Pressreleases / Text :
USA / Romania: Three times within a period of six weeks, Central Europe
has suffered environmental disasters of the greatest magnitude. All
originated in Romania. Call for demonstration !
On January 30, 2000, a cyanide spill from a Romanian
mining operation inflicted environmental damage comparable only to
the massive release of radiation that followed a fire and explosion
at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. The cyanide and
metal byproducts escaping from the Aurul gold mine in Romania found
their way into a tributary of the Tisza, the second largest river
of Hungary. The Tisza carried the toxic material into the Danube winding
its way through Vojvodina in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria into the
Black Sea. The cyanide killed all life in the Tisza and caused untold
environmental and economic damage in the lower Danube basin.
Less than six weeks later, on March 10, 2000, heavy
rain and melting snow burst a dam at the Baia Borsa lead and zinc
mine in Northern Romania, 115 miles from the Hungarian border. Some
20,000 tons of heavy metal sludge were released into a tributary of
the Viso river, which then carried it, once again, into the Tisza.
The river, once called the "Blonde Tisza"because of its beautiful
sandy color, has turned black. According to Romanian authorities,
the lead concentration of the river is twice above permissible levels,
the zinc concentration nine times. The heavy metal spill has completed
the destruction of the upper part of the Tisza, begun by the cyanide
spill. Moreover, in Romania alone, the disaster may cost some 2,400
workers their jobs.
(See our website about further Romanian environmental
problems: >http://duna.org/cyanidespill/) >
An environmental disaster knows no borders. Clouds
of dust generated by a massive volcanic outbreak in the Philippines
or in Mexico may filter out sunshine halfway around the world. That
cannot be prevented. But these two catastrophic events in Romania
did not need to happen. They occurred as the direct result of the
Romanian government's cavalier attitude about environmental issues.
Romania, as well as other countries that fail to act immediately to
forestall disasters, which could be prevented, must be compelled by
the world community to do so. The existing body of international law,
including environmental treaties must be enforced without delay and
strengthened where necessary.
We invite all organizations and individuals who care
for the preservation of our environment to show their support and
join us at a demonstration in front of the Romanian Embassy in Washington,
DC 1607 23rd Street, NW, from 11 am - 2 pm, both Saturday & Sunday,
April 1st & 2nd, 2000. [see map on our website http://duna.org/cyanidespill/]
We extend a special invitation to all Americans whose
roots are in the region directly affected by the two recent disaster
-- Romania, Transylvania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Vojvodina, Bulgaria,
Moldova, Ukraine, as well as the European Union.
If you are unable to join us in Washington, we urge
you to organize a demonstration in your hometown. We all share the
same environment, let us take a stand to save it!
For further information and details, please contact:
Washington, DC, USA
E-mail: Rimreh@earthlink.net & email@example.com
New Web Site: http://duna.org/cyanidespill/
: PRESS RELEASE: Action of Solidarios con Itoiz at the World Water
Forum, the Hague, The Netherlands.
THE NAKED TRUTH OF THE WORLD WATER FORUM
On Friday 17th March at 10:00, six members of the
group ¨Solidarios con Itoiz¨ disrupted the opening ceremony of the
World Water Forum at the Congress Centre of the Hague, in protest
against the Itoiz dam in the Basque Country.
Two members of the group approached the Presidential
Table, removed their clothes and handcuffed themselves to each other.
On their bodies were painted the following slogans: ¨STOP ITOIZ DAM¨and
¨NO TO WATER >PRIVATISATION¨. These two people were eventually removed
by conference security and police. Following the first interruption,
there were further repeated interruptions over the next 45 minutes
as two members of the group in climbing gear scaled the walls and
unfurled banners with the same messages. Situated in different parts
of the Amazon Hall, two other protesters hand-cuffed themselves to
chairs and threw leaflets into the air and shouted slogans against
the construction of big dams, like the one at Itoiz, and against the
privatisation of water.
