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Research project

SHAASAN – Sustainable Hydropower for Africa, Asia and South America Network

  • Research groups:
  • Lead researcher:
  • Research funder:
    The Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Status:
    Not active

Project overview

Fresh waters are the most threatened ecosystems on earth. African, Asian, and South American Rivers, e.g. the Congo, Mekong and Amazon, have immense abundance and diversity of fish on which millions of low-income people depend for food and their livelihoods. Hydropower generates renewable energy and enhances human quality of life; but fish are impacted by dams because: (1) they are killed by huge and abrupt pressure changes when they move through turbines; (2) their movement to critical habitat are blocked; and (3) the creation of reservoirs leads to the loss of habitats and changes in the natural flow regime. Resulting declines in fish stocks severely impact the welfare of the low-income fishing communities.
There is immense regional variation in research capability and resources needed to improve the sustainability of hydropower. Historic efforts to mitigate the impact of hydropower focused on wealthier northern temperate countries, but these are not always transferable to developing nations. SHAASAN will grow representation from Africa, Asia and South America and act as the vehicle to transfer knowledge from developing nations and develop research capability needed to enhance the sustainability of hydropower.

Aims and objectives:
The SHAASAN aims to improve the sustainability of hydropower by protecting the fisheries on which low-income fishing communities in developing nations depend for food security. This will advance environmental impact mitigation technology and develop more sustainable operations and planning practices. We will disseminate outputs and build research capability to benefit other DAC nations, principally the Least Developed and Lower Middle Income Countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.

Join us:
We have obtained funding from the UK Global Challenge Research Fund to initiate a self-sustaining network. This will provide resources needed to establish an on-line presence in 2021 and fund two workshops, one in South America and a second in Asia, in 2022. Working as a team, we are looking for network participants representing a range of stakeholder to join our network and search for funding opportunities within their regions to enable the network to grow. Funding will be sought to host a third workshop in Africa in 2023 to extend representation to other Asian and African nations. If you are interested in joining the network and sponsoring future activities, please contact us.


Lead researcher

Professor Paul Kemp

Professor of Ecological Engineering
Connect with Paul

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs