Free-flowing rivers provide a myriad of benefits including sustaining freshwater fisheries that are critical to the food security of hundreds of millions, fertilizing floodplain fields, buffering cities from extreme floods, keeping heavily populated deltas above the rising seas, and providing habitat for an extraordinary diversity of species both in and out of the water.
Yet, hydropower dams threaten the health of iconic rivers around the world from large, biodiverse tropical rivers, like the Irrawaddy, Mekong, Tapajos and Sepik, to the last free-flowing glacial river in the Alps, the last wild river in Europe, and rivers that are the lifeblood of the world-famous Okavango delta and Mara wildebeest migration.
However, for the first time, we can now meet global climate and energy goals without the need for hydropower dams. The key is for countries to focus on renewable energy solutions using LowCx3—low cost, low carbon, and low conflict—solutions and determine the best energy mix for their needs.
The 10 Rivers at Risk report offers a glimpse into 10 iconic rivers, the threats facing the rivers and the surrounding communities, and opportunities for action.