Local government in Galicia have begun on the long-term strategy to remove obsolete dams and open up rivers. They also are making it harder than ever to restore current dams or build new ones. The officials and much of the communities in Galicia recognize that this initiative will benefit both the society and environment.
In Galicia, there are three important rivers that together have over an estimated 3.000 dams, el Miño, el Sil, and el Eo. When the dams were first constructed, they were built with a ‘concession time’ or a certain time period after which they must be reevaluated to measure their output and efficiency. Now, some of the dams have reached their expiration date and the local government and local confederation, La Xunta and the Hydrographic Confederation of Mino-Sil, have adopted a strategy to remove many of these dams. Their decision is based upon the reasoning that dam removal is essential for not only environmental benefit but also economic benefit.
However, the removal process is not so simple and may take up to a couple of years. This long timeline requires long-term strategizing and an insurmountable amount of paperwork. Each of the dam removal projects also requires an environmental impact assessment, an assessment of public contentions, and is very costly. However, the government in Galicia is certain about the benefits of removing dams from the region and aim to remove all or as many of them as possible. Moreover, if there is opposition to the removal of any of the expired or obsolete dams, they plan to heavily-tax the renewed dams to make the renewal process difficult and expensive.
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