article photo 1

Video Highlights Issues with Small Dams

Posted: 01/21/2011
by Kevin Colburn

Follow Roy McPure as he walks you through his vision for damming whitewater rivers to generate a little electricity and make money. Support for small or "run-of-river" dams is seeing an increase as people explore new ways of making money with old ways of making electricity in an era of climate change related tax incentives.

Roy reveals that "small" dams are not always small and that "run-of-river" dams often de-water long sections of rivers. He also shares that the cheap 100+ year old technology generates little electricity relative to massive environmental impacts. All told the technology could wipe out countless superb whitewater creeks for very little energy generation.

New projects like these are being built at an alarming rate across western Canada, and are being proposed throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

The video serves as a cautionary tale of greenwashing, and as a call to action to oppose these projects, oppose the legislation that incentivises them, and of course to conserve water and electricity. Small dams are not the answer to any of our Nation's problems and threaten many places both here and north of our borders that are special to the paddling community.


Small Hydro Power from Tom11 Films on Vimeo.

Kevin Colburn
Asheville, NC

Associated Projects

Small Hydropower
We work to prevent damming of treasured headwater streams paddlers enjoy for small hydropower development.