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"Newer " news

  • 13.03.01 : Protesters urge Spain to scrap water plan
  • 13.03.01 : Malaisia : the government wants to go forward with the Bakun dam project !
  • 13.03.01 : India / Koel Karo Dam : 8 anti-dam villagers killed by the police.
  • 10.03.01 : Toxic chemicals found in Great Lakes salmon
  • 10.03.01 : Mozambique 'inches from disaster'
  • 09.03.01 : EU probed as German wetlands saga gets murkier.
  • 09.03.01 : Mozambique : Floods Should Prompt Dam Rethink
  • 09.03.01 : Record floods claim seven lives in Ukraine
  • 06.03.01 : Medicinemen, activists pray for decommissioning of Navajo Dam.
  • 04.03.01 : China: Two more Yangtze dams planned
  • 03.03.01 : Non-profit company can go ahead with acquisition of Welsh Water
  • 02.03.01: Controversial dam project in Belize.
  • 02.03.01 : German justice allows the building of a highly controversial factory building on a protected wetland

    Older news

Text :

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 channel.

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,

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 Email:

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 Lake Michigan.

Full article under

10.03.01 : Mozambique 'inches from disaster'

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 Netherlands.
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 and Zimbabwe.

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:

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 river system.
"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 ecologist warned.
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."

09.03.01 : 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:

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 delta.
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.
Contact :
People for the Integrity of the Colorado River
PO Box 466, Moab, UT 84532 (21 N. Main St.) Tel: 435.259.1063 Fax: 435.259.7612,
Restore Glen Canyon, Save Grand Canyon, Drain "Lake" Powell Now!!!

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 dams.
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 :

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.
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