Hydropower has been the main source of energy in Nigeria, until recently when thermal and fossil-fuel driven turbines and other alternatives are becoming commonplace. The concern for power generation tends to becloud environmental and natural resource degradation that accompanies execution of hydropower projects or plants. One of the principal resources concerned is the watershed of hosting rivers. These impacts reflect on fishery, navigation, domestic and agricultural water supplies. This study examined the impacts of hydropower plants on watershed of Jebba Lake on Niger River and evaluates the environmental cost of that impact on the various facets of the watershed. It also assessed the efficacy of remediation in respect of hydropower plants hosting communities. Contingent valuation method was adopted through a survey of local communities and the Jebba lake of Niger River watershed, Jebba, Nigeria. Stratified samples were drawn from fishers, farmers and dwellers of neighboring communities. Data were tabulated and percentages, mean scores, variances and standard deviations were computed. The hypotheses were tested using ANOVA, F-statistics and the t-test. Results shows that beyond the marketed cost of producing power there are myriads of environmental costs, often concealed by the difficulty of determining the non-market values of the benefits and cost associated therewith. It was concluded that the environmental impact of hydropower plants/projects is significant and calls for critical study during its environmental administration process. Thus, the total cost of producing electricity should reflect environmental components in order to serve as adequate basis for pricing units of production.
Key words: Accounting, environmental costs, hydropower, watershed.
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