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THE GREAT RIVERS PARTNERSHIP brings together diverse stakeholders and best science to work toward sustainable management and development of the world’s most critical river systems.


Zambezi River Authority gives tour of Kariba Dam - © Brian Richter/TNC

More sustainable approaches to hydropower development and operations can provide low-carbon energy while safeguarding important rivers and floodplains.

People have long harnessed the power of water as a means to energy security. Today, China’s Three Gorges Dam—with the world's largest instantaneous generating capacity—creates as much electricity as roughly 18 nuclear plants.

However, while hydropower may be the dominant renewable energy source, it often comes with significant costs. Dams can drastically affect fisheries and overall water quality, force the displacement of people living in river valleys, and cause a number of other issues that degrade the lands and waters of a river basin.

The Great Rivers Partnership and its collaborators have worked with officials around the world to plan more balanced dam operations and mitigate damage caused by those currently in use. The Nature Conservancy, for instance, has established formal relationships with Three Gorges Company and the Yangtze Water Resources Commission to find new ways to balance hydropower and conservation along China’s Yangtze River

Learn more about related efforts to modernize current infrastructure and support sustainable development in the future.


Environment and Hydropower Giants Sign Agreement

The Nature Conservancy and China's Three Gorges Corporation sign a five-year agreement aimed at making hydropower more sustainable. The collaboration highlights the impact of the U.S.-China EcoPartnership initiated through the GRP in 2012.

The Benefits of Managing Environmental Flows (187KB, pdf)

Download this paper by The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Geological Survey to learn more about environmental flow management and how it can help dams and other infrastructure maintain or restore a river's natural flow regime.

Hydropower Sustainability Fund (1.9MB, pdf)

Download this proposal for a finanancial mechanism on the Yangtze that focuses on social, economic and ecological outcomes.