A study on the cooperation of water-energy trade in transboundary river of South and North Korea
Water has been an invaluable economic resource that has been closely linked to human right to life since its inception. So there has always been a battle to preoccupy the value of water at the heart of conflicts between nations. In recent years, disputes between shared rivers and countries around the international rivers have increased and disputes have become more serious.
The problem of shared rivers according to geographical characteristics has not been solved for a long time in both Koreas. One of the problems in North Korea is the severe lack of electricity. The power shortage in North Korea is very serious. To overcome this problem, North Korea built a Hwanggang Dam in Tohsan-gun, North Hwanghae province in 2008. Moreover In order to increase hydropower generation using high water head, North Korea changed the waters of Imjin River, which had originally flowed to the South, to Yesung River. On the other hand, problems in South Korea are reduced flow and deteriorated water and ecosystem. North Korea decided to change diversion scheme from Imjin River to Yesung River. As a result, flow rate of Hwanggang Dam was not supplied to the South Korea side. There are so many problems such as shortage of flow rate, destruction of river ecosystem etc.
Under these circumstances, there are three reasons why we need cooperation in a shared river between the two Koreas. First, it can be a solution to reduce the military tension mode. Second, two Koreas can achieve water security and economic community together through cooperation. Lastly, river maintenance flow for conservation of natural ecosystem should flow.
As a solution about this problem, I proposed 'Water-Energy Trade Cooperation Project' in Hwanggang Dam in North Korea as a cooperation model. One of the most notable points is that South Korea will invest to construct floating photovoltaic power plant on the reservoirs of Hwanggang Dam and it will supply electricity to North Korea. Instead, South Korea will be able to receive the flow to the Imjin River basin corresponding to the electricity generated by the floating photovoltaic power plant.
Water-Energy Trade Cooperation Project’s key to researching operational management methods in shared rivers between two Korea is to conduct institutional and economic analysis on cooperative projects that are intermediaries. First is the institutional point of view about Joint Water Management Committee’s Structure. Two Korean should first formulate laws and guidelines related to the water resources. Moreover it is desirable to operate sustainable water resources management through the Joint Management Committee which is a permanent organization, on the river basin scale. Second is the institutional point of view about Hwanggang Dam Photovoltaic Cooperation Project Agreement. This study established the Joint Management Division of Inter-Korean Water Resources under the Joint Management Committee of the Inter-Korean of the New Government's Top 100 National Agenda, and set up the Hwanggang Dam Water Status Cooperation Project (tentative name) as a medium of Water-Energy Trade cooperation. Third is the economic point of view about Water-Energy Trade Cooperation. In order to maintain the sustainability of inter-Korean water cooperation projects, the economic feasibility of the Hwanggang Dam Photovoltaic Cooperation Project should also be considered. And economic analysis results of this study has good economy feasibility as follows. Capacity : 40 MW, Annual Energy Production : 50,818 MWh (14.50% utilization rate), Economic Analysis : B/C 0.91, IRR(%) : 3.15 etc. It is also important to consider the economic value of water in terms of economy. The economic value of the water flowing back to the south of the Imjin River by the Water-Energy Trade shows the quantitative value of measurable water as well as the effect of water quality improvement and ecosystem protection. Furthermore, this water cooperation will strengthen the trust between the two Koreas and lead to the détente of the DMZ. We have to know that the social value of this water is very large.
Finally, we must bear in mind that when East Germany-West Germany before the unification had a conflict in the river shared by the Elbe River, the problem was resolved in the center of West Germany. This means that South Korea is a downstream shared river country and should be considered to be a better developed country than North Korea. West Germany continued to provide economic incentives to the East Germany, bringing East Germany into the field of dialogue, and the long-established trust was the key to solving the problem. Even if the cooperation project for Hwanggang Dam has not economic feasibility(B/C), we have to provide technical and economic incentives to North Korea preemptively, which will lead to dialogue for river management and economic community formation. I want to emphasize that it is more important than economic value.
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