Alternative and renewable energy has recently become one of the important criteria for sustainable development of the world community. There is an extreme need in searching for new sources of energy and improvement of existing technologies. The main reasons for such attention is expected depletion of fossil fuels, a sharp increase of prices, inadequate and inefficient use of technologies and impact on the environment.
The hydropower, which is one of the types of alternative energy, has long been faithfully serving humanity. The main direction of its activities is the transformation of the natural movement of water masses into electricity. It is also subdivided into natural and artificial, large and small. Electric power of the hydro plant is the cheapest among other types, but the construction process is expensive. The process of planning the hydropower construction typically requires the estimation and monitoring of the environment with the further analysis of social, economic and geologic aspects. The application of GIS can be implemented in order to facilitate the process of location and construction planning. The following paper will be discussing the advantages of GIS utilization for hydropower development focusing on the area of Nepal.
Hydropower is considered to be an important aspect of economic growth for the general development of Nepal. The country has a great base and potential for its development. Owning the 2.27% of the world water resources and about 6,000 rivers, Nepal is the second richest inland country regarding water assets. However, the numerous spheres should be studied and considered before planning of hydropower implementation, they include: ecological, economical, energy potential, environmental, social and cultural criteria. The GIS implementation gives a possibility to decompose all characteristics and can provide a clear picture of the hydropower planned area.
The wide application of GIS technologies for digital mapping, river morphology, terrain analysis, integration of socio-economic variables and modeling are crucial for the development of hydropower in Nepal.
The GIS term corresponds to a multifunctional information system designed for the collection, processing, modeling and analysis of spatial data, their display and use in solving settlement problems, preparing and making decisions. The main purpose of the GIS is to create knowledge about the Earth, individual territories, terrain, and also timely to bring necessary and sufficient spatial data to users in order to achieve the greatest efficiency of their work.
The use of GIS to solve hydropower problems (including the search for location) was carried out in a number of countries, such as the USA, Sri Lanka, Canada, Italy, Norway etc.
Searching for the location for the construction of hydropower station should be based on an analysis of a number of criteria that determine the feasibility in each of the considered points of the river. For this, it is proposed to break the investigated river into sections and evaluate each target in accordance with the chosen criteria. The implementation of such multi-criteria analysis in the GIS environment is carried out in the following sequence:
As it was mentioned before, the criteria regarding the targets should give characteristics to the environmental, socially-economic, infrastructural and other aspects. Talking about the water resources of Nepal, the following specifications are the most important: drainage database system (the information regarding the river morphology and catchment areas), terrain analysis (data regarding the slope gradient), watershed mapping (information regarding the whole landscape) and integration of socio-economic variables (the analysis of information regarding land usage).
Thus, the application of GIS-technologies allows raising the study of hydrological processes and phenomena to a new qualitative level. The development of computer facilities and information technologies make it possible to create a digital model of the object of interest on their basis in order to present heterogeneous information in a graphic form for interpretation and decision making. GIS expert at Thakur International, Nepal, would love to assist you for your your project specially application of GIS for hydropower development in Nepal. Call us at 01-4390807 ext 5 or, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org with details. Our first communication is always free, so contact us now.