13.03.01 : Protesters urge
Spain to scrap water plan
MADRID - More than 100,000 Spaniards marched through
Madrid on Sunday in the latest of a string of protests against a government
plan to drain water from the northern Ebro river to aid the arid southeast.
Around 120,000 protesters took to the streets, police
estimated, but environmental groups and unions behind the protest
put the figure as high as 400,000.
"No to the hydrological plan! It's time for a rational use of
water," read one of the banners carried by protesters.
Ecologists say the $21 billion plan will endanger the environment
and wildlife in the Ebro area, but the government argues it is vital
for Spain's development and complies with environmental standards.
Most protesters had travelled from the northeastern regions of Catalonia
and Aragon, the areas most affected by the project, approved by the
government in February after 15 years of bickering.
In Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, thousands of protesters also flooded
the central square.
Ecologists have argued the plan violates EU rules and would ruin the
habitat of the Iberian lynx, a species on the edge of extinction.
Local agricultural groups say small farms would disappear.
But farmers from the parched area of Almeria and Murcia, set to benefit
from the scheme, argue that current flooding in the north showed there
was water to spare.
"We are not talking about taking water from areas which are short.
They've had so much rain the floods are hard to control and so it
seems logical," one southeastern farmer told the Antena 3 television
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
13.03.01 : Malaisia : the
government wants to go forward with the Bakun dam project !
Construction of a $3.9 billion dam in Malaysia is expected
to resume soon despite harsh criticism from environmentalists and
human rights groups. The Asian financial crisis halted work on the
Bakun Dam in the late 1990s, but the Malaysian government said this
week that it wants to move forward with the project. The dam would
flood more than 187 square miles of rainforest and displace nearly
10,000 indigenous people. Sam Hiu, spokesperson for groups opposing
the dam, said, "While the rest of the world moves forward with
alternatives to large dams, it is utter folly and backward of Malaysia
to go ahead with Bakun."
Source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Wong Choon Mei,
Contact : Gila Neta, International Rivers Network, 1847 Berkeley Way,
Berkeley, CA 94703, USA, tel: (510)848-1155, fax: (510)848-1008, http://www.irn.org
13.03.01 : India / Koel Karo
Dam : 8 anti-dam villagers killed by the police.
The police firing and killing of 8 tribal villagers
opposing the Koel-Karo dam, at Tapkara (Ranchi) on February 2, is
reprehensible and shameful for the first Jharkhand Government. This
pre-planned massacre by the very state which has come into the existence
in the name of the Adivasis, that too for the sake of the project
which Adivasis are resisting, is a against the very raison d'etre
of the Jharkhand state.
The unwarranted police firing and the preceding events as reported
by INSAF-Jharkhand and the Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, calls for further
investigations by the government and suspension of all the police
officers who have been responsible for this killing.
There should be no further action on the part of the Jharkhand state
government to resume the work on the infamous Koel-Karo project. The
Adivasis of Jharkhand, in a unique struggle, have stopped this project
which would destroy their livelihood, forest and other resources.
The government of Jharkhand must repect the decision by the Adivasis
of Koel-Karo river valleys.
Contact : NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS,
C/O Chemical Mazdoor Sabha, Haji Habib Building,Naigoan Cross Rd.,
DADAR(EAST),MUMBAI 400014,( Ph.Off: 022-4150529, Res: Sanjay M.G..5369724
10.03.01 : Toxic chemicals
found in Great Lakes salmon
Scientists have found some of the highest levels of
flame retardant reported in the world for salmon in open waters in
Full article under http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/3934.cfm
10.03.01 : Mozambique 'inches
South Africa has sent food and medicines Torrential
rains and strong winds have claimed two lives in northern Mozambique
and are heading towards the already flooded central region. Mozambique
is inches away from a humanitarian disaster
The UN is warning of a looming humanitarian catastrophe from rising
water levels in the Zambezi river basin.
"With a tropical storm predicted to strike the country this weekend,
Mozambique is inches away from a humanitarian disaster," UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan said in a statement on Thursday. Mozambique's national
weather institute says it is monitoring the progress of the storm
and warns people in areas potentially at risk to move themselves and
their belongings to higher and safer ground. A cyclone across the
Mozambique channel near Madagascar, could also threaten further misery.
The floods have already left 75 people dead and rescue operations
are continuing in the Zambezi valley, despite resistance from local
residents unwilling to leave homes.
The main dams feeding the Zambezi river are full
The UN estimate that 80,000 people have been displaced by the floods
and at least 50,000 more are at immediate risk
Ross Mountain, Geneva director of the UN Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs said UN relief officials were "watching
the weather with great concern".
"Water levels are already very high and rising, and with the
extra water that is expected... this could be catastrophic,"
he said. Region Mozambican Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi, who has
been flying over the flood waters, says that a meeting of countries
who have rivers feeding the Zambezi is to be held in the Zimbabwean
capital, Harare, next week to discuss the management of water flow
from dams. Mozambique radio said on Friday that the Cahora Bassa dam
is full and a fifth sluice gate had been opened. Authorities are considering
opening a sixth.