Two more members stripped naked, while others stripped
off to reveal T-shirts showing the same slogans. At the same time,
stink bombs were thrown, creating an unbreatheable atmosphere in the
hall. After the repeated interruptions of the opening speech, the
last of the protesters were arrested and violently removed from the
hall by conference security and police.
This action is the latest in the European Tour ¨S.O.S
Itoiz¨ that the group began in September last year, in order to publicly
denounce the irrational Itoiz Dam project and the unjust sentence
of five years imprisonment for eight members of the group, for defending
the earth by stopping the construction of the dam by non-violent public
Today´s action, in common with all the actions of
their long- running campaingn, has been public and non-violent.
The motive for today´s action is to condemn the World
Water Forum in its totality.
This forum is nothing but a means to smooth the way
for privatisation of an essential resource for life, a resource that
should never belong to anybody.
Multinational corporations and government are controlling
this resource and making it a commodity and an instrument of power.
They disguise their massive financial incentives for this project
with empty rhetoric about improving conditions in developing countries,
claiming to conserve and rehabilitate ecosystems and promising flood
control through monstrous constructions.
Within the logic of privatisation and speculation,
huge hydraulic infrastructure, such as dams, basin management and
canal systems are constructed. This means nothing but the displacement
of millions of people, huge environmental destruction and a scandalous
waste of public money, in irrational and useless projects. Inevitably,
corruption accompanies these enterprises, as does heavy repression
of public resistance to them. The Itoiz Dam is just one of the many
irrational dams that are being built all over the world.
In the attempted inauguration of the World Water Forum
this morning, the Forum was presented to the world as part of a democratic
participative process for water management, when in fact the process
was designed by powerful multinationals many years ago, without taking
into account the basic needs of the people.
The aim of this forum is to publicly present water
privatisation worldwide, and to set targets for government and institutions
to achieve by 2005. This is an unacceptable imposition which ever
way you look at it. We only have to look at the long list of promoters
and sponsors, to see who is behind this: multinational corporations
such as KLM, >NESTLE, SHELL Nederland, etc and institutions such as
the World Bank, United Nations Enviromental programme (UNEP), UNESCO
The system of water control they are trying to impose
does nothing but make the rich richer and the poor poorer, removing
the possibility of self-sufficiency for communities, and continuing
the destruction of planet earth.
SOS ITOIZ STOP WATER PRIVATISATION
Press contact number: 0624400453LL EMAIL REPLIES TO
: firstname.lastname@example.org MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ITOIZ DAM AND
THE EUROPEAN TOUR:
UK and Netherlands: www.s-o-s-itoiz.org.uk
: Statement on the Report of the World Commission on Water (World
The report of the World Commission on Water (WCW)
is a restatement of tired >orthodoxies from the international water
establishment and should be >rejected by the water ministers who will
meet in The Hague on 21-22 March. >The report, written by the WCW
Chairman and World Bank Vice-President Ismail >Serageldin, is merely
old water in a new bottle.
The title of the WCW report, "A Water Secure World:
Vision for Water, Life >and the Environment", is highly misleading.
It contains no vision and hardly >mentions the environment. The WCW
process, with its confusing welter of >reports, fora, and 'visions'
has been a waste of money and a diversion from >the vital task of
creatively finding sustainable and equitable ways of >managing the
The WCW claims that its report is the result of "an
unprecedented >participatory effort". This is a sham. The process
has been controlled from >the start by a small group of aid-agency
and water multinational officials, >mainly from the Global Water Partnership,
World Water Council, World Bank >and Suez-Lyonnaise des Eaux. The
key conclusions of the WCW report that >there is a global water
shortage crisis which can only be solved with a >massive increase
in private funding for water projects in developing >countries, backed
up with guarantees from the World Bank and other aid >agencies was
predetermined. Critical viewpoints have simply been ignored >or relegated
to the obscurity of the numerous supporting documents.
The WCW assumes that all public enterprises are necessarily
incompetent and >inefficient, and all private water suppliers eager
to serve the public good. >Examples of efficient public enterprises
are ignored and privatization is >assumed to be the only way of financing
infrastructure investments. The WCW >call for water to be treated
purely as an “economic good” should be >rejected. Access to adequate
amounts of safe water and sanitation should be >a basic right.
Much of the WCW report is a restatement of general
principles already agreed >at an international water meeting in Dublin
in 1992 and since endorsed at >numerous meetings of the global water
establishment and promoted in numerous >World Bank reports and press
The WCW analysis glosses over the fact that the problem
is less one of >global shortages of either water or investments, than
one of mismanagement >and skewed political priorities. The crisis
is one of overconsumption, >waste, pollution, watershed degradation,
rampant dam building, poorly >conceived and operated infrastructure
projects, corruption and inequality.
Although the WCW gives the impression that we are
all about to go thirsty, >the extra water required to ensure a minimum
basic domestic supply to all >the world’s people in 2025 is only one
per cent of current water >withdrawals. The main pressure on freshwater
ecosystems will come from >irrigated agriculture, which currently
accounts for about 85% of all water >used in Africa, Asia and Central
America. However, irrigation, especially >that based on the huge dam
and canal schemes promoted by agencies such as >the World Bank, is
notoriously inefficient, making massive water savings >possible.
It is no surprise that one of the main recommendations
of the WCW is to call >for strengthening the role of the GWP, WWC,
World Bank Global Environment >Facility and the Consultative Group
on International Agricultural Policy >(CGIAR) in global water management.
These are the institutions which have >set up and run the WCW and
they are also those which have designed, funded >and promoted the
policies and projects that have led to the current water >situation.
This global hydro-aid complex has thrived on corrupt,
non-transparent, >unaccountable, non-participatory, unsustainable
and inequitable water >mismanagement. They have promoted water and
agriculture policies which have >left billions of people without access
to safe water and sanitation and >adequate nutrition and ever more
at risk from floods and drought. They have >built dam and irrigation
projects which have deprived countless millions of >people of their
rights over water, land, forests and other natural >resources.
The water ministers should ignore the pleas for money
and attention from the >WCW, GWP, WWC and GEF. They have little relevance
to the task of moving >toward sustainable and equitable water management
around the world. > >A truly visionary report on global water would
have concentrated on issues >such as: >* how to provide just reparations
to those deprived of their rights by past >water projects; >* how
to ensure that future project planning will be transparent and >accountable;
>* how to ensure that the potential of small-scale appropriate technologies
>is fairly assessed; >* how to best support successful, small-scale
community-based projects and >technologies, and ensure their wide
dissemination; >* how to ensure that local people will have the first
right over local water >sources and will not have their means of survival
stolen from them; and >* how to review existing systems to see which
ones can be improved and which >should be decommissioned.
And lastly a visionary report would have put the need
to ensure plentiful >water for people and ecosystems within the context
of a world facing overall >environmental degradation, catastrophic
climate change, and growing >inequalities within and between nations.
Dealing with these issues is key to >ensuring adequate water for people
Because large dams have consumed such huge amounts
of national water >resources budgets and because of the overwhelming
evidence of such projects >being unsustainable, inequitable, non-participatory,
cost-ineffective and >inefficient; and taking note of the huge underutilised
potential of local >systems and existing large projects, the World
Commission on Water should >call for a halt to the construction of
new large dams around the world and a >review of projects underway.
For an alternative vision of the water future the
ministers should read >‘Towards People-Oriented River Basin Management:
An NGO Vision’, circulated >by Dutch NGO Both Ends.
Contacts: Patrick McCully, IRN Campaigns Director,
The Hague, cell phone +31 >(0)6 22936523. >Paul Wolvekamp, Both Ends,
cell phone 06 28228094.
