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    "Newer" News

  • 06.09.00 : EEB Seminar on Water 3. and 4. of November 2000 Brussels (engl)
  • 05.09.00 : Small Swedish hydropower plants face closure
  • 05.09.00 : The International Water History Association (IWHA) 2nd conference
  • 31.08.00 : Final WFD (Water Frame Directive (Joint Text in all languages )
  • 21.08.00 : Turkey: Ilisu dam in breach of international law
  • 21.08.00 : Türkei / Ilisu: Verletzt die ERG das Völkerrecht ?
  • 20.08.00 : Outcom (Draft) of the EUROPEAN " THINK-CAMP " FOR LIVING RIVERS

    older news

Text :

06.09.00 : Annonce d'un séminaire du Bureau Européen de l'Environnement (EEB) - 3 et 4 novembre 2000

EEB Seminar on Water 3. and 4. of November 2000 Brussels

Dear Colleagues,

After the finalisation of the Water Framework Directive it is time to start the follow up process and to identify key issues for future action.

EEB will organise on the 3. and 4. of November 2000 in Brussels a follow up seminar on the Water Framework Directive.

The efficient and proper implementation of the WFD in Member States will be key in order to make full use of the instruments provided in the directive to better protect and improve our waters.

Several pieces of subsequent legislation are following the WFD and are under preparation: First of all a 'list of priority substances in the field of water policy', which is in the pipeline and will present the future Annex X of the WFD. First reading in Parliament is expected 14-16 of November 2000. For these substances EQSs and ELVs have to be developed and proposed and for certain substances a cessation target will apply. The Commission presented a Communication on Water pricing, which proposes a set of guiding principles of the water pricing article of the WFD. A clear groundwater protection strategy is missing in the WFD. Measures and criteria still have to be prepared and proposed by the Commission to prevent and control pollution to achieve 'good status' of groundwaters.

Our work should not stop with the adoption of the WFD, but should keep on promoting far reaching objectives. It is time now to push Member States to actually achieve the objectives and improve water protection and to support the proper use of the integrative river basin management approach and call for a rapid phase out of hazardous substances.

After summer we will be provide you with a first draft agenda for our seminar.

Best regards and refreshing summer holidays,

Stefan Scheuer

**************************** Stefan Scheuer EU-Policy Assistant Water Campaign European Environmental Bureau Boulevard de Waterloo 34 >B-1000 Brussels Tel: +32 2 2891090 >Tel: +32 2 2891304 Direct >Fax: +32 2 2891099 >E-mail: *****************************


05.09.00 : Small Swedish hydropower plants face closure

SWEDEN: August 23, 2000 STOCKHOLM

- Sweden's small hydropower producers face an uncertain future, suffering from delayed subsidies by the European Union (EU), the national association for small hydropower said yesterday. "Hundreds of small hydropower plants might have to close in the nearest years," Christer Soderberg, chairman of the association, told Reuters. He said investments in the sector, which had been considered safe, had become more risky after the deregulation of the power market in 1996 as plummeting power prices had reduced profit margins.

"Banks see how the power prices have fallen at the same time as the nearest future for subsidies is looking uncertain," he said.

Small hydropower has a maximum capacity of 1.5 megawatt and receives a 0.09 crown ($0.009) subsidy per kilowatt hour (KWh) in Sweden.

Soderberg said many producers in Europe enjoyed a support of 0.5-0.6 crown ($0.053-0.064) per KWh.

But support to Sweden's producers had been delayed by the EU's revision of regulations for subsidies and producers had not received any money since November last year.

"The delays have caused problems with the banks as producers have difficulties with their repayments," he said.

In addition, the troubles to repay loans had impaired the banks' attitude to small hydropower and their willingness to invest, he said.

The EU is examining the support system for renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and small hydropower and was expected to present a directive in 2001.

But Soderberg said a directive would not necessarily lead to improved conditions for small hydropower in the short run and many producers were likely to have to close their plants due to the uncertain future.

"Just because there will be a directive in 2001 does not mean it is all going to run smoothly," he said, adding: "I don't expect the new support system to operate properly until 2003.

" The EU has said it aimed to boost renewable energy, to cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce the dependence on imports of and oil and boost employment in the sector.



