Updated 2011: At last Langisjór lake has been included in the Vatnajökull National Park and is protected from destruction by Landvirkjun. Read the whole story here.

August 2008: Langisjór is one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes, at the western edge of Vatnajökull. Landsvirkjun’s intention is to channel river Skaftá into river Tungnaá through lake Langisjór, which would effectively become a reservervoir. The Skaftá dam (Skaftáveita) would add another 7 km2 to the lake-reservoir. The purpose of this is to increase energy capacity of the planned dams in rivers Þjórsá and Tungnaá. Effectively, the damming would lead to a sediment buildup and increased turbidity, which would destroy the lake ecosystem. Originally the energy would be used for the RT-Alcan expansion in Straumsvik that has been thwarted by a local referendum.

Iceland’s right wing government (from 1995-2009 ) excluded Langisjór and its surroundings from a protection scheme (Vatnajökull National Park) on the basis that it needed to be exploited for hydropower. Now the government has made a declaration on the protection of Langisjór, which however has not been included in the Vatnajökull National Park. If the planned dams in rivers Þjórsá and Tungnaá will be built according to Landsvirkjun’s plans, Langisjór could come under threat again as soon as Landsvirkjun finds a new client to sell the extra energy too.

Haukur Snorrason

Haukur Snorrason2

rut hallgrimsdottir

anna fjola gisladottir


Threatened Areas

Click map to enlarge

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