Update on the proposed Rogun Regional Water Reservoir and Hydropower Project (Rogun HPP)


The World Bank is continuing apace on its work studying the proposed Rogun hydropower project in Tajikistan, which would be the largest hydropower in Central Asia. Two new assessments were recently released.

At the request of the Government of Tajikistan, the World Bank has undertaken two studies to assess the potential benefits, risks, and viability of the proposed Rogun HPP. As part of the effort, World Bank experts visited the Rogun site and met with local government officials of the communities residing within the Proposed reservoir area in August, 2011. The World Bank and the Tajik government had already reached an agreement in 2010 by which Tajikistan will pause the project and the associated resettlement of people until the completion of the assessment studies. As of today, very little is stated about the population that will have to relocate to accommodate the construction of what would be the largest hydropower station in Central Asia.

The two assessment studies, the Techno-Economic Assessment Study (TEAS) and the Environmental and the Social Impact Assessment (SEIA), are being conducted by two independent firms, Coyne & Bellier of France and Poyry of Switzerland, respectively. Upon the completion of the studies, two independent panels of experts will review them: the Engineering and Dam Safety Panel and the Environmental and Social Panel. These panels will be funded by the World Bank or World Bank-managed Trust Funds. Their role is to “ensure that international standards of design, risk evaluation and impact assessment are met.” Thus far, Coyne & Bellier and Poyry have presented initial reports that outline the work programs and study approaches for the assessment studies. It should take the firms about 18 months to complete these reviews.

According to the preliminary findings of the TEAS, “immediate construction of an initial stage of the proposed Rogun HPP with an intermediate height dam of 120 meters [should not begin] primarily due to the heavy sediment load carried by the Vakhsh River.” After this conclusion, the panels of experts and the World Bank asked Coyne & Bellier to next conduct a technical, economic, environmental, and social review of the dam at its full-height of 335 meters. This review may require 6-8 more months to complete. The SEIA’s report, on the other hand, will be disclosed during the first half of 2012. As the assessment studies are still being developed, the World Bank has not committed to financing the project.

Tajikistan’s government agreed to delay the construction of Rogun HPP until the studies are completed, reviewed by the panels of experts, and discussed among all of the riparian countries. Furthermore, the World Bank reported that the Tajik government will not proceed with further resettlement of populations from the areas affected by the hydropower project until the government has a resettlement agenda. After its August visit to the country, the Bank team noted that the Tajik Government showed “elements of good practice” with regard to the resettlement issue.

In August, 2011, World Bank experts traveled to Tajikistan to meet with its government officials and local government representatives of the communities residing near the proposed Rogun reservoir. Given that the involuntary resettlement of populations may constitute the most severe consequence of the Rogun HPP construction efforts since it would affect at least 30,000-40,000 residents, it is critical that civil society and residents participate in meaningful consultations with the Bank. Unfortunately, at this stage of work related to the hydropower station, the complications surrounding the resettlement issue are receiving minimal attention. Activists from the independent Bureau of Human Rights and Rule of Law (BHR) in Tajikistan visit the Rogun site as well as the communities residing within the proposed reservoir regularly. Based on their observations, the BHR produced a list of recommendations that could ease the challenges associated with the resettlement of the communities affected by the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant.

Source :https://bankinformationcenter.org/en-us/update/update-on-the-proposed-rogun-regional-water-reservoir/

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