05.09.00 : The International Water History Association (IWHA) 2nd conference

10th -12th August 2001 University of Bergen, Norway

The International Water History Association (IWHA) 2nd conference will bring together researchers from different disciplines who all study the character and role of freshwater in history and development.

While freshwater is a true universal and no human being and no society can exist without it, its natural characteristics vary extremely from place to place and from time to time. Societies have managed and harnessed water in various ways with various implications both for water resources and for society. This conference will explore these variations in man/water relations in time and space, and examine why some societies have apparently succeeded, while others have failed to secure a sound management system of their fresh water.

The conference will have two main aims:

- to present different empirical research findings and to create a forum for theoretical discussions on how the relationship between man and water can be analysed and understood in the most fruitful ways.

- to produce relevant input into present day debates about issues including the control and ownership of water, water conflicts and water pollution.

At the conference there will also be a general meeting of the International Water History Association to discuss election of officials, further conference plans etc.

The conference will present a mix of keynote lectures and contributed papers and posters. Keynote speakers will be announced later.

We are inviting papers on the following themes: (These themes are provisional at the moment - the organisers will welcome suggestions for individual papers and sessions):

A. The political economy of water ownership and control This session will deal with the changing histories of water as a private or common good. In what way has water been seen as a commodity standing outside 'normal' economic theories? It will also be open to papers examining how regional and national control of water resources have been embedded into patterns of economic and political control within and across national boundaries, and has stirred up territorial disputes.

B. Images of water (in religion, myths, literature and art) This session will deal with different aspects of the cultural construction of water from ancient days until contemporary time. We are calling for papers on for example the role of water in the world religions, myths of rivers as a source of life, and water as an object of art. Other themes could be the free flowing river as a state of equilibrium or as a chaotic and violent nature meant to be controlled by man.

C. History of hydrology and water control This session will especially deal with the development of hydrological sciences and water controlling technology. We are not only interested in dam building and water regulation technology. We are also inviting papers on changes in and effects from irrigation and drainage technology etc. The session will encourage comparative perspectives on irrigation and drainage systems, both regarding technology, institutions and policy.

D. Narratives on the river and the dam This session will discuss the harnessed river in a social construction perspective. What stories do we tell about free flowing, or harnessed rivers? Should this history be written as a history of progress or as a history of failure? The narratives have varied from a river lost to the rebirth of a new river or the remaking of a new nature. The narratives have also been written in a perspective of distribution of power (The Conquered River) or in ecological perspective (The Devastated River). How will the stories that we tell about >man and the river influence the way we interpret rivers in the 21st century?

E. The engineering of water systems engineers, entrepreneurs and bureaucrats This session will examine the cultures, traditions and power of those designing and constructing water systems. It will, for example, look at engineers with reference to their aesthetic and technical influences, and their relationship to political power structures. It will also, for example, examine the entrepreneurial capabilities and goals of individuals, from private sector firms, or government departments, who conceived or guided the construction of water systems.

F. 'Water and man' relations in science This session will deal with how the relationship man/water has been understood and explained through the centuries and by contemporary scientists in all >kinds of disciplines and traditions.

G. History of water, sanitation and health In this session studies of water and health will be presented by a broad focus on water borne diseases and their vectors. We also call for papers that deal with the relationship between epidemics and water and how societies have worked to secure clean water to stem epidemics. This session will also deal with changes in water quality, and how these changes can be seen related to social developments. We also call for papers discussing the understandings both contemporary and historical of the concept of clean/polluted water.

H. Water, poverty and social development This session will deal with development of the modern megalopolis and the water and sewage question and how clean water can be made available for the poor. Important changes are taken place in the distribution and control of water for household consumption. In some big cities the water issue has caused political turmoil, even street-fighting. How does the privatisation wave in water distribution affect social relations, political systems and the water supply system? How does lack of water and poor distribution systems affect >development and development in rural areas of the so-called "Third World"?

I. Freshwater and the coastal zone integrated and ecological management The main focus will be put on conflicts between user-interests, especially interrelated problems of freshwater, estuarine and marine areas. Both examples of how conflicts have been coped with historically, and more recently evolved problems and opportunities will be addressed. We also call for papers discussing principles for management of freshwater resources, estuarine and marine areas, as in the integrated and ecological approach in the new EU Water Resources Directive. Finally, attention will also be paid to the development of environmental goals and planning tools of interrelated fresh water, estuarine and marine areas.

