Sustainable hydropower utilization in Bhutan: National guidelines for the determination of minimum environmental flows

Associated persons Michael Jungmeier, Michael Huber
Regions Bhutan
Year 2015

The Kingdom of Bhutan declared in its national development strategy to increase the amount of energy produced by renewable resources, in particular by hydroelectric power. In order to determine minimum environmental flows and minimize the impacts of hydropower development on ecology, economy and society, the National Environmental Commission of the Royal Government of Bhutan (NEC) is in need of reliable guidelines, tools and capacity. A team of international and local experts will develop and prepare a set of tools and methods and test them in close cooperation with experts of NEC to build-up national capacity for the assessment of future hydropower projects. At the pilot reaches the team collects water body morphologic, hydro-geologic, ecological but also socio-economic data in order to determine minimum environmental flow. The development of a national guideline on E-flow regulations and related training and institutional capacity building of the National Environmental Comission are considered key objectives of this project. The results should allow for a reliable and assessment of future hydropower projects, which ensure a sustainable use of the water resources of the country. E.C.O. is the lead partner of the project and is responsible for the assessment of socio-cultural aspects. E.C.O. closely cooperates with SJE Ecohydraulic Engineering, Peter Fish Consulting and our local partner Chhimi Dorji several European experts as well as with Dr. Klaus Jorde, a civil engineer, who coordinates and manages the work in Bhutan