On his land in the Svaneti mountains, Zaza Vibliani shows off his family’s watermill, set inside a tiny hut underneath a stand of pear trees, driven by the steady flow of a mountain stream. It grinds corn that Vibliani has grown on his farm here on the southern slopes of the Caucasus range. Like most families in the Nenskra valley, the Viblianis are largely self-sufficient in food, growing nearly everything they eat beneath these forested mountainsides.
But this way of life could soon change: The area is at the center of a bitter dispute between locals and the Georgian government over one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country’s independent history, the Nenskra dam and hydropower plant.
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Tom Allan is a UK-based freelance writer and journalist.