This statement is endorsed by:
- Sadi Baron, Dam-Affected People’s Movement (MAB),
- Nicholas Hildyard, The Cornerhouse, England
- Himanshu Thakker, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers
and People, India
- Devaki Jain, Indian Association of Women’s Studies
- Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group, India
- D. Narasimha Reddy, Centre for Resource Education,
- Minar Pimple, YUVA, India >Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh,
- Dr Abey George, Kerala, India
- Shripad Dharmadhikary, Save the Narmada Movement
- Chandra Mani Adhikari, Maya Chhetri, Narayan Paudel,
Lok Bdr. Basnet, Joy
- Krishna Goit, Suresh Thapa, Gyanendra Aryal, Bhaj
Raj Bhatta, National >Network for Resource Conservation, Nepal
- Aly Ercelawn and Muhammed Nauman, creed alliance,
- Juraj Zamkovsky, Friends of the Earth Slovakia
- Liane Greeff, Environmental Monitoring Group, South
- Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration, Switzerland
- Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South, Thailand
29.02.00 : IFFEZHEIM/ RHEIN:
Lachstreppe bald fertig
Exctracted from "Spiegel Online" 29.02.00
Aus dem Spiegel Online 29.02.00
Jahrzehntelang konnten die Lachse nicht mehr zum
Laichen in den Oberrhein. Staustufen waren für sie unüberwindliche
Hindernisse. Europas größter Fischpass soll ihnen ab April den Weg
© REUTER Photo: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/0,1518,66890,00.html
Der Fischpass - der Erste am Rhein - steht kurz vor
seiner Vollendung. Nach dreijähriger Bauzeit sollen hier bald wieder
die Lachse springen. Das 300 Meter lange Bauwerk leitet die Fische
um das Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim herum, damit sie den Höhenunterschied
von elf Metern zwischen Unter- und Oberwasser überwinden können. Zwischen
1991 und 1995 wurden in Frankreich 800.000 und in Deutschland 1,6
Millionen Lachs-Setzlinge in die Zuflüsse des Rheins gebracht. 1995
kamen die ersten Rückkehrer zum Iffezheimer Wehr. Damit sie zum Ursprungsort
gelangen konnten, wurden sie oberhalb des Wehrs wieder ausgesetzt.
Mit der neuen Aufstiegshilfe sollen die Fische es nun aber selbst
schaffen. 37 miteinander verbundene, 4,50 Meter lange und 3,30 Meter
breite Becken mit einem Verteilbassin ermöglichen über eine offene
Betonrinne einen sanften Anstieg. Die Beckensohle ist mit Natursteinen
aufgeraut, damit sich eine Wasserfauna entwickeln kann und die Fließgeschwindigkeit
gedrosselt wird. Strömungsarme Bereiche sind als Ruhezonen für die
Fische gedacht. /..../ "Das Projekt ist gut", urteilt auch der Leiter
des Aueninstituts von World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), Professor
Emil Dister. Das Geld wäre aus seiner Sicht aber besser angelegt gewesen,
wenn die parallel zum Rhein verlaufenden Wasserläufe für die Fische
durchgängig gemacht worden wären. Für viele Fische wie den am Boden
schwimmenden Stör sei die Treppe nichts. Diese, so befürchtet der
Auen-Ökologe, sei nur für die "Leistungssportler" unter den Fischen
wie zum Beispiel den Lachs geeignet. Die Kosten für das über 17 Millionen
Mark teure Projekt teilen sich die französische und die deutsche Seite:
Ein Drittel zahlt das Bundesverkehrsministerium und das Land Baden-Württemberg,
ein weiteres Drittel übernimmt Frankreich, und für den Rest kommt
das Rheinkraftwerk auf. In drei Jahren soll rheinaufwärts im elsässischen
Gambsheim ein ähnliches Bauwerk entstehen.
Complet Spiegel-Articel/ Kompletter Artikel in Spiegel
02.03.00 : Türkei/Ilisu: Bürgermeister
Ilisu zu Abbruch von Europa-Reise gezwungen.
WEED und medico international fordern Bundesregierung
auf, Hermesbürgschaft abzulehnen.
