With the rapid growth in the world’s population and unprecedented socio-economic growth has been changing our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes, resulting in an extensive range of environmental issues including environmental pollution, water scarcity, food security, loss of biodiversity, etc. To respond to these global-scale problems, there is a need for an innovative solution to protect and enhance the natural environment. The future is likely to see more technological development, population growth, and a greater need for enough food for our growing population, housing, and amenities to cater to our growing needs. These are likely to see more areas needing management to avoid pollution or ecological damage; we will see new potential contaminants as well as a need to change conditions in some areas to cope with the changing climate. There will be an even greater need for environmental engineers to help us deal with the potential problems that this future will bring. Countries around the world including Bhutan, are showing a strong interest in protecting the environment which places new responsibilities on the engineers.

A seminar on environmental engineering was held on 14/11/2020, where second-year civil engineering students were targeted as the main audience. The seminar focused on the global environmental issue and the role of engineers to design different methods to handle large volumes of pollutants with the principles of optimization, socio-economic effects, and rapid treatment to convert any objectionable materials to less objectionable material. Also, familiarization with research/job opportunities, intrinsic skills, and expertise required by engineers who will play a critical role in achieving sustainable development with good coordination with other technocrats/engineers to make rapid advancement in cleaning up the environment with eco-friendly techniques. The need for advanced and continuing education and special training for engineers to cater to the emerging world problem is rather important and timely.


Resourced by: Yeshi Choden, Associate Lecturer, CEAD

Speaker: Leki Dorji, Lecturer in Civil Engineering Department

A study on environmental flows is a recent endeavor to ensure the sustainability of the aquatic ecosystem while meeting the increasing demands of off-stream water uses. The Brisbane Declaration defined the environmental flows as the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihood and well-being that depend on these ecosystems.

Numerous studies on environmental flow assessment and frameworks have been developed in an effort to understand ecological impacts and to protect aquatic diversity in the face of rapid exploitation of freshwater ecosystems.

In Bhutan, while hydropower is becoming the primary economic driver of the country, the freshwater ecosystems supported by the network of fast-flowing rivers are dammed for hydropower generation. As per the power systems master plan 2003-2022, 76 projects were identified including 70 run-of-the-river and 6 reservoir schemes with a capacity of 23,760 MW.

The unchecked damming of the river systems poses serious implications for our effort to promote a holistic approach to development with environmental conservation. The freshwater ecosystems would be seriously impacted without proper regulations to safeguard these critical freshwater biodiversities.


This study would basically to set up minimum environmental flow requirements for every watercourse to ensure the conservation of the aquatic ecosystem in a dewatered stretched of hydropower Project.