Thousands have been displaced in Malawi
The UN say the floods on the Zambezi river are the worst for more
than 20 years and cover an estimate area of 1 million hectares (2.47
million acres) of land - between three or four times the size of the
Preperations for floods in Mozambique this year are better than during
the rainy season last year, when more than 700 people died. The heavy
rains and floods have also affected tens of thousands in Malawi, Zambia
09.03.01 : EU probed as German
wetlands saga gets murkier.
BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 9, 2001 (ENS) - In seeking
to promote Airbus Industrie's expansion plans, did the German government
unduly influence the European Commission by asking it to exempt important
wetlands from international protection? A Swedish Member of the European
Parliament is trying to find out.
For full text and graphics, visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/mar2001/2001L-03-09-11.html
09.03.01 : Mozambique : Floods
Should Prompt Dam Rethink
UN Integrated Regional Information Network (Nairobi).
Behind the natural flood disaster that has swamped central Mozambique
and threatens far more damage is a human failure of management and
coordination between the dams along the Zambezi river, according to
a regional water expert.
The giant Kariba dam in Zambia and Mozambique's Cahora Bassa "do
not talk to each other", Brian Davies at the University of Cape
Town told IRIN on Thursday. They have failed to scientifically manage
the flow of water along the 258 km stretch of the Zambezi that could
have helped avert the current crisis in which both dams are full,
and are now being forced to discharge water into an already flooded
"There is no flow management. The dams have operated at minimal
discharge on the mythical understanding that the more water there
is in the dam the more money there is in the bank through the generation
of hydro-power," said Davies, who worked on the initial ecological
assessment of Cahora Bassa 25 years ago. "The people of Mozambique
are at the butt end of this dreadfully managed system."
What is needed instead is a coordinated Zambezi river basin scheme
that would allow dam engineers to release water ahead of the wet season,
to leave enough room in the reservoirs to cope with increased water
levels during the rains, Davies said. In the current crisis, Kariba
is at peak capacity of 85 billion mt of water and Cahora Bassa at
63 billion mt. An accident such as a wall crack or a cascade of water
over the lip of the reservoirs due to the intense pressure on the
ageing dams would have "catastrophic" consequences, the
The Zambezi river basin in Mozambique is a naturally occurring flood
plain. In the past, human habitation patterns took flooding into account.
When the waters subsided, people would move in to plant in the rich
soils, and shift to higher ground when the floods returned, Davies
said. But the construction of Cahora Bassa has meant that communities
have settled much closer to the river.
Managed water releases ahead of the January to March rains would have
an impact on settlements along the Zambezi, Davies acknowledged. "People
will have to start changing their patterns of living. I know it is
a difficult decision to take and would require enormous infrastructural
aid," he said. But "one of these days there will be a cyclonic
event" that the full dams would be unable to cope with. "The
route to go is to develop a communication strategy using present technology
to, in tandem, draw down dam levels and plan for upstream flooding.
That's what SADC (the Southern African Development Community) should
be doing." Davies added: "Once the (current) aid programme
has rescued these people in central Mozambique we need capacity building
for a Zambezi river basin plan, that bangs engineers' heads together."
: Record floods claim seven lives in Ukraine
KIEV, Ukraine, March 9, 2001 (ENS) - Rapidly melting
snow and heavy rain caused the Tisza River and its tributaries to
rise to record levels, provoking some of the worst flooding in Central
Europe in decades. Wide areas in the river basin region common to
Hungary, Romania and Ukraine have been affected, forcing whole communities
from their homes.
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/mar2001/2001L-03-09-01.html
06.03.01 : Medicinemen, activists
pray for decommissioning of Navajo Dam.
NAVAJO DAM, N. MEX., March 6 -- An unusual alliance
of environmentalists and Native American traditional and spiritual
leaders gathered today at the crest of Navajo Dam on the San Juan
River east of Farmington, New Mexico, to conduct a healing ceremony
for the river and for the decommissioning of Navajo Dam.
This site was chosen as the second stop in our five-state "Sustainable
Water Project Tour" of the Southwest sponsored by Glen Canyon
Action Network, Living Rivers, the Diné Medicinemens Association,
and 121 organizations in the U.S. and Mexico, to focus public attention
on the need for restoration of the Colorado River watershed and its
We were forced to delay our 3:00 PM damsite ceremony beyond its originally
planned start time while we waited for uninvited law enforcement officials
to leave the area, and provide for a calm environment in which to
conduct the ceremony.
Activists joined leaders of the Diné Medicinemens Association
(DMA) and the Peace & Dignity Spirit Runners to grieve the loss
of a large number of sacred sites inundated by the waters of Navajo
Reservoir, following construction of Navajo Dam in 1962.
