INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Contents:

    Latest news

  • 28.02.01 : Conference: "The role of Water in History and Development"
  • 27.02.01 : Sand muddies legal waters in German wetland fight
  • 25.02.01 : Thousands march in Spain to protest the national hydraulic plan
  • 23.02.01 : Controversial US dams violate Clean Water Act
  • 20.02.01 : People and nature in danger if dam recommendations not implemented says WWF
  • 17.02.01: Spanish government approves controversial water plan.
    17.02.01: Le gouvernement espagnol donne son feu vert au très controversé projet hydraulique.
  • 16.02.01 : Water for People and Nature: A Forum on Conservation and Human Rights
  • 14.02.01 : China : Official internal documents say that the Three Gorges dam will lead to huge environmental problems and will not provide the promised flood control.
  • 12.02.01 : Portugal : Activists are fighting against the biggest dam project of Europe.
    12.02.01 : Un projet de barrage géant mobilise les défenseurs de l'environnement au Portugal.
  • 04.02.01: Court upholds protection of river Danube
  • 02.02.01 : World Wetlands Day
  • 01.02.01 : Indian Quake Shakes Up Fear Of Dam Collapse

    Older news

Text :

28.02.01 : Conference: "The role of Water in History and Development"

The International Water History Association presents the conference:
"THE ROLE OF WATER IN HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT"
10th -12th August 2001, University of Bergen, Norway.
More information on http://www.iwha.net

This conference will bring together researchers from different disciplines who all study the character and role of freshwater in history and development. It is organised in co-operation with UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme and CROP, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty. Abstracts from 80 countries have been reviewed and about 200 papers are accepted. The conference will have three 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. - to discuss content and profile of a multi-volume World Water History planned by UNESCO in cooperation with IWHA. The conference will offer opportunities for researchers to present perspectives on water history useful for the book series. The conference is divided into different themes which are: A: The political economy of water ownership and control B: Images of water (in religion, myths, literature and art) C: History of hydrology and water control D: Narratives on the river and the dam E: The engineering of water systems engineers,entrepreneurs and bureaucrats F: Institutional frameworks for solving the disputes in conflict waters G: History of water, sanitation and health H: Water, poverty and social development I: Freshwater and the coastal zone integrated and ecological management. J: Regional waters in a historical perspective K: Water and Civilization. Why History is Vital to Reframing Current Water Policy Debates. X: Others
Further information from: Alv Terje Fotland, IWHA conference coordinator, Centre for development studies, University of Bergen, Stromgaten 54 5007 BERGEN Alv.Fotland@sfu.uib.no
http://www.iwha.net

27.02.01 : Sand muddies legal waters in German wetland fight

Source : ENS, Neville Judd
Environmentalists and orchard growers have lost an important court decision in the battle to
prevent Airbus Industrie from filling in part of Mühlenberger Loch, the
largest freshwater tidal ecosystem in Europe.

The Airbus Industrie wants to fill in 420 acres of Mühlenberger Loch in order to extend its Hamburg factory, which makes A319 and A321 aircraft. The extended facility would be for a new line of luxury jumbos, the A380s, to be outfitted with internal furnishings.
Mühlenberger Loch is the largest freshwater tidal mudflat in the 15 member European Union. Its 1,668 acres (675 hectares) provide critical habitat for 70 species of migratory birds. For three birds in particular - the shoveler (Anas clypeata), the teal (Anas crecca), and the little gull (Larus minutus) - the loch is considered a site of international importance.
The loch is not only protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, but is protected by two other international agreements - the European Union Flora, Fauna, and Habitat Directives, and the European Bird Protection Directives.
Last year though, the European Commission agreed with the German government that "imperative reasons of overriding public interest" outweighed the adverse environmental effects of allowing Airbus Industrie to extend the plant.
For full text and graphics, visit: http://ens.lycos.com/ens/feb2001/2001L-02-27-11.htm
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You can find another article on the subject under http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/3865.html