J. Regional waters in a historical perspective The conference will organise parallel sessions on water issues in a regional perspective (Asia, Middle East and Africa, Europe, America). Regional characteristics and different experiences and possibilities of human exploitation of water resources will be highlighted. The aim is to stimulate regional research collaboration and improve transfer of knowledge on man water relations.

The conference papers will be edited by an international editorial committee and subsequently published. In connection with the conference we will organise a book exhibition on water related research. We will invite participants to send the organising committee leaflets about reports and books published on the conference topic. The conference is organised in co-operation with UNESCO International Hydrological Programme.

It is envisaged that travel support will be available for selected speakers. It is the intention of the organisers to target this support towards speakers from universities and institutions which do not normally provide sufficient resources to fund extensive foreign travel.

Conference location Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, and the capital of the Scandinavian rain coast. It is also a commercial centre which was historically one of the Hanseatic ports with strong maritime trading links to all parts of the world. Seven mountains surround it and the city is renowned for its beauty. Bergen is also noted for being the birthplace of Edvard Grieg whose music reflects the natural environment; mountains, fjords, but also running water everywhere. The location of the conference hall, Bergen Kongress Senter, is downtown Bergen.

Summer holiday on the western coast of Norway? The conference organisers have managed to negotiate with local hotels a good deal for accompanying persons. In August Bergen and the Norwegian West Coast with its mountains, ocean and fjords often experience good weather. (Have a look at these pages: and

Organising Committee on behalf of IWHA:

Professor Terje Tvedt, University of Bergen Professor Petter Larsson, University of Bergen Dr. Eva Jakobsson, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Contact person: Alv Terje Fotland,

Centre for Development Studies University of Bergen Stromgaten 54, N-5007 Bergen, Norway fax: + 47 55 58 98 92 e-mail: > >Time schedule: Abstracts: 15. October 2000 Conference programme December 2000 Papers: 1. August 2001 Conference: 10.-12. August 2001

31.08.00 : Final WFD (Water Frame Directive (Joint Text in all languages )

Dear Colleagues, the final joint text of the Water Framework Directive, which will be adopted next Wednesday or Thursday in the European Parliament is now available in all languages on the Parliaments Web Site under the link Joint texts approved by the Conciliation Committee. There has been one significant change introduced concerning art 16 (4) (now art 16 (6)) the cessation of priority hazardous substances. The text reads now as follows: "The timetable shall not exceed 20 years after the adoption of these proposals by the European Parliament and the Council in accordance with the provisions of this Article." Paragraph 6 is dealing with the Commission proposals for controls for priority and priority hazardous substances. The new text's wording means that the 20 year deadline starts counting from the time measures are agreed on Community level. The former wording was with reference to identification of priority hazardous substances, so the 20 year deadline started counting once the priority hazardous substances are identified, without the necessity to wait for measures being adopted by EP and Council. The proposed change has the effect of delaying the deadline for the cessation target for priority hazardous substances by another 3-5 years (2 years for Commission to come forward with measures proposal plus another 1-3 years - the time needed for EP and Council to agree on them).

Best regards Stefan Scheuer
Water Campaign European Environmental Bureau Boulevard de Waterloo 34 B-1000 Brussels Tel: +32 2 2891090 Tel: +32 2 2891304 Direct Fax: +32 2 2891099 E-mail:


Narmada Bachao Andolan Jail Road, Mandleshwar District Khargone, M.P., India Telefax: 07283-33162 E-Mail: Press Release,

