How will Susitna-Watana Hydro impact water quality downstream?

The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) is very early in the six-year licensing process for Susitna-Watana Hydro. Most of 2012 has been spent developing a Proposed Study Plan to thoroughly understand the potential project impacts on water resources like water quality.

Studies from the 1980s have provided a wealth of information about the aquatic characteristics of the Susitna River system. As part of the Proposed Study Plan, the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) aims to conduct a number of additional studies in order to determine how the Susitna-Watana Hydro Project will impact all 184 River Miles downstream of the project.

The AEA environmental team is undertaking extensive water quality studies and modeling. Additional work includes determining how the project will potentially impact groundwater, ice processes, the formation of the river itself and flows.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will only license the project if AEA demonstrates, using the latest scientific means, that Susitna-Watana Hydro appropriately balances environmental impacts with the benefits of energy production.