From: Exit Staff
Majority of Albania’s Dams Require Urgent Maintenance, at Risk from Seismic Activity

The majority of Albania’s hydropower dams, on which it relies for almost all of its energy, are not working correctly and require urgent attention, according to a recent assessment.

Of the 626 dams assessed in the study, 410, equivalent to 65%, had significant technical issues and required immediate intervention, warning that matters would only worsen.

“Water drainage has also deteriorated due to the flooding of drainage canals and the reduction of the drainage capacity of hydrovores. The situation is expected to worsen further due to climate change, which has been reflected in extreme weather phenomena,” the document states.

Some 362 of the dams are higher than 15m and have populated areas downstream. Asides from technical problems, a number are at risk of damage due to seismic activity from maintenance and geological perspective.

“They are relatively old, especially those under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development or the local government, which make up about 90% of the dams and are therefore more vulnerable to seismic activity. Also, the construction of new dams [replacement] is required, some of which in areas exposed to seismic risk from a geological point of view,” the document states.

It also found there were several illegal and unauthorised constructions making up the infrastructure of HPP sites.

“Urbanization and human intervention, on the one hand, natural degradation, on the other hand, have made many of the protection infrastructures out of order or semi-functional, in an environment where the frequency, severity and geographical distribution of floods are increasing,” the strategy underlines.

In general, it is requested that a reassessment of the condition of dams over 20 years old be made and emergency intervention be made in those cases when the situation appears more problematic.