29.08.2000, Bhopal ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF THE MAHESHWAR PROJECT: NO GERMAN MONEY FOR THE MAHESHWAR PROJECT SIEMENS WITHDRAWS APPLICATION FOR HERMES EXPORT GUARANTEE, HYPOVEREINSBANK BACKS OUT OF RS.530 CRORE LOAN COMMITMENT In an important victory for the struggling people of the Narmada valley, German multinational company Siemens has withdrawn its application for a Hermes export guarantee for the Maheshwar Project from the German government. Simultaneously, the private HypoVereinsbank of Germany has stated that it will now no longer be in a position to honor its commitment to give a Rs.530 crore loan to the Maheshwar Project. This decision has been greeted by jubilation all through the valley. The decisions by the Siemens and the HypoVereinsbank will mean that now there will be no German money for the Maheshwar Project. It is clear that the decision Siemens was compelled to take is a direct consequence of the mass struggle in the valley in the last 4 years by the affected farmers, workers, boatspeople and fisherpeople, as well as the international solidarity and understanding that has supported it. Without doubt the withdrawal of the Hermes guarantee is yet another nail in the coffin of the Maheshwar Project. The Maheshwar Hydroelectric Project will submerge the lands, homes and livelihoods of over 40,000 people in 61 villages and inundate thousands of acres of rich deep black cotton soils, scores of extremely profitable sand quarries that support thousands of landless people and a rich composite culture. The people of this area have been struggling against this destruction and displacement as well as raising the issue of the prohibitively expensive power to be produced by this Project that will bring darkness rather than light to the people of Madhya Pradesh. It was on the 23rd of January,1997, that Siemens had applied to the German government for a Hermes guarantee for a tied loan to be given by the HypoVereinsbank to the Maheshwar Project for the purchase of generating equipment from Siemens. In response to the mass struggle in the valley and in order to take a well-considered decision, in May 2000 the Development Ministry of the German government commissioned a team of international experts to investigate the status of rehabilitation and resettlement in the Project. Soon after the team gave its report on the 15th of June this year sharply indicting the Project, Siemens told the German government that it would submit a report that would present substantially different findings about the status of rehabilitation in the valley. The fact that it then chose to withdraw the application itself instead of substantiating its differences demonstrates that Siemens has no answer to the basic finding of the report: that the rehabilitation of the affected communities is impossible. The Siemens decision is a vindication of the issues that the affected people have been raising over the last four years vis-a-vis displacement: essentially that the impacts on people and the rich natural resources of the area will be much larger than anticipated, and that compensation of these losses and rehabilitation of the affected people is impossible. It is clear to all that if this project is built, enormous human rights repression and large scale destruction of rich natural resources and communities is inevitable. Since this cannot be acceptable, the project has to be stalled. The Siemens decision to withdraw the application for the Hermes guarantee is a major victory not only for the people of the Narmada valley who have fought against this Project tooth and nail for the last four years, facing repeated arrests, beatings and indignities in the process, but also for all struggling people of the world who are facing the onslaught of a process of globalisation that bears no accountability to peoples and environments, and which puts the search for super profits over livelihoods . We understand the "alternative financing" that Siemens now hopes to find is at best an attempt to save their own face as well as those of their partners, and at worst, an attempt to continue to participate in this project through other means fully knowing its destructive consequences, establishing thereby that markets matter more to it than people and that its behaviour as a corporation will not be guided by the minimum norms of human rights acceptable in a civilised society. The Narmada Bachao Andolan and the people of the Narmada valley are confident that they will successfully halt this Project in the next few months. Even at present the project is in a situation of complete paralysis. The American power utility PacGen withdrew from the Project in 1998 and two German power utilities, Bayernwerk and VEW Energie, were compelled to withdraw in 1999 because of the strong opposition to the project in the Narmada valley. The situation on the ground is that the project has not been able to achieve even financial closure in the last few years, let alone go ahead with any substantial construction. The Central Power Ministry had announced that it would complete financial closure of this Project within 100 days after coming to power in October 1999. However because of the perseverance and struggle of the affected people the closure could not be effected. It is also a fact that all construction on this project has been stopped for the last few months because of the financially jeopardised situation of the project promoters, including the failure of their other projects. Therefore it is only a matter of time that the Project promoters - S.Kumars themselves - will withdraw from this project and the project will be discarded forever. The affected people of the Narmada valley are resolved to continue and intensify their struggle until this destructive Project is completely stopped and the cheaper, better, and less socially and environmentally destructive energy and water alternatives are put in its place.
Chittaroopa Palit Mangat Verma, Village Lepa, District Khargone Sanjay Nigam, Village Mardana, District Khargone Alok Agarwal

