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  • Mapping of hydropower plant in Albania, using

    Geographic Information System

    April 2017

    © HELP-CSO project



    Miliekontakt Albania


    Compiled and prepared by:

    Lorela Lazaj 1, Rineldi Xhelilaj 2

    1GIS expert; [email protected]

    2Architect; [email protected]

    mailto:[email protected]

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    Mapping of hydropower plant in Albania, using Geographic Information System

    Abstract: The hydropower industry business has been growing very fast in Albania since 2007. Few studies have been published recently about the environmental and social impacts of this industry. Mapping of the existing hydropower plants and those which are planned to be developed is a must, in order to understand and estimate the consequences and to develop the proper conservation plans. GIS is shown to be a very useful tool, in environmental management and protection in different fields, including hydrology. This paper includes: a desk research on the identification of hydropower plants’ geographic location, and additional data associated with each one such as: the company’s name, power, capacity, basin, etc.; also the mapping and classification of the hydropower in different categories. The purpose of this project is to: create an open geodatabase, available to everyone who needs the information regarding the existing and planned hydropower plants in Albania; create an interactive map integrated into the webpage; mapping the HPPs conflicts.

    Keywords: GIS; hydropower; Albania; hydrology; environment; dam; protected areas

    1. Introduction

    Albania is located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. Its hydrographic territory has a surface of 44,000 km square, with an average height of the hydrographic territory of about 700 m above the sea level. It has more than 152 rivers and streams that form 8 large rivers (Buna, Drin, Mat, Ishëm, Erzen, Shkumbin, Seman, Vjosë) flowing from southeast to northwest, mainly discharging towards the Adriatic coast. The average perennial total inflow of Albanian rivers is about 1,245 m³/s while the amount of water running to the sea is about 40 billion water cubic meter/year [1]. About 65% of their watershed lies within the Albanian territory [2].

    After the new legislative measures and the amendments of the existing ones, regarding the concessions, from 2007 [3]1, the Private Public

    1 Law No. 9663 dated on 18/12/2006 “On concessions”; · Council of Ministers Decision No.27, dated on 19/1/2007 “On approval of rules for evaluation and concession procedures”, changed with MCD No. 87 dated on 16.01.2008; · Council of Ministers Decision No.150, dated on 22/03/2007 “For the organization and function of Concession’s Treated Agency” (ATRAKO); · Minister’s decision No.536, dated on 27/07/2007 “On regulations approval for the administration of the documents and requests for concessionary agreements and “Bonus evaluation criteria”

    Partnership was considered as a great opportunity for the sector of hydropower. Therefore, the interest for the hydropower sector grew rapidly, by providing enormous benefits for the private sector and at the same time meeting people’s needs for electricity. Back then, the environmental and social impacts of HPPs into the ecosystems and biodiversity were unknown. The energy delivered by HPPs, was used to be classified as clean, renewable energy, which helps reduce carbon emission. In the contrary, according to the Union of Concerned Scientist, large hydroelectric dams do pollute with greenhouse gases. As the reservoir behind the dam grows or floods over plants, that material decomposes releasing CO2 and methane. Fey studies reveal important data on the environmental and social negative impacts of HPPs into the environment’s quality. These reports confirm a critical situation related to rare and endangered plants and animals (fish, amphibians and reptiles, birds and mammals), as well as rare and endangered habitats. Most of the threatened reported species belong to the

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    Albanian Red List (2013), and/or IUCN endangered species [3]. Dams inevitably alter thousands of square mile of waterways, affecting fish and wildlife, forests, farms, the water quality and of course human population. The results can be a possible extinction of fish species and a reduction on fish populations [4]. Furthermore, sands, rocks, wood and other natural sediments, build up in the reservoir rather than spreading down the river. This is identified by the researcher to be the main reason of coastal erosion. All these negative social and environmental impacts have caused debates, conflicts, protests and contradiction between government institutions, developers and local community in cases of HPPs construction. According to the published study on “Cases of water conflicts related to hydropower development in Albania” the main reason of contradiction is the equal right for the water usage associated mainly with the people’s needs for irrigation and agriculture. The second reason of conflicts comes from the lack of information and public consulting, during the planning phase. Unfortunately, none of the locals is aware of the construction of HPPs until the exact moment that the construction actually starts to take place. The farmers and the rural community are the most affected categories and their case is supported mainly by local NGO-s and Scientists [5]. Some of the hydropower plants have been constructed within protected areas. In Albania the protected area network consist of 16 % of the territory, represented by 2 Strict Nature Reserves, 15 National Parks, 750 Natural Monuments, 22 Managed Natural Reserves, 5 Protected Landscapes and 5 protected areas with sustainable use of natural resources [6]. In this paper there is done the mapping of all HPPs identified conflicts.

    Until now, there have been identified 183 concession agreements signed by the government, for the construction of 524 hydropowers. Most of them have a small capacity. 177 HPPs are in operation and licensed by the Energy Regulatory Entity (ERE); 43 HPPs are under construction and 364 HPPs have been planned by the ministry of energy [5]. Considering that the online data source provides restricted information about HPPs’ geographical position, the number of HPPs mapped in this project is smaller. To avoid conflicts or negative social and environmental impacts, is very important the identification and visualization of HPPs in Albania. For instance, the lack of information is often the reason of wrong decisions taken by politicians and decision maker bodies. The purpose of this project is to:

    • create for the first time, an open geodatabase, available to everyone who needs the information regarding the existing and planned hydropower plants in Albania and their geographical distribution visualization;

    • creating an interactive map integrated into the webpage;

    • Mapping the HPPs conflicts.

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    2. Methodology

    Prior to the mapping of HPPs in Albania, the data collection was done and organized in an Excel file in ten columns. For every hydropower, there were nine defined attributes associated with it such as: Contract numbers, HPPs name, year, coordinates, basin, company, capacity in kW, annual production and legal framework. All the coordinates were converted from degrees, minutes, seconds for both latitude and longitude, to decimal degrees. The information about HPPs is taken from the National Agency of Natural Resources’ public register. Considering that the information contained in the register is not complete and up to date, the data relies also in alternative sources such as the Energy Regulatory Entity and government decision. In some cases, for certain HPPs it was difficult to collect specific data like the location coordinates, HPPs name etc. For this

    reason the actual number of HPPs is higher comparing to those identified and mapped in this study. The basin division and visualization is done according to the Council of Ministers Decision No 342, date 04.05.2016 on the “Approval of basin’s territorial and hydrographic borders in the Republic of Albania and the center with council members for each of it”. This division doesn’t refer to the topography or hydrology dynamics, but is done just for management purpose. Considering the importance of this project, for the management of natural resources and decision makers, we have decided to use this division.

    In order to import data from excel spreadsheets into ArcMap, we had to convert the excel file into the .CSV format. In the source CSV file, many of the fields that contain non- numeric information do not display properly. In this case, the excel data is properly formatted

    Figure 1: The flowchart of the methodology.

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    before the conversion to the CSV format and importation to ArcMap.

    The shapefiles used in this project are: the orthophoto of 2007/2008 (20/35 cm of resolution), Albanian protected areas network, hydrology and river basins, the administrative unit and country border. Data source is ASIG Geoportal, HydroSHEDS database and Environmental European Agency. The flowchart of the methodology followed in this project is shown in Figure 1. The datasets are projected on the same coordinate projection and system (WGS 1984, UTM 34 coordinate system). In this project Excel 2007/201

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