28.01.01 : Ghana: The Bui
hydroelectric project will flood a National Park
In February 2001 the Bui Hippo Project will make a
final attempt to safeguard the future of the hippopotamus on the Black
Volta River at Bui National Park in Ghana, west Africa. The park is
home to the largest of only two hippo populations left in the country.
Next year 440 square kilometres of the park will be flooded after
construction of the Bui Hydroelectric Development. The 110m high dam
will destroy all the feedings grounds of the hippos and there are
concerns that the animals will be wiped out as a result. Although
hippos are still common in east Africa, only 7000 remain in the whole
of west Africa.
In earlier surveys the team used canoes to get close
enough to the animals to count them. This time they are using infrared
cameras and paintball guns to determine the exact number of hippos
in the park and pinpoint their feeding grounds and preferred grasses.
Team coordinator Daniel Bennett believes this will be the team's last
chance to save the hippos at Bui. "Work on the dam starts next
year and the animals don't have anywhere to go. At the moment we still
have the chance to look for ways of keeping the hippos at Bui, but
we need to know exactly what's going on there first".
Members of the Bui Hippo Project include, members
of Ghana Wildlife Department, researchers from Aberdeen University
and local villagers. The team has been working together since 1996
on a variety of projects, including studies of the monitor lizards,
butterflies and fish of the region. A summary of their earlier work
on the hippos at Bui was recently published in the African Journal
The team has been fiercely independent during the
controversy over the Bui Dam, refusing to join either side in the
debate and stressing the need for detailed, independent studies of
the wildlife of the area. Their work at Bui represents the only published
biological studies of the park in its 29 years of existence.
Firing paintballs at hippos is a new technique in
animal conservation, but the team are confident it will work well.
"The animals are so big they do not notice it and the paint lasts
for just a day or so. Without marking them it's very easy to count
the same animal twice, and we can't afford to do that here because
the numbers involved are so small".
The team has the approval of the Hippopotamus Specialist
Group of the IUCN and has received funding from the Ralph Brown Award
and the Royal Geographical Society in London totalling £3,500
($5000). "It's a very small budget for a project like this but
we will do our best. There's been a lot of talk about the Bui hippos
but very few people were prepared to spend money on it. At present
we are trying to borrow most of the equipment from colleagues. What
we really need is the loan of a vehicle in Ghana and some longer range
Press Release from Daniel Bennett (email@example.com)
telephone: UK (0)1457 855972
Further details of the Bui Hippo Project are available
26.01.01 : Three Gorges :
a huge river diversion scheme is to begin next year.
Three Gorges Probe : China to begin $17-billion Yangtze
river diversion scheme next year
China Daily reports that construction of China's largest
water diversion project is expected to begin in 2002.
The State Council is expected to approve construction of the project's
east line late this year, sources with the Ministry of Water Resources
said in Shanghai.
In the next 15 years, construction of the east and middle lines are
scheduled to be completed and put into operation.
Zhang Guoliang, president of a special design administration, released
a new abridged edition of the project, the most detailed ever published.
The plan calls for 2,400-kilometre canals to be built in each of the
first two phases of the project's east and middle lines to link the
Yangtze to the drought-stricken north.
By 2015, the project will divert some 16 billion cubic metres of water
from the Yangtze into areas north of the Yellow River that include
the major cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang.
The amount of water the entire project would transfer is roughly equal
to the existing annual runoff of the Yellow River, China's second
The announcement confirmed the fact that China's decision-makers finally
feel compelled to dust off their five-decade-old water schemes to
minimize worsening drought conditions and the water shortage crisis
in northern China.
Second only in construction scale to the mammoth Three Gorges Project
on the Yangtze, this project has aroused public concern about its
merits and what the quality and price of water will be in the north.
For further information : http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/3g/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=1649
Three Gorges Probe is also available in CHINESE at
If you do not already receive Three Gorges Probe news service,
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
with your name and "subscribe TGP" or "subscribe CHINESE
TGP" in the subject box.