Vahap Kusen, der Bürgermeister der Stadt Hasankeyf
in Südostanatolien, die durch den umstrittenen Ilisu-Staudamm von
Überflutung bedroht ist, hat seine Vortragsreise durch Europa vorzeitig
abgebrochen. Ihm war in einem nächtlichen Telefonanruf geraten worden,
die Reise nicht fortzusetzen. Laut Aussage von Vahap Kusen stammte
der Anruf von seiner Partei, der Partei des Rechten Weges (DYP). Kusen
hätte am nächsten Morgen bei einer Pressekonferenz in Paris sprechen
und danach die Reise nach England, Italien und Deutschland fortsetzen
In Berlin waren auf Initiative der Umwelt- und Entwicklungsorganisation
WEED eine Reihe von Gesprächen mit Ministerien und Abgeordneten aller
Parteien vorgesehen, die Herr Kusen aufgrund der Bedrohung nun nicht
wird wahrnehmen können.
Die Stadt Hasankeyf liegt im Projektgebiet des geplanten Ilisu-Staudamms,
den die türkische Regierung mit Unterstützung westeuropäischer und
amerikanischer Exportkreditversicherungen bauen will. Auch der Bundesregierung
liegt ein Antrag auf Erteilung einer Hermesbürg-schaft vor. Die Spannungen
in der Region haben kürzlich zugenommen, als drei Bürgermeis-ter der
prokurdischen HADEP-Partei nach einem Deutschland-Besuch verhaftet
wurden. Britische Journalisten, die die Region besucht haben, berichten,
kontinuierlich von der Geheimpolizei überwacht worden zu sein.
Heike Drillisch von der Umwelt- und Entwicklungsorganisation WEED,
die die Reise mitorganisiert hat, vermutet: "Möglicherweise befürchtet
Herrn Kusens Partei, daß er nach seiner Rückkehr einem Nachspiel ausgesetzt
sein könnte. Die türkischen Behörden stehen Kritikern nicht sehr freundlich
gegenüber. Der Mangel an Demokratie ist daher einer der Hauptkritikpunkte
Der Bau des Ilisu-Staudamms würde zur Zwangsumsiedlung von mindestens
16.000 Kurden und Kurdinnen führen. Obwohl das Kraftwerk seit fast
zwanzig Jahren geplant wird, haben keine Konsultationen mit der betroffenen
Bevölkerung stattgefunden. Dies stellt einen deutlichen Verstoß gegen
internationale Standards dar, die die türkische Regierung versprochen
hat einzuhalten. Wie die jüngsten Verhaftungen der HADEP-Bürgermeister
zeigen, ist noch immer keine Entspannung nach dem 15jährigen Bürgerkrieg
in der Region in Sicht. "Aufgrund der andauernden Atmosphäre der Bedrohung
in Südostanatolien ist die Wahrung demokrati-scher Verfahren beim
Bau des Ilisu-Staudamms nicht zu erwarten", kommentiert WEED's Vorstandsvorsitzende
Barbara Unmüßig. "Wir fordern daher von der Bundesregierung, keine
Hermes-Bürgschaft für das Ilisu-Vorhaben zu übernehmen und sich auch
international für eine Ablehnung des Projekts einzusetzen."
Nähere Informationen: WEED, Heike Drillisch, Tel. 0228 - 766 13 16
oder 0171 - 901 28 25 > Medico international, Hans Branscheidt, Tel.
06171 - 74135 oder 0177 - 732 > 12 00-
W E E D > World Economy, Ecology & Development > Weltwirtschaft, Oekologie
& Entwicklung e.V. Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz 13 D-53111 Bonn Tel. +49-228-766130
Fax: +49-228-696470 e-mail: email@example.com > Internet: http://www.weedbonn.org
The river video & film festival
From june the 30th to july the 6th is going to take
part in Sort (Pallars Sobirà - Lleida - Spain) The Video & Film Festival
El Riu. This is a unique showcase in the world because it will gather
audiovisual productions with the river as the main protagonist in all
its panes. It won't only show sports but the fluvial culture that it
has been generating, during the years, when manhood settled beside the
riverbeds taking profit of water strength (gristmill, hidroelectrical
companies,...). But the river has also been protagonist of misfortunes
(natural disasters) in floods (overflows) and and the same time it has
been the victim of the bad use made by humanity: contaminating overflows,
progressive deterioration of the riverbeds,.. These are the main focalizations,
among others, participating in the Festival. An international event
that will put together the knowledge of all kind of "experts" on rivers.