21.08.00 : Turkey: Ilisu dam in breach of international law

An independent legal opinion concludes that the planned Ilisu dam in Turkey is in breach of international law. Switzerland and other governments would violate international law if they provided official export credits or guarantees to fund the dam. The Berne Declaration, which has commissioned the legal opinion, calls on governments not to become accomplices in the breach of international law. * * * The Ilisu dam is part of the larger South-East Anatolia Project (GAP) on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Iraq, Syria and the League of Arab States have protested that the GAP, and the Ilisu dam more particularly, are part of Turkey’s aggressive water policies vis-a-vis the neighboring states. The Ilisu consortium, which is headed by Sulzer Hydro of Switzerland, has applied for official export finance from several countries, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the U.S., Germany, Sweden and Italy. A new independent legal opinion concludes that the Ilisu project is in breach of international law on several accounts. The legal opinion was commissioned by the Swiss advocacy group, the Berne Declaration, and prepared by Professor Astrid Epiney of Fribourg University. Professor Epiney is a renowned expert of international environmental law and a winner of the Latsis Prize. According to the opinion, Turkey would violate the obligations to notify and consult potentially affected states, the obligation to adequately utilize shared natural ressources, and the inhibition to cause significant transboundary harm by building the Ilisu dam as currently planned. By providing official export finance, Switzerland or other involved states would be aiding and abetting Turkey in breaching international law, and would thereby breach international law themselves. In an interview with the Swiss “SonntagsZeitung”, Roberto Balzaretti, head of the international law division of the Swiss foreign ministry, said that the legal opinion was “a very good document from a renowned professor”. Yet Balzaretti claimed that the concept of aiding and abetting did not exist in international law. Economics minister Pascal Couchepin in turn informed the parliamentary foreign relations committee that the Swiss government would take another decision on whether or not to grant an official export risk guarantee for Ilisu. In November 1998, the government had made a preliminary decision to provide a guarantee of SF 470 million for the project. In a statement, the Berne Declaration renewed its call on all interested governments not to provide any funding for Ilisu. Peter Bosshard of the Berne Declaration says: “The environment has become an important source of international conflicts. Therefore, all states need to strictly abide by and even strengthen international law in matters of the environment. It would be scandalous if by funding Ilisu, governments became accomplices in breaching international law in the pursuit of short-term economic gains.” Turkey plans to build the Ilisu dam on the Tigris, 65 kilomters upstream of the Syrian and Iraqi border. With 1200 megawatt and a reservoir of 313 square kilometers, Ilisu is the largest planned hydropower plant in Turkey. If built, the dam would require the displacement of 15,000-20,000 people, and would negatively affect many more. For further information: * Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration,, ph +41 1 277 70 07 * Berne Declaration website, * Copies of the legal opinion are available from the Berne Declaration (89 pp, in German only). The Berne Declaration (BD) is a Swiss public-interest group with 16,000 members. Through research, public education and advocacy work, the BD has promoted more equitable North-South relations since 1968.

21.08.00 : Türkei / Ilisu: Verletzt die ERG das Völkerrecht ?

