Landsvirkjun CEO: Impacts of Dam on Lagarfljót Known Skip to content

Landsvirkjun CEO: Impacts of Dam on Lagarfljót Known

The impacts the highland dam and power plant at Kárahnjúkar would have on the biosphere of the East Iceland lake Lagarfljót were clear before operations began, stated CEO of national power company Landsvirkjun Hörður Arnarson.

karahnjukar_psThe construction of Kárahnjúkar. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

The district council Fljótsdalshérað will call Hörður to a meeting to discuss the condition of Lagarfljót and possible counter measures, reports.

“It is unavoidable that all our operations have significant impacts on nature, Hörður added. “It was known that it would have a negative impact on the living conditions in Lagarfljót but a positive impact on Jökulsá á Dal. One could say the conditions there were better than what we expected but similar as what we expected in Lagarfljót.”

Part of the glacial river Jökulsá á Dal, which is also known as Jökla, turns into a clear stream while Hálslón, the reservoir of Kárahnjúkar power plant, is filling up and can be used as a salmon fishing river, as stated on

When the decision to construct the dam was made, the sacrifice of Lagarfljót was considered justifiable, Hörður maintained.

Former Minister for the Environment Siv Friðleifsdóttir, who in 2001 revoked the Icelandic National Planning Agency’s decision that the dam should not be constructed, told RÚV that she had not been under pressure from other politicians and that her work methods had been professional.

Siv stated it had been clear that Lagarfljót would be affected but actions had been taken so that the environmental impact wouldn’t be as severe as the National Planning Agency had anticipated.

Specialists who attended a meeting with the Alþingi parliament’s Environment and Communications Committee yesterday stated that the changes to Lagarfljót are irreversible and that counter measures won’t change much.

“The living conditions in Lagarfljót won’t change. That is clear. But it is possible to compensate financial damage and build up [fish] stocks elsewhere,” Hörður concluded.


13.03.2013 | Highland Dam Impacts Life in East Iceland Lake


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