A new hydro-social reality in Colombia
In the Water4Whom project, HU scientists study the effects of mega-dams
“Colombian mega-dams are creating a new hydro-social reality,” says Prof. Tobias Krüger, Co-Director of IRI THESys and Principal Investigator in the Water security for Whom? research project. “The question that constantly accompanies us is: who loses, who wins from the construction and operation of such dams,” adds Dr. Rossella Alba, who is the scientific coordinator of the project together with Krüger.
Water security for Whom? investigates in/equalities around multipurpose reservoirs in Colombia. For this it brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from IRI THESys, the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
In March, the team spent two weeks in Colombia and visited the Betania-El Quimbo dams and reservoirs, two case studies in the project. The team could learn about how the dams are changing local social, economic and ecological relations. The reservoirs are used for intensive aquaculture industry. On the one hand, fish production for the export market creates jobs, but not for everyone. At the same time, it affects the water quality and thus the individual fishing of the local population. For the researchers it became clear that the advantages and disadvantages of such mega-dams are not always so easy to evaluate.
The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation as part of the initiative “Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Inequality”.
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
IRI THESys (Integrative Research Institute: Transformation of Human-Environment Systems)
Rudower Chaussee 12b, 12489 Berlin
Dr. Rossella Alba