The report of the World Commission on Dams is virtually unknown to decision-makers in the region. From this report there are several broad guidelines that should be followed in the Amur-Heilong region:
Use of water resources in the basin should be based on assessment of needs and opportunities of all interested sectors of society (stakeholders) and the needs of natural riverine ecosystems. No longer can all other needs be sacrificed for the sake of electricity production;
Cumulative environmental and socio-economic effects of the Bureya and Zeya dams and dams in the Songhua basin, should be subject to detailed assessment and monitoring. Mitigation and compensatory measures should be planned and implemented at the expense of energy companies.
Large-dam projects planned in the past should not be implemented, especially those planned for the main channel of the Amur-Heilong River. Strategic environmental assessment of many available options is needed before any further hydropower development plans go ahead in the Amur-Heilong basin.
The roles of floods and wetlands in sustaining environmental quality and ecosystem productivity should be integrated into land-use planning, and land-use plans should be adapted to this beneficial feature of the Amur-Heilong ecosystem.
Bureya Hydropower Plant (Photo by S.Ignatenko)