Annual Report

The 2016 Hydropower Status Report: an insight into recent hydropower development and sector trends around the world

 DURING 2015

  • An estimated 33.7 GW of hydropower capacity was put into operation, including pumped storage, bringing the world’s total installed capacity to 1,212 GW
  • 2.5 GW of pumped storage capacity came online, with significant capacity under construction or in the planning stages • Total hydropower generation for the year is estimated at 3,975 TWh
  • China once again dominated the market for new development, adding 19.4 GW of new capacity within its borders
  • Other countries leading in new deployments include Brazil (2.5 GW), Turkey (2.2 GW), India (1.9 GW), Iran (1 GW) and Vietnam (1 GW).

Dams and Environment

One of the fundamental requirements for socio-economic development throughout the world is the availability of adequate quantities of water with the appropriate quality and an adequate supply of energy. Hydropower is a renewable source of energy and supplies about 20% of the world’s needs. Properly planned, designed and constructed and maintained dams contribute significantly toward fulfilling our water supply and energy requirements. To accommodate the variations in the hydrologic cycle, dams and reservoirs are needed to store water and then provide a consistent discharge to maintain the required daily flow in our rivers throughout the year.


Rivers are a vital link in the hydrological cycle of water systems. They carry water from the river basin downstream to the ocean and support fish and wildlife habitat. Our societies and ecosystems depend on these functions of a river. Dams and reservoirs which are properly located in the river basin do not alter the natural geometry of the river and their discharges provide the necessary flow to enhance water quality, maintain daily quantities of flow for regional and local use as well as support the natural habitat.

Today, multipurpose dams are being planned, constructed and operated with a balance between the economic and environmental benefits. This process includes stakeholder involvement. The social and environmental impacts of the dams are being addressed and mitigated. Conservation of the natural habitat is part of the design of a dam project.

Wise management of the water in our rivers and streams has become an essential element to nation building. Dams and reservoirs to enable us to apply integrated water management so that we do not have dry streams for most of the year. The goals of regional integrated water management in the watershed are:


  • Improved management of the water supply
  • Improved water quality in our rivers
  • Improved environmental conditions in the watershed