HIDROENERGIA 2006 Crieff, Scotland, UK, 7-9 June, 2006
RIVERS EXEMPT FROM DAMMING: CASE STUDY OF LOWLANDS Petras PUNYS Lithuanian Hydropower Association / University of Agriculture
Contents 1. Introduction Case studies: two forbidden rivers
Overall aim is: to analyze in quantitative terms the consequences of the imposed prohibition on damming of the two largest rivers of the country: Â™ the lower Nemunas for which the inland waterway modernizing and a new river port construction will be undertaken (Kaunas), including the improvement of the overall status of the river surroundings within the city limits; Â™ development of a new inland waterway and a river port for the lower Neris (largest tributary of the Nemunas river, reach Kaunas city - Jonava town).
Lithuaniaâ€™s largest rivers
Amendment of the Water Law (2004):
â€œIt is forbidden to construct dams on the river Nemunas and the rivers valuable from ecological and cultural point of viewâ€?. As a result, a list of 169 rivers or their stretches was elaborated where any river damming was forbidden for ever.
Hydrographical network: â€˘ Protected rivers (conventional reserves) â€˘ Protected rivers + forbidden rivers (amendment of the Water law takes effect)
SHP Potential , GWh
Decrease of SHP potential due to a variety of constraints
The Nemunas river Catchment A =100 000 km2 Average flow: 630 m3/s (at Kaunas ~280m3/s) Waterway of international importance (E-IV class) Insufficient depth for navigation (1.2 m to 1.5 m) Modernising waterway and expansion of navigational facilities including river ports are needed Kaunas cityâ€™s development master plan: 2 low head dams will assure the required depth for vessels to access the river port.
Groynes+ dredging: Shallow waterway
Dams: Deep waterway
Range of depths of the navigation fairway
Cascade of low head dams downstream Kaunas (Nemunas, 94-210km)
Dam Name of No. HPP
Flooded area, km2
Installed Generapower, tion, MW GWh/ year
3 to 3.5
2.9 to 3.7
3 to 3.5
Preliminary indicators of HPP cascade on the Nemunas river
Alternatives of the river port location (Kaunas city)
Marvele dam (navigation lock, fish pass)
To make the Nemunas waterway more commercially attractive, more significant depths are required. This can be assured by building low head dams. In fact, modern waterways practically always fulfil also other functions apart from inland navigation. The most common case is the utilisation of water power in plants built next to navigation locks, since the dams do not justify for single purpose. The low head dams will allow setting up the river port in Petrasiunai, which, in turn, will improve aesthetics of the river stretches in the city and mitigate the adverse effect of hydropeaking due to upstream operating Kaunas HPP.
The Neris river
Catchment area A =25 000 km2 Average flow: 179 m3/s (at Kaunas) Free-flowing river Corridor for migrating fish (salmon). Wild salmon conservation and restoration program is currently underway.
Prospects of development
Commercial fishing is forbidden
Poor in comparison to the lower Nemunas
Poor in comparison to the other Big prospects (especially for social water bodies and cultural needs)
Commercial and recreational fishing of wild salmon and sea trout
Commercial fishing is forbidden. It is allowed only in the Baltic sea. Fishing quota is set to 36 tons/year. Catches amounts only to a few hundred kilos per year. Expenses for propagation reach some LTL 2.3 million (0.7 Mâ‚Ź)
The number of wild salmon and sea trout should increase by a factor 2 or 3 by 2010. It is expected to get the bigger quotas for catches in the Baltic sea. After restoration the fish stocks, commercial and recreational fishing will be allowed in the Neris river.
No salmon industry
Assessment of the situation of the fishing sector
Current river use
Income generated Econo LTL mics million a year
Insignifica Positive, nt significant
Poor (LTL 0.5 mllion. per year)
-2.3 (No income)
Water tourism, recreation
Insignifica Positive, nt significant
Conservation Very high
Poor (LTL 20 million per year)
Receiver of High waste waters
Development Social, cultural prospects issues
Estimation of the present uses of the Neris river water resources
Cascade of dams on the lower Neris (reach KaunasJonava)
Assure only minimu m depths
Delay of traffic passing through 2 locks
Always assure required depths
Delay of traffic passing through 1 lock
GeneraLarger More tion more areas of effeceffective land tive inundated
Number of dams
No production during flood event
No protecti on from larger floods High capital cost
Dams development scenario (reach Kaunas-Jonava)
Name of dam
Flooded Pond storage area, mln. m3 km2
Installed capacity MW
Power generati on GWh/ye ar
Payback period, years
1st option: 3 dams 1
3-1 Jonavos – 1
2nd option: 2 dams 1-1 Lapiu
3-2 Jonavos – 2
Main parameters of cascade of SHP plants (river reach Kaunas-Jonava)
Waterway development options Dredging
River training by groynes (0 to 10 km) and dredging (11 to 45 km) Canalisation by a series of dams
Significant maintenance costs for removing sediments from fairway
No justification from economical and environmental point of view
Low maintenance cost of the reach 0 to 10 km
Significant cost of construction of groynes (LTL 30 million). Significant dredging cost (LTL 2.4 million a year)
No justification from economical point of view (navigational income generated varies between LTL 0.3 and 1.4 million per year). Environmental benefits are not dominant.
No need for dredging, river regulation
Low speed of transporting cargo, degradation of water quality
Justifies from economical point of view if there is hydropower generation
Commercial waterway development options for the lower Neris (the reach Kaunas-Jonava)
Income generated, LTL million a year
Commer- 1.4 (from SignifiKaunas to cant cial Jonava) navigation
Social and Recreational and commercial fishing, cultural and water tourism aspects
Significant Positive impact on: water tourism, recreation. Undetermined on: commercial fishing (salmon) and protected species.
Significant Undetermined (life quality)
Positive impact on: climate change, protection of the atmosphere, water tourism, water supply etc. Undetermined on: commercial fishing (salmon), protected species.
Prospective uses of water resources (reach KaunasJonava)
Conclusions 1. The building of dams associated with hydropower development is forbidden by the Water Law in Lithuania. Consequently, the opportunities of multipurpose use of water resources were restricted enormously (inland navigation, irrigation, fish farming, flood defence, low flow augmentation etc.) 2. Scientific, economic, legal and environmental base of the elaboration of the list of the rivers exempted from damming is insufficient. It undermines the principles incorporated into National Sustainable Development Strategy and Energy Strategy. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be applied for a particular case of river resources development.
3. The results of the studies carried out for the two largest rivers of the country (the Nemunas and the Neris) shows that the current legal ban for the river damming is useless for economic development of the country. 4. It is recommended to review the national environmental legislation in force dealing with river engineering in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of the vital river ecosystem.
Low head hydraulic structures associated with hydropower generation can bring significant benefits for multipurpose utilization of water resources, for the improvement of river surroundings.
Communication of the Environmental protection Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament (19 April, 2006)
The Water law and subsequent decision on introducing the List of forbidden rivers are contradicting with the international legal practice of hydropower development, and some items of the National Law on Protected areas. Consequently, the principles incorporated into National Sustainable Development Strategy and Energy Strategy are undermined. The requirements of the National Environmental legislation should not be stronger as they are outlined in the relevant EU environmental legislation and international conventions.
Thank you for your attention