The study1 estimates that of the world’s 246 very long rivers (longer than 1,000 kilometres) only 37% remain free-flowing over their entire length.
Today there are roughly 60,000 large dams worldwide, and, worryingly, more than 3,700 hydropower dams are currently planned or under construction. In Europe alone, 25,000 hydropower plants already heavily impact and fragment a large number of river ecosystems.
The report’s findings “should serve as a big wake-up call to EU Member States: It’s time to stop delaying and take urgent action to bring our rivers back to life!”2, said Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources at WWF’s European Policy Office. “As WWF, we urge Member States to commit to their legal obligations under EU water legislation, rather than yielding to pressures from unsustainable industry, like hydropower.”
Such warnings are not new: back in July 2018, the EEA State of Water report3 already informed about the hydromorphological pressures on European surface waters, reporting that only 40% of them have reached good ecological status as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). “