13. August 2000 Verletzt die ERG das Völkerrecht? Ein völkerrechtliches Gutachten kommt zum Schluss, dass die Schweiz mit der Gewährung einer Exportrisikogarantie für das umstrittene Ilisu-Kraftwerk in der Türkei gegen das Völkerrecht verstossen würde. Die Entwicklungsorganisation Erklärung von Bern, die das Gutachten in Auftrag gegeben hat, ruft den Bundesrat auf, von der Gewährung einer solchen Garantie abzusehen. Die Schweiz könne es sich nicht leisten, wegen kurzfristigen Wirtschaftsinteressen das Völkerrecht zu verletzen. Die aggressive Wasserpolitik der Türkei und insbesondere die Kraftwerkprojekte am Euphrat und Tigris lösen immer wieder Konflikte mit den arabischen Nachbarstaaten aus. Im November 1998 beschloss der Bundesrat grundsätzlich, für den Ilisu-Staudamm am Tigris eine staatliche Exportrisikogarantie von 470 Millionen Franken zu gewähren. Syrien und Irak haben beim Bundesrat mehrfach gegen die Erteilung einer solchen Garantie protestiert, welche die aggressive Wasserpolitik der Türkei unterstützen würde. Ein juristisches Gutachten, welches die Entwicklungsorganisation Erklärung von Bern (EvB) soeben veröffentlichte, kommt zu Schluss, dass der Ilisu-Staudamm wie auch die Gewährung einer ERG durch die Schweiz gegen das Völkerrecht verstossen würden. Das Gutachten wurde im Auftrag der EvB von der Freiburger Professorin Astrid Epiney, einer international bekannten Völkerrechtsspezialistin und Gewinnerin des renommierten Latsis-Preises, verfasst. Es hält fest, dass die Türkei mit dem Bau des Damms gegen das Gebot der Information und Konsultation, gegen das Gebot der angemessenen Nutzung gemeinsamer natürlicher Ressourcen sowie gegen das Verbot erheblicher grenzüberschreitender Umweltbeeinträchtigungen verstossen würde. Mit der Gewährung einer Exportrisikogarantie, so schliesst das Gutachten, würde die Schweiz „eine Beihilfe zu den erörterten Völkerrechtsdelikten der Türkei leisten“ und damit ihrerseits gegen das Völkerrecht verstossen. In einem Brief an die Bundesräte Deiss und Couchepin und in einem Treffen mit der Direktion für Völkerrecht des EDA forderte die Erklärung von Bern, die Schweiz solle von der definitiven Gewährung einer Exportrisikogarantie für das Ilisu-Projekt absehen. Als kleines Land, so argumentierte die Entwicklungsorganisation, sei die Schweiz an der strikten Einhaltung und Stärkung des Völkerrechts interessiert. Sie könne es sich nicht leisten, nun ihrerseits das Völkerrecht zu verletzen, nur weil kurzfristige Exportinteressen auf dem Spiel stünden. Das Ilisu-Kraftwerk soll am Tigris, rund 60 Kilometer von der Grenze zu Syrien und dem Irak, gebaut werden. Es handelt sich dabei um das grösste geplante Staudammprojekt der Türkei. Es würde rund 20'000 Menschen im kurdischen Südostanatolien zur Umsiedlung zwingen. Das Kraftwerk soll von einem internationalen Konsortium unter Federführung der Firma Sulzer Hydro gebaut werden. Im November 1998 beschloss der Bundesrat grundsätzlich, eine Exportrisikogarantie von 470 Millionen Franken für das Projekt zu gewähren. Dieser Entscheid muss noch definitiv bestätigt werden. Die Gewährung von weiteren staatlichen Garantien von bescheidenerem Umfang ist in England, Deutschland, den USA und weiteren Ländern hängig. Die Erklärung von Bern koordiniert eine internationale Kampagne von Umwelt- und Menschenrechtsorganisationen gegen den Bau des Ilisu-Projekts.


An international Think-Camp has taken place in Haute-Loire (France) from July 31st to August 5th 2000.
Over 40 NGO's leaders from European countries as well as observers from Asia, Africa and North America have taken part to this ERN (European Rivers Network) organised meeting. (Participantlist , Invitation/Programm)
One of the main aim was to elaborate common strategies to face the new 21st century issues. Four main questions have been worked on : - Creating new means of "trans-NGOs" co-operation. How the NGOs that are directly or indirectly working on river conservation issues, and that are coming from different backgrounds (environmentalist, human rights, cultural heritage conservation, etc.) can be structured and network their abilities to collaborate efficiently on a long term basis. The issues of the collaboration with governmental organisations and between NGO's networks on a world-wide level have also been tackled. - North-South solidarity. European standards not allowing anymore the building, in our countries, of structures like big hydroelectric projects, occidental firms are more and more exporting these technologies towards developing countries, using unacceptable environmental, humanitarian and economic guidelines. What can be the role of "northern" NGOs in these big "development" projects ? How can they help to create and implement an internationally enforceable ethic ? How can they lobby and inform on the firms involved in those projects, as well as on the structures financing them (Aids agencies, Export Credit Agencies, etc.). How can they help local NGOs working inside the affected countries ? - TEN (Trans-European Transportation Network). How a collaboration between NGOs can help to counter this project of channelisation and inter-connection of big European rivers. - "Green Power". A new threat to European rivers is appearing now that nuclear era is over. Main electricity producers are already campaigning on the "green" value of hydroelectric energy. How can NGOs help to create an acceptable "Green Power" label ? What criteria should be compulsory ? Those discussions have led to several decisions. First of all, it had been clear to all the participants that a reinforced collaboration between NGOs was essential. The first ideas for a structure that could gather them have been drafted. An extended ERN should be created. In order to realise this, a group of people has been designated to study and present a detailed scheme for this new organisation. It has also been decided that two conferences will take place : one on "Green Power" and the problem of labelisation, another on TEN. Another Think-Camp, organised on the same principles, will also take in the next three years. This new way of working (free planning, team work, etc.) has indeed proved very efficient !

