© since 1995, Sigrid Hehl, Eckart Lange, IRL-Institut, ETHZürich


Environmental Impact Assessment Brusio

The existing hydroelectric power station in the south-east ofSwitzerland in the canton of Grisons at the Bernina-Pass (2307m abovesealevel) is planned to be replaced by much larger dams. I.e.according to the proposal the existing two dams which are about 10min height will be replaced by dams which are about 35 to 40m inheight. For the visual quality of the landscape at the Bernina-Passthe key problem is the optimization in location and design of theproposed new dams. The question is which role visual simulation canplay in the process of finding a good solution and how visualsimulation can help communicate the contents of the proposal. Goingbeyond a purely descriptive approach the visualizations are meant tobe used as an aid for the 'experts' to evaluate the visual impact ofthe proposal. Furthermore the visualizations are prepared to be shownto the public after the report is being finished but before the finaldecision is made, thereby taking into account the opinion of thepublic. A general objective of the EIA is to find out whether theproposal meets the criteria expressed in the various laws ofenvironmental protection, with the EIA report being the basis for thedecision of the relevant authorities. Contrasting with many otherEIA's in Switzerland, the visualization of the proposed dams isplaying a significant role in the impact assessment process. Onereason for this is the opposition at least of parts of the concernedpublic to such a gigantic project. In the case of the EIA Brusio thepower company proposed a much larger project a few years ago whichhad to be stopped because of public opposition. A second reason isthe importance of tourism in the area. Each year many thousands ofvisitors are attracted by the scenery. In August, the most frequentedmonth, roughly 220 000 visitors come by car and 71 800 by train.Therefore the scenery is a very important source of income.

Visibility Analysis

Northern dam(77kb) Southern dam(77kb)

light blue = visibility of existing dam

gray = visibility of proposed dam

dark blue = visibility of existing and proposed dam

Static visual simulations:

View from Piz Lagalb

Existing.............Proposal (24kb)

View towards the north dam

Existing.............Proposal (30kb)

View towards the south dam

Existing.............Proposal 27kb)

Dynamic visual simulations:

In Cooperation with RodneyHoinkes

View from Piz Lagalb

Existing.............Proposal (27kb)

View towards the north dam

Existing.............Proposal (15kb)


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