01.03.00: Canada: Salmon River to Flow
Free in B.C By Chris Bryan VANCOUVER, British Columbia,
Canada, March 1, 2000 (ENS) -
Restoration of salmon on Canada's west coast is the objective of a deal
the province of British Columbia has made with a paper company to demolish
a large dam. A dam on the Theodosia River, north of the town of Powell
River, will become the first large scale dam to be dismantled in Canada,
the government of British Columbia announced Monday. The province reached
an agreement with Pacifica Papers Inc., which uses water diverted by
the dam to generate hydroelectric power for its paper mill, to remove
the dam and restore natural flows to the river.
Mark Angelo, chair of the B.C. Heritage Rivers Board, said tearing down
the 90-metre (292 foot) long dam will begin to reverse the devastation
in local fish stocks. "It's a cautious, risk-averse approach to dam
decommissioning and will do much to repair one of Georgia Strait's great
salmon rivers," said Angelo. In 1956, the year the dam was built, the
river thrived with 100,000 pink salmon, 50,000 chum salmon, and 10,000
coho salmon. By contrast, estimates for 1999 show a complete loss of
pinks, 2,000 to 3,000 chum, and three dozen coho, according to Angelo.
The Rivers Board listed the Theodosia River as
number two on a top-ten list of the province's most endangered rivers
in 1999. Angelo says there is a clear correlation between the building
of the dam and the collapse of salmon stocks in river. Angelo concedes
that current declines also reflect other factors such as ocean warming
and over-fishing, but said stocks began their steep drop the year the
dam was installed. Benefits that continue to be gained through power
generation are negligible when compared to the costs, said Angelo. He
estimates the environmental costs of the iversion have been 10 times
higher than any financial returns. Miles Lauzon, vice-president of Pacific
Papers' Powell River mill, said that while the water diversion is a
cost advantage for the company, it needs to be balanced against environmental
concerns. "This has always been Pacifica's perspective, and we are willing
to continue playing our part so that this balance is achieved," said
The removal of the dam may set a precedent for the removals of more
large-scale dams in the future, according to Angelo. Many dams are routinely
removed, but none of this magnitude to date. Angelo estimates between
200 and 300 of British Columbia's 2,167 licensed dams could become candidates
for removal in the future. He says dams become eligible when they are
deemed structurally unsafe, heavily laden with silt, or of only marginal
economic benefit when compared to the ecological expense. Most of the
province's dams are owned privately, or by local governments.
The Environment Ministry said the dam will begin to see some changes
this spring,and the whole dismantling process is expected to evolve
gradually, over the next five years. The cost to dismantle the Theodosia
dam could range from $30,000 to $50,000, according to Angelo, depending
on how the Ministry decides to tackle it. Angelo said the river will
not bounce back overnight, but restoring natural flows will lay the
groundwork for the ultimate restoration of the river. BC Hydro, whose
31 dams provide 90 percent of the province's electricity, looks at its
facilities on a case-by-case basis when a dam has lost its value. "It's
not as simple as tearing it out," said Wayne Cousins, a spokesman for
utility. "There are other issues such as 'what are the impacts of removing
it', and 'how do you remove it' and 'could there be more damage to an
area if you take the dam out than if you left it?'"
The 1997 Fish Protection Act enacts policies making fish habitat conservation
a high priority when granting water licenses. However, the Act does
not grant power to remove or alter existing licenses, even if it can
be proved that fish stocks are being damaged. In the United States,
similar guidelines under the Federal Power Act require that "equal consideration"
be given to wildlife, recreation, environmental quality, and related
factors when granting licenses or renewing existing ones. The difference
is that in British Columbia, water licenses are granted in perpetuity.
