused climate change. Across Australia, CSIRO…
The Three Gorges Dam has changed the lives of millions - not always for the better. Greg Baker/AP

Chinese hydropower electrifies southeast Asia, but at a cost

China is the world’s largest energy consumer, its ferocious industrial expansion and urbanisation driving a demand for electricity that has risen 10% in a single year between September 2012-13. This has…
The diverse rivers of Northern Australia, flat and expansive, support diverse species and are linked by unregulated Wet season flows. Andrew Campbell

Dam it all? River futures in northern Australia

Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the…
Hydropower stations such as the Three Gorges in China are able to produce large amounts of electricity but they can also alter ecosystems and displace communities. EPA

Explainer: what is hydroelectricity?

Hydroelectricity is an established power-generation technology with over 100 years of commercial operation. Hydroelectricity is produced when moving water rotates a turbine shaft; this movement is converted…
The Mekong in Xayaburi Province, Laos – the site of a proposed dam. But what will happen to biodiversity and people? Flickr/International Rivers.

Rhino horn and tiger blood: conservation in the Mekong

When Australians think of the Mekong they think cheap holidays or Vietnamese restaurants. Biodiversity-wise however, the Mekong is a frontier, a place where biological riches collide with human pressure…
Four major hydroelectric projects are planned for the upper Yangtze River valley. Steb Fisher

Birds, dams and people: biodiversity in China

The 2012 China Ecological Footprint Report has highlighted the cost to biodiversity of China’s rapid economic development. Biodiversity in China is under pressure because of loss of habitat. In our study…
Water bursting from dams doesn’t just look impressive; it’s vital to the health of Australian rivers. Kincuri

Rivers, rain and releases: what happens when you dam a waterway?

Water exploding from the Jindabyne Dam into the Snowy River made for compelling viewing in recent TV news reports. As well as being good TV, this water release highlighted the importance of releases in…

Research Briefs (1)