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    Latest news

  • 28.01.01 : Ghana: The Bui hydroelectric project will flood a National Park
  • 26.01.01 : Three Gorges : a huge river diversion scheme is to begin next year.
  • 22.01.01 : Romania reports river pollution with cyanide
  • 19.01.01 : Gold Hill Dam Removal Becomes Military Exercise
  • 14.01.01 : India's Ganges, a holy river of pollution
  • 14.01.01 : Publication of an EEB report on the Water Framework Directive and the European Union Water Policy
  • 11.01.01 : Kenyan Dam Protester Arrested
  • 08.01.01 : Spain appeals ruling in toxic spill case
  • 03.01.01 : Norway : Prime Minister announced the end of large-scale hydropower developments
  • 02.01.01 : Announcement of an international conference on the impact of reservoirs
    to the emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • 01.01.01 : The text of the Water Framework Directive is online (in all languages).

    Older news

Text :

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 of Ecology.

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 paintball guns!"

Press Release from Daniel Bennett ( 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 longest river.
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 :

Three Gorges Probe is also available in CHINESE at
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For more information and Three Gorges Probe back issues go to
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: Lisa Peryman

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 News Service)

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 river.
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 grounds.
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

14.01.01 : Publication of an EEB report on the Water Framework Directive and the European Union Water Policy

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 E-mail:

11.01.01 : Kenyan Dam Protester Arrested

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 environmental disaster.

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 impunity".
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.


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 Tuesday.

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 participate.

For more information, contact Irene Thavarajah, Congress Manager : or visit the congress website

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

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