Although provincial policies are similar to those in the U.S., Angelo
said, there is no power to require license holders to maintain environmental
standards. The Fish Protection Act in terms of new licenses will certainly
be a step forward," said Angelo. "But it'll be limited in terms of what
we can do tochanging existing licenses." photos
© Environment News Service (ENS) 2000. All Rights Reserved.
25.02.00 : SPAIN: ANTI-DAM PROTESTERS TO
BE CHAINED 38 DAYS
Press Release COAGRET (Coordinator of People Affected
by Large Dams and Water Transfers) firstname.lastname@example.org
People affected by new projected large dams in Spain
have chained themselves in front of the Ministry of the Environment,
in Madrid, in defense of a new water policy that is more rational
and respects the dignity and rights of all people. Participants come
from various areas of Spain, and will take turns for 38 days demonstrating
in defense of their villages and regions. The demonstration started
on Sunday, February 13th. Below please find: Rationale for the campaign.
Statement "Rivers without Dams: Living Villages", endorsed by a variety
RIVERS WITHOUT DAMS, LIVING VILLAGES 38 days chained
in Madrid For a true Ministry of the Environment. Who are we? COAGRET
(Coordinator of People Affected by Large Dams and Water Transfers)
is an association that brings together areas threatened by large hydraulic
projects throughout the Iberian Peninsula, as well as proponents of
a new water policy that is based on the principles of savings, efficiency
and respect for the dignity and rights of all people. Who are benefited
by new large dams? Using the excuse of new irrigation projects that
the Ministry of Agriculture does not approve of, the Spanish Ministry
of the Environment plans the construction of 200 new dams that will
only benefit civil works companies, hydroelectric interests and speculators.
Who will be affected by the new dams? Some proposed dams will flood
villages that are inhabited. In addition, cultural and historical
sites, as well as ecologically and scenically valuable areas will
be flooded. In this sense, and given the high cost of these projects
that are financed with public moneys, we are all affected. What do
we propose? Common sense. Presently, large amount of water is being
wasted. The alternatives that we propose from COAGRET are: Modernization
of irrigation networks. Planning and rationalization of all water
uses. Modernization of urban water supply networks to minimize losses.
NO TO THE CHAINING OF OUR RIVERS AND OUR FUTURE Statement:
RIVERS WITHOUT DAMS, LIVING VILLAGES
In Spain, there are today more than 1300 large
dams. We are among the three countries in the world with more dams
per inhabitant and square kilometers. That has implied flooding and
abandoning hundreds of villages, without any respect for the most
fundamental human rights, and the destruction of beautiful valleys
and mountain regions, too often to satisfy the interests of civil
works companies and hydroelectric concerns. Today, when more advanced
countries and international scientific forums recognize the need to
prioritize water savings, efficiency and environmental protection
in rivers and wetlands, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment is
launching a new wave of large dams and water transfers. All this while
ignoring negative environmental impact statements, studies that demonstrate
they are not economically viable, and even safety concerns of its
own technical personnel. In response to this situation, the signatories
of this document manifest our support to the initiative launched by
COAGRET, to demonstrate in front of the Ministry of the environment
from February 13th to March 22nd. Representatives from all regions
affected by these new projects will take turn to oppose processes
that expel them from their houses, from their villages and their lands.
As a result of all this we demand: 1. A 5-year moratorium on new large
hydraulic infrastructures that are being questioned, so that the necessary
social and technical debate can take place. This will allow to assume
the new reality imposed by the Water Framework Directive that will
soon be approved by the European Union. 2. A fundamental restructuring
of the Ministry of the Environment, so that it is capable of assuming
its responsibilities of environmental protection and ecological management.
3. Respect for the independence of the technical personnel of the
Ministry of the Environment in their work, something that has been
threatened over the past four years. We also demand a reflection of
the interdisciplinary nature of integrated water resource management
in the hiring policies of this Ministry.
This document is supported by: AEMS, Friends of the Earth (Spain),
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