For more information and Three Gorges Probe back issues go to http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/3g/http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/3g/
Three Gorges Probe welcomes submissions. However, it is not a forum
for political debate. Rather, Three Gorges Probe is dedicated to covering
the scientific, technical, economic, social, and environmental ramifications
of completing the Three Gorges Project, as well as the alternatives
to the dam.
Publisher: Patricia Adams Executive Editor: Mu Lan Assistant Editor:
22.01.01 : Romania reports
river pollution with cyanide
BUCHAREST - Government officials said on Friday that
toxic waste containing cyanide had spilled into a river in northeastern
Romania, killing fish and posing a health hazard in the area. (Reuters
The incident occurred on Wednesday when the contents
of a storage tank at the Medatet SA chemical factory in Falticeni,
400 km (250 miles) northeast of Bucharest, filled with cyanhydric
acetone, spread accidentally through a rain gutter into a tributary
of the Siret river.
"Samples of water taken from various areas of the Siret show
concentrations of cyanide ranging from 0.05 milligrams per litre to
four milligrams a litre, this compared with the European Union's admitted
levels of 0.005 milligrams," a senior Environment Ministry official
told Reuters. The plant had been closed since last year.
Independent daily newspaper Adevarul said on Friday the leakage had
caused the death of several tonnes of fish on a long stretch of the
It also said that some of the poisoned fish might have found its way
to local markets. "The poisoned fish could cause serious kidney,
liver and blood diseases," Adevarul quoted environment inspector
Neculaie Trinca as saying.
Trinca said environmental experts had teamed with local authorities
to prevent a health disaster. Local residents were advised not to
use water from the river or wells.
19.01.01 : Gold Hill Dam Removal
Becomes Military Exercise
The 19 January edition of The Oregonian carried a
report on the removal of a decommissioned diversion dam near Gold
Hill, Oregon, which may become a military training exercise for operating
heavy equipment. If the Department of Defense agrees to help the city,
reservists may use bulldozers and other equipment to remove the diversion
dam, which blocks a channel of the Rogue River about a mile from downtown
Gold Hill. "We try to find real-world training opportunities
on American soil that can help us prepare for the global experience,"
said Captain Sheldon White of Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins,
Georgia. The National Marine Fisheries Service has said the dam is
a barrier to fish passing from the Pacific to their upper Rogue spawning
Source : fishlink sublegals
14.01.01 : India's Ganges,
a holy river of pollution
ALLAHABAD, India - Hindus believe that a dip in the
holy Ganges during the Maha Kumbh Mela festival will cleanse their
souls of sin.
But the pollution that bedevils the river could do
untold damage to the bodies of the faithful who will bathe in the
Indian city of Allahabad over the next few weeks.
The sacred river is indeed suffering from raw sewage, rotting carcasses,
industrial effluent, fertilisers and pesticides. Experts say pollution
is to blame for a host of diseases - hepatitis, amoebic dysentery,
typhoid, cholera and cancer - among the roughly 400 million people
who live in the vast Gangetic basin.
For further information visit http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=9513
14.01.01 : Publication of
an EEB report on the Water Framework Directive and the European Union
The European Environmental Bureau has just released
an interesting document on European Union Water Policy under the Water
Framework Directive. Soon it will be also available in printed form
and can be requested from EEB's secretariat. A German translation
will be available beginning of February.
The english version is downloadable here
(180K pdf file).
Contact : Stefan Scheuer, Coordinator EEB 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
11.01.01 : Kenyan Dam Protester
Kisumu, Kenya - A Kenyan activist working with dam
affected people has been arrested, beaten and faces criminal charges
for holding meetings and trying to share information about the Sondu
Miriu hydroelectric dam project in southwestern Kenya. (ENS)
For full text and graphics visit:
08.01.01 : Spain appeals ruling
in toxic spill case
MADRID - The Spanish government appealed on Friday
against a judge's rejection of criminal responsibility in a massive
toxic-waste spill in 1998 at a metals mine, described as Spain's worst
The Environment Ministry said it had lodged the appeal
after studying last month's decision to drop the criminal case against
25 people for the collapse of a mine reservoir two years ago.
