This Is Why We Can’t Rely On Hydroelectricity

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The power station at the Bhumibol Dam in Thailand

Image: Image: Shutterstock/Golf Photographer

This Is Why We Can’t Rely On Hydroelectricity

Turning on a tap or faucet, running a bath and hosing off our automobiles all require a steady stream of water. Here in the United States we often do not think about all that is required for such mundane activities as these. Even though much of the West Coast has been under a drought advisory, the majority of inhabitants take this luxury for granted.

All over the world water is a resource that is so powerful, that without it for even a day, everything we know would cease to exist. This may sound dramatic, but it’s actually truer than you may know. Hydroelectricity is what powers economic development all over the globe, and changes to the climate are threatening its sustainability, which in turn could mean more than just a small drought, but one of a magnitude and on a scale unlike anything we have ever seen before.

Significant changes to river flow caused by drastic climate change, are putting hydrodams at great risk of drying out permanently. Throughout the last few decades, our reliance on hydroelectricity, which is the use of water to power large energy facilities responsible for power, has increased at a rapid rate. However, with that said, these enormous sources of carbon emission free power are being threatened more and more.

Hydroelectricity is so important to the future of the world due to its ability to potentially wipe out the need for the burning of fossil fuels. Little to no remaining use of fossil fuels could reduce the impact that global warming has on the earth, and thus allow economic flourish all without any need for the use of dangerous and harmful gas emissions.

Dam of hydroelectric power plant in Canadian Rockies

Image: Shutterstock/Constantine Androsoff

With the climate changing, scientists predict that there is to be a significant reduction in the capacities of hydropower in most areas of the world in years to come. Over three quarters of hydrodams currently in use are likely to see less electricity generating capacity. With warmer weather spanning the globe and global warming really taking its toll, these natural water resources will become scarce.

For many of the countries that rely so heavily on hydroelectricity this spells imminent danger and potential disaster not only for their economies and its growth, but also for the people as a whole. Many of these dams are built to last for decades, and are made to withstand even the most extreme conditions. Some believe that since the earth and weather are so unpredictable, these dams could still be around once the projected droughts have passed. Either way, the likelihood of danger to those relying on these dams and for hydropower on a consistent basis is very real.

Our reliance so heavily on river water for such a large portion of our energy supply is beginning to become more and more of a critical issue as the climate begins to change. Taking note of serious threats to our entire way of life is something that we should all be doing. Global warming is having greater residual effects on the things we often never think about, and forgetting all about these things or how they occur could be dangerous when they eventually run dry. The threat of losing hydropower for good is real, and if that does ever happen, dangerous fossil fuels that are known to damage the earth and everything on it are the only other lasting alternative.

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