Over the course of the day, DMA President Thomas Morris, Jr. of Window
Rock, Arizona, conducted three ceremonies calling for the restoration
of ecological and cultural resources along the San Juan River and
throughout the Colorado River basin.
"I came here early in the morning today to pray for the river,
Earth, and sky, and apologize for what has been done to harm them,"
said Mr. Morris who as a young man visited the sacred area now flooded
beneath Navajo Reservoir with his grandfather, also a medicineman.
"The costs we have been forced to pay for the convenience of
storing all this water are only now being accounted for."
Ancient archeological and ceremonial sites, as well as the entire
town of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, were submerged beneath the rising
waters of the reservoir almost forty years ago.
Costs for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP) near Farmington,
for example, are still rising, thirty years after the project was
supposed to have brought prosperity to the Navajo people. Water from
Navajo Reservoir is used by the Navajo Nation to grow mostly low-value
crops, such as alfalfa and potatoes. Recently, the Tribal Council
approved a $10 million dollar bailout for the fiscally troubled program.
Once we had been notified that the damsite was occupied by law enforcement
officers prior to our prearranged 1:00 PM ceremony, we chose instead
to conduct a service at an undisclosed nearby site downstream of the
dam. We met on the banks of the San Juan River to pray for the river's
release to allow the San Juan to flow unimpeded to the sea.
"This river, once a vital tributary to the Colorado River, is
sick and dying," said John Weisheit, President of GCAN. "Dams
and diversions are now draining the river dry."
While the riverside ceremony was underway, law enforcement officers,
thinking the event at the dam's crest had been cancelled, left the
area. Once the natural calm had been restored, we caravaned to the
dam where the last ceremony of the day was conducted.
After a series of traditional prayers, songs, and drumming, the ceremony
concluded by pouring into the tour's water tanker truck a symbolic
donation taken from Navajo Reservoir.
The truck, emblazoned with the slogan "An Ecosystem, Not a Plumbing
System," accepted the water donation for later delivery downstream
in a demonstration of the need for restoring water flows to the river's
delta in Mexico.
We departed from Navajo Dam in high spirits, heading south for Albuquerque,
New Mexico, the next stop on our tour, where we will rally at noon
on Wednesday, March 7, at City Hall, calling on the City to give back
one percent of its contracted water from the San Juan River diversion
to help keep the Colorado River delta alive.
G L E N C A N Y O N A C T I O N N E T W O R K
People for the Integrity of the Colorado River
PO Box 466, Moab, UT 84532 (21 N. Main St.) Tel: 435.259.1063 Fax:
Restore Glen Canyon, Save Grand Canyon, Drain "Lake" Powell
04.03.01 : China: Two more
Yangtze dams planned
The South China Morning Post reports that China will
build two additional multi-billion-dollar reservoirs on the Yangtze
River to generate power and trap sediment that would otherwise congest
the Three Gorges Dam.
The two dams, Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba, will on the Jinsha River, which
is on the Yangtze's upper reach in Sichuan province, Xinhua News Agency
reported. The China Yangtze Three Gorges Project Development Corporation,
an affiliate of the Ministry of Water Resources, will build all three
Company officials said these two dams will generate nearly as much
power as Three Gorges. But a more crucial function is to trap sediment
that would otherwise build up at Three Gorges Dam downstream.
Worsening soil erosion and floods have made the Yangtze River muddier
in recent years. About 710 million tonnes of sediment passed through
the Three Gorges portion of the river in 1998, more than the average
530 tonnes per year noted in the pre-1990s feasibility report. Many
experts have worried the sediment could silt up Three Gorges Dam,
which would halt electricity generation and flood control.
For related story see: Three Gorges Probe Press Release,
February 14, 2001
03.03.01 : Non-profit company
can go ahead with acquisition of Welsh Water
The Department of Trade and Industry has announced
that the proposed acquisition of Welsh Water by the non-profit organisation,
Glas Cymru, will not be referred to the Competition Commission.
For full text : http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/3914.cfm
02.03.01: Controversial dam
project in Belize.
Environmentalists are mounting an international campaign
against the proposed Chalillo dam on the Macal River in Belize, fearful
that critical jungle habitat for tapirs, jaguars, and scarlet macaws
could be lost.
The dam project, which has the support of the Belize government, was
first proposed in the early 1990s to wean the country from its dependence
on electricity bought from Mexico and heavily polluting diesel-powered
generators. Prime Minister Said Musa said, "We don't think it
is fair for these environmental groups to be beating up Belize over
this little dam when their own countries have so many of them."
But opponents say the cost of building the new dam would be exorbitant,
and they doubt the project would actually lower electricity rates.
The U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council has placed the Macal
on its list of ecologically significant areas around the world that
are threatened by development.
Source: New York Times, David Gonzalez, 02 Mar 2001
02.03.01 : German
justice allows the building of a highly controversial factory building
on a protected wetland
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has strongly criticised
Germany for lifting a court-ordered delay to develop part of a German
wetland, protected under the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
For full text : http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/3910.cfm