Governance, Livelihoods and Gender Issues in Run-of-the-River Hydropower Project Areas in Uttarakhand, India
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As part of the Women and Gender in International Development discussion series, Dr. Stephanie Buechler, Assistant Research Professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona, will present on run-of-the river hydropower projects in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India. Currently 450 hydroelectric power schemes are proposed or are under development in this region. Run-of-the-river hydropower projects are being developed in order to avoid some of the costs to local communities and to the environment created by large dams. Stakeholders in this rapid hydropower expansion in Uttarakhand include urban and rural actors, often with diverging interests. The resulting governance challenges are centered on tradeoffs between local electricity and revenue from sale of hydropower on the one hand, and impacts to small-scale irrigation systems, riparian-corridor ecosystem services, and other natural resource-based livelihoods on the other. This study focused on the Bhilangana River basin, where gender differentiated livelihoods dependent on water include farming, fishing, livestock rearing and fodder collection. The purpose was to identify strategies that safeguard or enhance livelihoods of women, youth, and men in areas with hydropower projects, while also maintaining critical ecosystem services for headwater regions across the Himalayas and globally. The presentation is hosted by Women and Gender in International Development of the Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED)and is co-sponsored by the Geography Department, Women's and Gender Studies,and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.