Nearly seven million cubic metres of poisonous sludge and contaminated
water gushed into a river near the Donana National Park, one of Europe's
largest nature reserves.
Thousands of fish and other wildlife were killed and local farmers
claimed serious damage.
The Environment Ministry said in a statement it believed "the
imprudence committed must be considered as severe, which means the
existence of an environmental crime".
If the appeal failed, the ministry said, it would press civil charges.
Spanish Environment Minister Jaume Matas has said that last month's
ruling threatened to set "a dangerous precedent of ecological
Those under investigation included 13 workers from Spanish construction
group Dragados that built the reservoir and seven employees of mining
firm Boliden Apirsa - a unit of the Swedish-Canadian group Boliden.
Two officials of the Andalusia regional government and three from
a Spanish mining institute were also investigated.
Earlier this week, Boliden said it planned to sue two subsidiaries
of Dragados for damages stemming from the disaster. Dragados denied
that its subsidiaries had been at fault.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
03.01.01 : Norway : Statkraft
frustrated as Norway PM says no more hydro
OSLO - Norway's state-owned utility Statkraft got
a surprise as Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in his New Year's Eve
address said there would be no more large-scale hydropower developments
in Norway, Statkraft information chief Trond Rostad told Reuters on
The decision by Stoltenberg's minority Labour government
meant Statkraft's controversial construction of three hydropower stations
in Saltfjellet, northern Norway, had to be put to rest. "This
is frustrating. We have spent vast resources on this project,"
said Rostad, but declined to give a figure on the costs involved.
The three developments caused the government much politicial headache
last autumn, and Statkraft was ordered to halt works in September,
just after construction began, due to strong opposition among environmentalists
and opposition parties. "We have to conform to the government's
decision, but it is a very strong statement which affects not only
us but every other Norwegian power producer as well," Rostad
said. Norway produces virtually all of its electricity from hydropower,
amounting to around 115 terawatt hours (TWh) in a year of normal precipitation
levels. However, unusually high amounts of rain and snow has resulted
in abvove-normal production in the last couple of years, reaching
142 (TWh) in 2000. By comparison, the country consumes around 120
TWh per year. According to Rostad, Statkraft has been exploring other
forms of power generation for some time, and a case in point was Statkraft's
newly acquired consessions to build three wind farms with a total
production of 800 megawatts of electricity in western Norway. "But
with a growth in consumption of about one percent per year, one does
not have to be a mathematical genius to understand that these wind
power developments can only cover the deficit for a very short period
of time," Rostad said. Rostad said the high levels of power production
lately could have influenced the government's decision not to build
more large-scale hydropower stations in Norway. However, those opposed
to further hydropower developments seemed to have lost sight of the
fact that Norway would be a net importer of electricity in a year
of normal precipitation levels, said Rostad.
Story by Erik Brynhildsbakken
Source: Reuters News Service
02.01.01 : Announcement
of an international conference on the impact of reservoirs
to the emissions of greenhouse gases.
A conference called ""Reservoirs and Greenhouse
Gases" will take place in Melbourne, Australia, from 4th to 10th
February 2001. Leading scientists - including both proponents and
opponents of the hydropower issue - and climate change experts will
For more information, contact Irene Thavarajah, Congress
Manager : email@example.com
or visit the congress
01.01.01 : The text of the
Water Framework Directive is online (in all languages).
The Water Framework Directive has been published the
22.12.2000 in the Official Journal of the European Communities. This
is now the final and official text, which you can download in all
languages under http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/oj/2000/l_32720001222en.html