HydroSHEDS data have been used to assess configuration scenarios for future hydropower development at global, national (e.g., Zambia, Nepal) or basin-level (e.g., Marañón river) scales. This ‘system-scale planning’ (SSP) approach provides a large-scale perspective which considers the complex interactions and cumulative effects of different dam combinations rather than determining the impacts of each dam project individually. This type of holistic assessment takes the regional and downstream effects of the entire hydropower scenario into account and allows for strategic planning by comparing various national or international development options. It is particularly useful during the early phases of hydropower portfolio design and can facilitate the dialog between stakeholders and policymakers as a decision support tool.
Read The Nature Conservancy's global Power of Rivers report.