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Public participation, Human Security and Public Safety around Dams in Sweden: a case study of the regulated Ume and Lule Rivers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research. (Technoscience)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2820-0584
Royal Institute of Technology.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents findings from an empirical study of the current situation in regard to Public Safety around dams in Sweden. The geographical focus is on the Ume and Lule Rivers.

Currently the focus within “dam safety” is on the prevention of dam failure, and to a certain extent also on emergency preparedness in case of dam failure. Although this is an important work, we argue that the issue of “public safety around dams” is left outside of the dam safety work to the detriment of “human security” (UNDP, 1994). While a major dam failure may cause the death of hundreds up to thousands of people, the current rate of human deaths caused by dam failure the last 40 years is one person, while the number of fatalities that may be referred to as “public safety around dams” on the Lule River only amounts to 1-2 persons per year.

From a study of literature, available statistics as well as lack of statistics, interviews and newspaper reports, the paper analyses the number of fatal accidents over the last decade (2003-13), how these accidents may be defined as “public safety around dams” related, what the work to prevent such accidents looks like and how the surrounding societal contexts plays in, such as communication systems and the availability to fast and efficient emergency rescue services to save lives when accidents occur.

Finally we discuss the lack of public participation in current dam safety practices and make recommendations to enhance public participation and thereby possibilities to an enhanced public safety around dams as dam safety work.

The research was funded by the research projects DAMMED: Security, Risk and Resilience around the Dams in Sub Arctica (Swedish Research Council, 2010-12) and Rivers, resistance, resilience: sustainable futures in Sápmi and other indigenous peoples’ territories (FORMAS, 2013-16)


Keywords: Dam Safety, Public participation, Public Safety around Dams, Human Security

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bali, Indonesia: ICOLD , 2014.
Keyword [en]
Dam Safety, Public participation, Public Safety around Dams, Human Security
National Category
Engineering and Technology Social Sciences Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-234886OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-234886DiVA: diva2:758229
International Commission of Large Dams, ICOLD, international symposium, Bali, Indonesia, June 2-6, 2014
Rivers, Resistance, Resilience: Sustainable Futures in Sápmi and in other Indigenous Peoples TerritoriesDammed: Security, Risk and Resilience around the dams of Sub-Arctica
Formas, 2012-1845Swedish Research Council, 421-2009-1736
Available from: 2014-10-24 Created: 2014-10-24 Last updated: 2014-10-24

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