Hydropower

Research on GHG Emissions from Freshwater Reservoirs

Frequently asked questions

We know that many members of the public are interested in the role of hydropower in the context of GHG emissions, so the IHA FAQ paper shall give a good understanding of the basic issues.

UNESCO/IHA GHG Research Project

To quantify any net change of GHG fluxes in a river basin caused by the creation of a reservoir, it is necessary to consider exchanges before and after its construction. In the past, there has been no scientific consensus on how to measure the GHG status of freshwater reservoirs.

A number of efforts are underway to improve understanding of these issues. An example is the UNESCO/IHA Greenhouse Gas Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Project. It is a global research initiative to improve understanding of the impact of reservoirs on natural GHG emissions in a river basin led through collaboration between UNESCO and the International Hydropower Association (IHA). The initiative involves some 160 researchers, scientists and professionals working in the field. HEA is strongly supporting this program.

GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs

As part of the Greenhouse Gas Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Project, UNESCO and IHA have published the GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs. This publication provides a comprehensive tool to assess the GHG status of freshwater reservoirs.

Development of a Predictive Model

As well as the GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs, the UNESCO/IHA Greenhouse Gas Status of Freshwater Reservoirs Project is currently building up a predictive model, taking into account most of the parameters and factors that affect GHG production. This new tool will enable assessments of the GHG status of existing unmonitored and potential new reservoirs.

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