Small hydro and environmental justice: lessons from the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh

Diduck, A.P, Johnson, R.M, Edwards, E, Sinclair, A.J, Gardner, J and Patel, K (2021) 'Small hydro and environmental justice: lessons from the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh.' In: Diduck, A.P, Patel, K and Malik, A.K, eds. Advancing environmental justice for marginalized communities in India: progress, challenges and opportunities. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 101-118. ISBN 9780367692810

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Abstract

Himachal Pradesh, in the Western Himalaya, has significant hydropower potential and is rapidly developing the resource in conjunction with private developers. Due to the negative impacts associated with large-scale projects, Himachal Pradesh authorities have promoted small hydro, thought to have more abundant social and economic benefits for local residents and fewer adverse environmental impacts. This chapter examines the implications of small hydro development in Himachal Pradesh using a framework encompassing good governance, aspects of sustainable development and four dimensions of environmental justice (recognitional, procedural, distributive and restorative). The study conducted an inset appraisal of five projects in the Kullu District, using a combination of document review, field observations and semi-structured interviews with residents, activists, government officials and project proponents. Small hydro may enhance the state and regional economies but local environment-society cascading impacts are less well understood. The chapter analyses benefits such as job creation and improved infrastructure, as well as adverse impacts on aquaculture, traditional milling livelihoods, irrigation potential and river corridor ecology and hydrology. Good governance, sustainable development and environmental justice would be advanced by increased local involvement in planning and approvals, and if small hydro was subjected to periodic strategic assessments and catchment-based cumulative effects assessments.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Divisions: School of Sciences
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Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2021 14:35
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2021 17:30
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