Week 9: Dams, Displacement and the Delusion of Development. Cahora Bassa and Its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965-2007

The book this week discusses the dynamics of Dam Building and the impact upon people, ecology and place. The damming of the Zambezi River because a source of opportunity as well as contention as the benefits and consequences were unequally divided. The groups living upriver of the Dam were displaced by rising water and conflict and thus was detrimental to their lives. The political elite in Mozambique benefitted from a new energy source as well as boasting the completion of the dam.

The contents of Chapter 5 are of particular the ecological implications of the dam are considered. The river disrupted the flow of water downstream which impacted water available for agriculture affected migration patterns of indigenous wild life. A similar event that saw disruption as a result of dam construction was the completion of the seething Dam on the Nile River in Egypt. Though a very long river the Nile has a relatively low rate of low and thus any sediments and nutrients carried by the river are very crucial to ecology and agriculture. Since the completing of the Dam farmers in the Nile Delta region have had to employ fertilizers to sustain their crops and has become an expensive replacement for the nutrients once carried by the Nile.

Additionally Isaac and Isaac discuss the issue of conflict over the construction of the Dam. Their account is largely an internal issue while many rivers often cross the border of many states and the construction of a dam can become an international dispute. The region of the Nile river drainage basin experiences just such a conflict. Though the Nile River is famous for following through Egypt it flows through as ay as 10 countries with its origins on lakes found in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is currently constructing the Grand Renaissance Dam to serve growing power needs. Much like Isaac and Issac account in Mozambique the dam is as much a political project as much as it is an infrastructure project as Ethiopian officials seek to modernise Ethiopia. The issue becomes a dispute as Egypt and other states down river on the Nile Object to concerns of reduced flow which not only impact power supplies but also the very crucial source of water. Though the dispute remains peacefully military options have been threatened in the past. As climate change worsens the need to fresh water conflicts such as these will becomes all the more common.

Francesco Vergari


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