The new Dam Law of 2017 (the “Law”) is only pertaining to the duties and rights of the authorities, maintenance and protection of dams, compliance before construction of dams, preventive measures for overflow of water, and payment of compensation to land losers. It does not clarify on the factors which would affect the hydropower projects due to creation of a dam like minimum flow of water to be maintained, location for constructing dams, intervals for opening and closing of lock gates of the dam, or does not prescribe minimum distance to be maintained from the dam while erecting any structure or power plant.
Under the Law, “Dam” is defined as any construction to stop, adjust, and maintain water flow; passage through which it flows, any construction to mark water level; and construction to prevent sea water to enter into fresh water. Before constructing the dam, it is mandatory for the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (the “Ministry”) to notify the public about the location for construction of the dam. The Chief Administrator will demarcate the land and compensation will be announced against any potential damage or land. The activities undertaken to prevent overflow of the dam is necessary to be planned before construction of the dam.
The Law provides for procedures to construct the dam, and how to prevent emergency or disaster due to the dam.
The Conservation of Water Resources and Rivers Law provides that it is the duty of the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (“Directorate”) to carry on works related to hydro-technology. It implies that directorate oversights the construction of the hydropower projects and approval is required from the Directorate for construction of a hydropower project. Also, it prohibits from disposing of engine oil, chemical, poisonous material and other materials which may cause environmental damage. Hence, hydropower projects needs to have a plan to diminish the release of polluted water or harmful effluents.