25.02.01 : Thousands march in Spain to protest the national hydraulic plan

Source : The Associated Press
Tens of thousands of Spaniards marched to Barcelona Sunday to protest a proposed $23 billion water project which would include a major river transfer and the construction of some 120 dams. Accompanied by musical bands and street entertainers, the protesters marched behind a group of children dressed in green with signs that read "And What About Us? No To The Water Transfer." Protesters, many bussed in from surrounding provinces, included farmers, ecologists, academics and labor union representatives.
Barcelona police estimated the crowd size at 80,000 while organizers claimed 300,000 attended. More than 400,000 demonstrated against the National Hydrological Plan in the northeastern city of Zaragoza last October, and another protest is scheduled for Madrid on March 11. The plan, recently approved by the Spanish government and now before Parliament for final approval, involves taking water from the mouth of the northeastern Ebro river, the country's most voluminous, and funneling most of it down to the semi-arid southeastern areas of Valencia, Almeria and Murcia for agricultural and urban purposes.
But the project, while backed by a majority of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, has triggered a heated debate over Spain's water resources and needs. The center-right government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar insists the plan will eliminate the historic imbalance between northern Spain, where water is considered plentiful, and the often parched southeast.
However, many people in regions such as northern Aragon and Catalonia-through which the Ebro flows-believe it is simply a means for the government to channel money toward Spain's powerful construction and electrical sectors. They also claim the plan, which is expected to be funded by the European Union, will have far-reaching negative environmental affects.
"This is more like a national cement plan rather than a national water plan," said opposition Socialist party member and former Justice Minister Alberto Belloch. "It's based on a model from the past, from the beginning of the century, not one that concerns itself with Spain of today."

23.02.01 : Controversial US dams violate Clean Water Act

A federal district court has ruled that the US government's operation of four dams on the lower Snake River violates the Clean Water Act, proving that that the dams raise water temperatures and dissolved nitrogen above mandatory water quality standards.
Full article under http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/3879.html

17.02.01: Spanish government approves controversial water plan.

The Spanish Cabinet has given the go-ahead to the nationís largest ever water project despite wide-scale protests from environmentalists and local people.
The most controversial part of the plan is the construction of a 700 kilometre canal to divert water from the Ebro basin in the north to the south-eastern region of Almeria.
Full article under : http://www.edie.net

Furher information can be found under :
Spanish Environment Ministry (in Spanish only)
National Hydraulic Plan (in Spanish only)
Ecologists in Action (in Spanish only)
Greenpeace Spain (link from main site in Spanish only)

See also our Iberian pages.

17.02.01: Le gouvernement espagnol donne son feu vert au très controversé projet hydraulique.

Le gouvernement espagnol a donné son accord le plus important projet hydraulique que l'Espagne ait jamais connu, cela malgré la forte opposition des écologistes et des communautés locales.
Un des projets les plus controversé de ce plan est la construction d'un canal de 700 km qui permettrait d'envoyer de l'eau du bassin de l'Ebre (au nord) vers la région d'Alméria au sud-est du pays.
Article complet (en anglais) sur http://www.edie.net

Pour avoir plus d'information (sites en espagnol):
Ministère de l'Environnement espagnol
Plan Hydraulique National
Ecologists in Action
Greenpeace Spain

16.02.01 : Water for People and Nature: A Forum on Conservation and Human Rights

http://www.canadians.org/blueplanet
University of British Columbia Campus, Vancouver, British Columbia July 5-8, 2001

Water resources around the world are under pressure. Pollution, depletion and privatization are putting more and more of this shared and precious resource in jeopardy. Water for People and Nature: An International Forum on Conservation and Human Rights will produce a platform to ensure that water conservation and every person's fundamental right to clean, safe water become the focus of strategies for water in this century.

The conference will bring together water experts, activists and municipal leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and debate. Workshops will allow participants the opportunity to discuss the central issues facing water today and contribute to a final report towards a plan to achieve environmental and social justice.

Confirmed Speakers:
Maude Barlow, Tony Clark, Michael Kravcik, Stephen Lewis, Patrick McCully, Riccardo Petrella, Robin Round and Steven Shrybman.

Registration and Accomodation All necessary information can be found online at the web address noted above. Registertoday. The deadline is approaching fast. A travel bursary is available for those who need help.

Deadline for applications is March 15, 2001.

If you are having difficulty reaching us via the internet, we can be contacted at The Council of Canadians, 001-613-233-4487 extension 400 (in Canada dial toll free 1-800-387-7177). Our fax number is 001-613-233-6776.

14.02.01 : China : Official internal documents say that the Three Gorges dam will lead to huge environmental problems and will not provide the promised flood control.

