Khudoni Dam, Georgia

Public costs and private gains in hydro construction in Georgia. Local inhabitants oppose the project, propose small scale alternatives and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure


The Khudoni dam is a a projected power plant on Inguri River, in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in Georgia. This territory, inhabited by the ethnographic group of Svans, has been UNESCO World Heritage Site area since 1996 due to the exceptional mountain scenery with medieval-type villages and tower-houses preserves by its long isolation.

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Basic Data
NameKhudoni Dam, Georgia
ProvinceSamegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe hydropower plant has 3 turbines with a nominal capacity of 233.3 MW each[1] having a total capacity of 700 MW. The power plant is associated with a planned 200.5-metre (658 ft) tall concrete double-arch-gravity dam.
Project Area (in hectares)1,500
Level of Investment (in USD)1,200,000,000 [3]
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population2,000 (belonging to 14 villages)
Start Date1979
Company Names or State EnterprisesTrans Electrica Limited from Virgin Islands (U.S.)
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Energy
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (ESCAMP ,WB) from United States of America
UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from France
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGeorgian Dream coalition's pre-election programme

Association of Human Rights Defenders

other non-governmental organisations of Georgia

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Traditional oath at a church to resist the project at any cost
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesBankwatch published a report where its researchers suggest some measures to be taken to tackle with energy demand and avoid big infrastructures like Khudoni:

-Rehabilitation of existing hydro capacities in Georgia; Currently only a third of Georgia’s existing HPPs are in use. While the rehabilitation of medium and large-HPPs is ongoing, only a small number of small, state-owned HPPs have been rehabilitated in the last few years.

-Construction of new small hydros and wind farms; “The analysis of more than 300 rivers of Georgia shows that it would be possible to construct 1 200 derivation type small hydropower plants, of which 700 could be built in western Georgia. The total installed capacity of these plants would equal 3 000 MW. Wind power also represents one of the significant potentials for the development of renewable energy in Georgia, with an estimated average annual outcome of 4,5 TWh technical potential, or almost half of Georgia’s current consumption."

Local population demand the scrap of the project [9]
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Still under negotiations
Sources and Materials

Bankwatch report 2007 - The Khudoni Dam, a necessary solution to Georgian energy crisis?
[click to view]

The Great Rush - The European Union's responsibility in natural resources grabbing. Report prepared and published by the organisations Mani Tese, Les Amis de la Terre, CEE Bankwatch Network, Re:Common, Ce.VI and Cicma.
[click to view]

Khudoni and Georgia’s Energy Policy Dilemma: Go Green or Go Greedy

Irakli Galdava, Eric Livny and Norberto Pignatti
[click to view]


[2] Bankwatch - Khudoni hydropower plant
[click to view]

[8] Bankwatch - Georgian government and investors reject Ombudsman's offer to mediate in controversy over Khudoni mega dam
[click to view]

[1] Tabula, THE KHUDONI HYDRO POWER PLANT, by Elene Kvanchilashvili
[click to view]

[3] L'Espresso, Georgia, l'ex milanista Kaladze e le dighe della discordia, by Luca Manes (Re:common)
[click to view]

[4] Bankwatch - Hydropower in Georgia
[click to view]

[5] Bankwatch - Map: Planned hydropower plants in Upper Svaneti, Georgia
[click to view]

[6] Green Alternative - Khudoni dam
[click to view]

[7] Trend News Agency - Protests against Khudoni power plant construction in Georgia’s capital, 19 September 2013
[click to view]

[9] Declaration of local community in Kaishi to cancel contract for Georgian Khudoni dam
[click to view]

Other Documents

Tent during 2013 protest Source: Bankwatch
[click to view]

Protesters in Kaishi, 2013 Source: Bankwatch
[click to view]

Site of Khudoni dam wall The site of the Khudoni dam wall construction in April 2017
[click to view]

Map of Khudoni - Nenskra complex Credit: Salini-Impregilo
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDaniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB
Last update25/03/2018