Sunday, June 8, 2008

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Slovakia, Hungary
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The Gabcikovo-Nagymoros hydraulic project on the Danube River was started in order to generate electric power, create an inland waterway, help manage water supplies and aid in the region's economic development. The river was to be dammed and its water diverted into a canal. Four decades after it was initiated, the Cunovo Dam began operation in Slovakia in October 1992. The dam diverted 80 to 90 per cent of Danube River water down a diversion canal to support a hydroelectric power station.

This pair of images from 1973 and 2000 reveal the striking changes the massive re-channeling of river water has brought to the region. The dam altered the hydraulic regime of the Danube River valley from a natural waterway to a controlled patchwork of channels and islands. The diversion of water by the dam brought an end to the natural, beneficial flooding that added moisture and nutrients to the soil. It also reduced the ability of wetlands and marshes to filter surface water and trap sediments. Consequently, water quality and soil nutrients levels in the region have declined. Generation of electricity has come with significant environmental cost. View detailed information

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