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conventional) fracking has reasserted the grip of petroleum giants and lowered gas
costs to such an extent that, in just a few years, nascent initiatives to transition to
renewables have been undone or set back.
The water and food dimensions of renewable energy futures will require
improved technology, management and policy in order to diminish the energy
intensity and dependence of the water and agricultural sectors. Localized forms of
production, low-impact agricultural practices, surface- and gravity-irrigation
including through rainwater harvesting, all offer important potentials.
3.2 The Large Dams Debate: Irrigation, Hydropower
and Environment
Large dams constitute one of the largest, and most contested, movements of
twentieth century water management (World Commission on Dams 2000 ). Some
issues date to antiquity, physical and cultural traces of which still survive at the
Marib Dam originally built in eighth century BCE, and failed for the last time in
sixth century CE. The Qur
an (34:15
16) refers to the failure of this dam as a
for those to see what happens to the arrogant, sinful and unfaithful.
Debates in the mid-twentieth century were different, though they sometimes
involved hubris. On the one hand, were those who felt dams should serve a single
primary purpose, such as
flood control storage, to avoid trade-offs among com-
peting aims that could jeopardize public safety (White 1957 ). There were advocates
for numerous small structures and watershed management versus advocates for a
smaller number of massive dams and levees in a river channel engineering
framework (Leopold and Maddock 1954 ).
A major shift in the mid- twentieth century saw the move from single objective-
single means to multiple objective-multiple means water management (White
1957 ). Multipurpose storage was deemed a major component of integrated river
basin development. After a massive wave of both patterns of development, their
environmental and social impacts, and consequent overestimating of net economic
ts became increasingly evident ( www.IRC.nl website 2013). Opposition to
large dams grew internationally, albeit with passionate resistance from countries
like Brazil, India and China. To address these controversies a World Commission
on Dams was established that commissioned scores of reports and yielded a
summary report that established best practices for future dams. Although on one
level it was a remarkable achievement in international negotiation, it was criticized
by dam building countries and organizations for its constraints on implementation.
Ten years later, a major set of essays re
ected upon the legacy of the WCD
report (Water Alternatives 2011). The World Bank and other multilateral lenders
moved away from multipurpose storage projects. Some nations proceeded on their
own. China completed the Three Gorges Dam, India, the Narmada Dam and irri-
gation scheme, Turkey, the GAP project, and so on. However, as regional energy
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