Proponents of Bala dam try new approach


Seeking to ease environmental concern over the highly controversial Bala hydroelectric project, Bolivian officials have begun studying a proposal to reduce flooding by building two smaller dams rather than a single, large one. The Bala project has drawn criticism here and abroad because it would inundate portions of two protected areas—the Madidi National Park and the Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve. The Madidi, established in 1995, covers 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) and sustains an astonishing array of plants and animals. Until recently, Bolivia’s hydroelectric strategy for the area had called for a massive dam 590 feet (180 meters) high that would inundate more than 967 square miles (2,505 sq kms) of land. But now the government is considering an alternative, two-dam scheme... [Log in to read more]

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