Volume 23, Issue 1 (2019)                   MJSP 2019, 23(1): 25-51 | Back to browse issues page

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NADERI L, karamidehkordi E. Impact of the BeheshtAbad Dam Construction on the households' Livelihood Strategies of Local Communities. MJSP 2019; 23 (1) :25-51
URL: http://hsmsp.modares.ac.ir/article-21-20639-en.html
1- student
2- professor , e.karamidehkordi@gmail.com
Abstract:   (8490 Views)
 
Abstract
Many nations with an increasing population face a serious shortage of water and the supply and distribution of water is not proportional to their demand. The construction of dams is one of the main mechanisms undertaken by policy makers for managing the challenge of water scarcity in recent decades, but this strategy can lead to negative social, economic and environmental consequences. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the views of local households regarding the possible consequences of the construction of the Beheshtabad dam on their agricultural and non-agricultural livelihood strategies. This survey was carried out in the origin basin and the area of the dam establishement, the Beheshtakad Watershed located in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province of Iran. A sample of 200 out of 3514 households was selected using a multi stage sampling technique and the data were collected through structured interviews utilizing a questionnaire. From the perspective of the households in local communities, the construction of the Beheshtabad dam would lead to destroying their agricultural and non-agricultural physical assets and increasing their livelihoods' vulnerability, which can cause increased migration, local culture change, turning households into illicit jobs, and the collapse of households due to displacement or forced rural-urban migration. Their view was significantly influenced by households' having agriculture and service occupation, their land area, their number of small or large animals, and household heads' age and education. This research showed that from the view of local rural and urban communities, if the dam is constructed, their physical assets would be damaged and their jobs would be destroyed, though a few new jobs related to industry and service may be created. This implies that policy makers and planning programmers need to reconsider the necessity, possibility and consequences of establishing this dam, before any decision on it.
Keywords: Dam construction, livelihood strategy, local community, water crisis 
 
Introduction
Impact of the BeheshtAbad Dam Construction on the households' Livelihood Strategies of Local Communities
Water as a main natural resource is an essential element of life that have an important role in the vital processes and sustainability of all living organisms, including the sustainable development of human societies. Many nations with an increasing population face a serious shortage of water and the supply and distribution of water is not proportional to their demand. The major causes of global water scarcity in the world, according to Conor (1999), are population growth, economic growth, per capita energy consumption, technical development, land use change, increased environmental degradation, inappropriate government plans, and climate change. The world's population growth and raising the standard of living has led to increased demand and water consumption, while there has been decreased fresh water resources in the world. Water crisis or threat is much more important in nations located in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, including Iran. The construction of dams and inter-basin water transfer have been one of the main mechanisms undertaken by policy makers for managing the challenge of water scarcity in recent decades, but this strategy can lead to negative social, economic and environmental consequences. The interest to establish large dams has been a method for generating more hydroelectric power, water supply and reducing global climate change. One of the most important issues at the time of implementing these projects and after the construction of these dams is the displacement of the settlements located behind the dam reservoir, which lead to forced migration and can have negative consequences, such as poverty and the insecurity of local households’ livelihoods. This is in contrast with the sustainable development goals in developing countries. Livelihoods’ strategy change is considered to be serious in this condition, because most local households have been faced with poverty and unemployment so this infrastructural investment can make their livelihoods much more vulnerable. Mandatory migration can change the production system of the households. Moreover, most businesses, fertilized land and other assets can be destroyed, and the economy of local households can be vulnerable. The Beheshtabad dam is to be constructed in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province to be a reservoir dam for transferring water to three central provinces of Iran. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the views of local households regarding the possible consequences of the construction of the Beheshtabad dam on their agricultural and non-agricultural livelihood strategies.
 
Methodology
This study is a descriptive-correlational applied research based on an exploratory survey methodology. Moreover, some semi-structured interviews were conducted with some experts of the province and key persons of local communities to obtain background information about the region and topic, to improve the content validity of survey instrument. The data were collected through the structured interview technique with households living in local communities under the influence of the construction of the Beheshtabad dam using a questionnaire, established by the research team. This survey was carried out in the Beheshtakad watershed located in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province of Iran. A sample of 200 out of 3514 households was selected using a multi stage sampling technique
 
Results and discussion
The survey showed that the construction of the Beheshtabad dam to transfer water from the source to the destination would directly and indirectly affect local communities located in the source basin.  Local rural and urban households would be the first population, whose livelihoods’ strategies would be damaged. Local communities are directly affected in terms of cultural, historical, social and economic aspects of their livelihoods. The existing local households’ livelihood strategies and physical assets were evaluated to be appropriate for their livelihoods, though in some aspects they have vulnerability. However, local communities perceived that the establishment of this dam as a threat to their livelihoods. They believed that the dam construction would destroy their physical assets, particularly their arable land, rangelands, houses and infrastructures, and livelihood strategies, such as crop production and livestock keeping. The more households’ livelihoods were dependent on natural resources and agriculture, the more they would feel vulnerable to the dam consequences. This showed that the local households had negative view on the dam construction.
Conclusion
From the perspective of the households in local communities, the construction of the Beheshtabad dam would lead to destroying their agricultural and non-agricultural physical assets and increasing their livelihoods' vulnerability, which can cause increased migration, local culture change, turning households into illicit jobs, and the collapse of households due to displacement or forced rural-urban migration. Their view is significantly influenced by households' having agriculture and service occupation, their land area, their number of small or large animals, and household heads' age and education. This research shows that from the local rural and urban communities’ views, if the dam is constructed, their physical assets would be damaged and their jobs would be destroyed, though a few new jobs related to industry and service may be created. This implies that the policy makers and planning programmers need to reconsider the necessity, possibility and consequences of establishing this dam, before any decision on it. 
 


 
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Article Type: Original Research | Subject: Earth-Surface Processes
Received: 2018/05/8 | Accepted: 2019/03/12 | Published: 2019/06/15

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