a report with results and Outcoms from the ThinkCamp will be published during the next weeks !

contact: (Founder ERN), +33 608 62 12 67


by Koray Duzgoren

The Munzur Valley takes its name from the Munzur Creek that runs through the foot of Munzur Mountains from the north. The Munzur Valley and Munzur Creek that named it start 50 kilometres north of Tunceli province and go down to the city of Tunceli. The Munzur Creek merges with Pulumur Creek nearby Tunceli and carries on its journey southwards. The area of the Munzur Mountains, Munzur Creek and Munzur Valley has been defined as a wonder of nature and was listed as a National Park in 1971 (as foreseen by the Law on Forests of 1971). However, the Valley was not included by the Law on National Parks which came into force in 1984.

The State Waterworks Agency is currently planning to build 8 hydro-power power stations and a dam in this unique area of 50 square kilometres. The construction work of one of them (Mercan) is completed and another one (Uzuncayir) is nearly completed. Experts say that most of the species of flora in the area, estimated at five thousand species, do not exist anywhere else in the world. It is also said that the diverse fauna in the area is also under threat and many species including deer, gazelle, eagle, falcon, bear, wild goat and wild boar will become extinct after the arrival of the proposed dams and power stations.

Because the emergency rule administration is still in force in the region, nature lovers and nature experts are not allowed to conduct any scientific research and environmentalists do not have the freedom to conduct surveys in the area. The dams that will flood the Munzur Valley all the way through are as follows:

1. Mercan Hydro-Power Station: Built on the Mercan Creek, one of the legs of Munzur. The construction work is completed and it will start to operate > next year. Built solely on the purpose of generating electricity.

2. Akyayik Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Planned to be built on Mercan Creek. Master plan is drawn.

3. Konaktepe-I Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Planning stage completed. It will be built off Tornova village near Munzur Creek.

4. Konaktepe Hydro-Power Station: It will be built by the transfer of the water reserves of Konaktepe-I Hydro-Power Station through a pipeline.

5. Kaletepe Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Wall of the dam will be 125 metres high. It will flood some 36 square kilometres of the valley.

6. Bozkaya Hydro-Power Station and Dam: Currently at the planning stage.

7. Pulumur Hydro-Power Station and Dam: It will be built on the junction > where Pulumur Creek merges with Munzur Creek. Currently at the planning stage.

8. Uzuncayir Dam: Construction work completed. It was built on the junction where Munzur Creek terminates at the reservoir of Keban Dam. Having flooded the entire area, it has cut off the link between the villages in the mountains and the Tunceli-Elazig highway. It was reported to be finally clear that the construction work of Konaktepe Dam, which is considered to be the most harming leg in the project, was offered to an American tender company who also obtained the mining licence > for the uranium mines in the same region.

It is estimated that some 6 villages will be flooded by the water from the dams.

The grand reservoir of the dams will drown one fourth of Munzur National Park under water.

Some facts and figures:

1. It is argued that the numerous dams that are currently built or proposed will be built for irrigation purposes. However, the 25 per cent of the land in Tunceli is actually mountainous and rocky.

2. Having 320 of its 460 villages evacuated within the past 15 years, there is not a high level population in rural Tunceli. Most parts of the area are still included within the forbidden zone. The official population figures, estimated at 82 thousand people according to the census in 1997, is believed to be lowered down to 60 thousand people following the migration movements. Vast majority of the said population is concentrated in city of Tunceli.

3. Some 60 thousand people who continue to live in the region will have no > other choice but to migrate from Tunceli following the total extinction of livestock breeding in the area due to the prohibition of grazing (livestock > breeding was the most important means of trade and the power plant and dam projects which will destroy the wonders of nature such as Munzur National Park and Munzur Valley (although tourism-oriented projects were once considered as the only remaining alternative for the area).

Translated by Umit Ozturk Kurdistan Information Center London

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These pages and their content are © Copyright of European Rivers Network.
For more information, remarks or propositions, send us a message !.