February 17, 2012
Manana Kochladze, founder of Georgia’s largest environmental NGO, Green Alternative, won the Goldman Prize in 2004 for her precedent setting campaign against the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. Today she celebrates a victory as Turkish investors pull out of the massive Namakhvan Cascade dam project. The project seeks to build three separate hydroelectric stations along the Rioni River in western Georgia.
The area where the dams are to be built is seismically unsound, putting the project (and nearby communities) at risk of damage caused by earthquakes and landslides. Kochladze has determined that 14 villages will be destroyed, displacing over 800 people. Hundreds of acres of active agricultural land and forests will be flooded, as well as 30 architecturally and/or archeologically significant sites. Green Alternative has also claimed that Georgian’s would not benefit from the power generated by the project, as it would be imported to Turkey.
Thanks to these findings, made public by Kochladze and Green Alternative, the Turkish investors pulled out of the agreement after realizing that compensation, relocation, and additional safety costs would be too high. Kochladze will continue to demonstrate the negative effects of the project as the Georgian government looks for new investors.