Interbasin water transfers

Interbasin water transfers are used to alleviate water scarcity in areas of low population density and water availability. However, they are associated with a wide range of negative environmental impacts, including salinisation and aridification of the basin from which the water is taken, thermal stratification, earthquakes, greenhouse gas emissions in reservoirs, changes in downstream temperatures, eutrophication, increases in metal concentrations, erosion of downstream sediments and mixing of non-native, invasive fish species. There may also be negative impacts on native communities.

Nº 30


some attempts made
past case
Region-1
Region-2
Region-3
Region-4
ongoing case
no attempts made

None

Interbasin water transfers

Interbasin water transfers are used to alleviate water scarcity in areas of low population density and water availability. However, they are associated with a wide range of negative environmental impacts, including salinisation and aridification of the basin from which the water is taken, thermal stratification, earthquakes, greenhouse gas emissions in reservoirs, changes in downstream temperatures, eutrophication, increases in metal concentrations, erosion of downstream sediments and mixing of non-native, invasive fish species. There may also be negative impacts on native communities.

There are about sixty large interbasin water transfer projects in Canada, mainly for hydroelectric power generation. They are located in almost all provinces and involve large flows of more than 4500 m3 per second. In addition to the negative environmental impacts, interbasin water transfer projects have been found to have a negative impact on indigenous peoples, as local communities have not been consulted prior to the implementation of such a project, and tribes have been displaced.

Das, D. K. (2006). Environmental impact of inter-basin water transfer projects: some evidence from Canada. Economic and Political Weekly, 41(17) 1703-1707. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4418149

Das, D. K. (2006). Environmental impact of inter-basin water transfer projects: some evidence from Canada. Economic and Political Weekly, 1703-1707. https://www-jstor-org.proxy.library.uu.nl/stable/4418149?seq=4#metadata_info_tab_contents

Zhuang, W. (2016). Eco-environmental impact of inter-basin water transfer projects: a review. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23, 12867-12879. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-6854-3