5 disadvantages of hydroelectric power schemes

5 disadvantages of hydroelectric power schemes

Hydro-Electric Power (HEP) refers to the production of electricity using the force of flowing water. Example of hydroelectric power scheme in Africa can be found in the Zimbabwe/Zambia Border, the Volta project is in Ghana, the Cabora Bassa is in Mozambique, the Owen Falls is in Uganda and the Aswan project is in Egypt.

The following are disadvantages of hydro-electric power scheme

  • HEP schemes usually result in re-location of settlements since the reservoir covers a large area. Re-location of settlements disturbs the socioeconomic development of the people since they have to re-locate their homes, farmland and other related economic facilities. Re-location is also expensive in that governments usually pay compensation to people who are forced to move their settlements.

  • The Construction of HEP stations is very expensive; as a result, some countries cannot afford them even when they have good sites for the location of the schemes.
  • Lakes that are created become breeding areas for mosquitoes or water borne diseases such as malaria and bilharzia. 
  • Very large HEP schemes may occasionally flood whole villages and force people to leave their homes. That is, if there is a lot of rainfall in a particular year, flooding might occur resulting in high volumes of water in the reservoir. Hence nearby settlements could get affected. 
  • Variations in rainfall affect the amount of electricity that can be produced. That is, if there is an exceptionally low rainfall in a particular year, the amount of electricity produced in that year might be very low. This can slow down the development of the industry in a country.