Chinese officials alarmed at looming environmental crisis at Three Gorges dam, internal documents reveal

Dam will not provide reliable power or control Yangtze floods. "Never, ever let the public know this," warns eminent Chinese scientist

Three Gorges Probe has obtained leaked correspondence between China's top leadership that reveals growing alarm over the threat of unmitigated water pollution and other environmental destruction in the Three Gorges dam reservoir. The correspondence also reveals that officials know the dam will not provide its promised flood control capacity and that Three Gorges power will be unreliable and probably expensive.

You can get more information under :
http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/3g/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=1716
and http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/3g/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=1717

General information on the Three Gorges dam project :
http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/3g/

12.02.01 : Portugal : Activists are fighting against one of the biggest dam project of Europe.

In Portugal, conservationists are mobilizing : the cutting down of 1,3 millions trees is beginning this month to enable the construction of what is said to be the biggest european artificial reservoir.
The dam, located on the Guadiana river, is half-financed by the European Union and should be over by the end of next year.
The reservoir, 80 km long, will cover 25 000 hectares. It will flood several archaeological sites and habitats of several protected species.
It will supply the whole area with electricity and create 20,000 employments to one of the poorest part of Europe but conservationists said that it is a planned disaster.
To know more about the Alqueva dam project : http://www.despodata.pt/geota/ingles/alqueva.htm

12.02.01 : Un projet de barrage géant mobilise les défenseurs de l'environnement au Portugal.

LISBONNE (AP). Les défenseurs de l'environnement au Portugal se mobilisent: l'abattage d'1,3 millions d'arbres va commencer ce mois-ci, pour permettre la construction de ce qui est présenté comme le plus grand lac de barrage d'Europe.
L'abattage devrait prendre un an, selon EDIA, la société publique qui supervise le projet.
La construction du barrage sur la rivière Guadiana, dans l'Alentejo (sud-est du Portugal), co-financée pour moitié par l'Union européenne, doit être terminée d'ici l'année prochaine.
Elle donnera naissance à un lac de 25.000 hectares, sur 80 km. Ce lac viendra inonder plusieurs sites archéologiques remontant au néolithique: les objets qu'ils contiennent seront transférés dans des musées de la région. Seront également réinstallés plusieurs colonies d'une espèce rare de chauves-souris, mais l'habitat de plusieurs espèces protégées d'oiseaux va être détruit.
Selon Lisbonne, ce projet permettra de fournir de l'électricité à toute la région, ainsi que des moyens d'irrigation dans une zone très aride. Il devrait permettre la création de 20.000 emplois dans ce qui est l'une des régions les plus défavorisées d'Europe.
Mais les défenseurs de l'environnement du groupe portugais Quercus ne sont pas d'accord: il s'agit d'un ''désastre délibéré, planifié'', selon leur porte-parole Jose Paulo Martins. Il estime que la retenue ne devrait être remplie que progressivement, en fonction des besoins de la région, qu'il juge être inférieurs à ce qu'annonce le gouvernement.
L'Alentejo, province rurale, a un revenu moyen inférieur à 60% du revenu moyen de l'Union européenne.
Pour en savoir plus sur le projet de barrage d'Alqueva : http://www.despodata.pt/geota/ingles/alqueva.htm

04.02.01: Court upholds protection of river Danube

LUXEMBOURG - The European Court of Justice dismissed a bid from Spain to annul the Convention on cooperation for the protection and sustainable use of the river Danube and approved its adoption under a qualified majority vote.

The disputed Danube Convention, according to the Council, was adopted to promote at the international level measures designed to deal with a very specific regional environmental problem - namely the pollution of one of the longest rivers in Europe, which flows through two member states and a number of non-member countries and sets out to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to encourage the prudent and rational use of the resources of the river Danube as well as to protect human health.

For full article : http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=9685

02.02.01 : World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day features the good, the bad and the ugly GLAND, Switzerland, February 2, 2001 (ENS) - Albanians and Indonesians are planting trees, in Eritrea, they are counting birds and in Greece children are painting posters. From Panama to Pakistan and Trinidad to Thailand, people are celebrating World Wetlands Day on this, the 30th anniversary of the signing of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. (ENS)

For full text and graphics, visit: http://ens.lycos.com/ens/feb2001/2001L-02-02-10.html

01.02.01 : Indian Quake Shakes Up Fear Of Dam Collapse

AHMEDABAD, India, (ENS) - As India struggles to come to grips with devastation and loss after the worst earthquake in living memory, critics of a controversial dam on the Narmada River warn that it is located in a seismically active zone of Gujarat state.
By Tara Chand Malhotra
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/feb2001/2001L-02-01-01.html

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