Macedonia: the Disappearance of Dojran Lake
SKOPJE, Macedonia, By Natasha Dokovska - Dojran Lake is dying. Situated
in the southeastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, the lake is
shared in almost equal parts between Macedonia and the Greece. Today
with a serious drought in the region, Dojran Lake is evaporating.
Once characterized by the highest fish growth rate in Europe, Dojran
Lake has rapidly shrunk to a third of its former size. In the middle
of the lake, more than 50 islands have appeared as severe drought
has caused a steep drop in the water level.
The citizens in the little town of Dojran on the shore of the lake
are in a panic over this situation and frightened for their survival.
They say that in the past, two or three islands may have appeared
in the middle of the lake during dry years, but this phenomena did
not endanger the existence of the lake. In the past, the situation
grew worse every year, but now the lake is visibly drying up every
Dojran Lake fish are still caught
in an old fashioned way using cormorants. From wooden huts on stakes
situated in the water, fishermen use the trained birds to drive schools
of fish into a trap. The huts are now on dry land, and a unique way
of fishing is vanishing.
Of the total number of streams feeding the Dojran Lake from the surrounding
watershed, 67 percent belong to Greece and 33 percent toMacedonia.
Any activity disturbing the water balance in this basin also has a
negative impact on the lake.
Due to exploitation of the water in Dojran Lake and the streams feeding
it, the lake level has dropped 2.5 meters (eight feet) below the minimum
water level stipulated in the 1956 bilateral agreement with Greece.
Dojran Lake has a surface area of 42.5 square kilometers (16.4 square
miles). On October 1, when officials from Macedonia's Environment
Ministry measured the lake's depth, it was 348 centimeters (11.4 feet)
below the optimal level. The Macedonian Environment Minister Vladimir
Dzabirski says this is largest retreat of the lake ever.
With an average depth of 1.5 meters (4.8 feet) and a three meter (9.7
foot) maximum depth, the lake is turning into a swamp. The plants
and animals are dying out, and various diseases infect the fish.
A group of experts from the Biology Institute, having followed the
life of Dojran Lake for over 50 years, say it is unlikely that the
lake will ever grow back to its original size.
Some experts recommend a change in the course of the nearby Anska
River in order to stop further disappearance of the lake.
The person responsible for the project, Kaja Sukova from the Environment
Ministry, says that it would take more than five million German marks
to divert the river. To date, the Environment Ministry has received
five million German marks towards this project, but according Sukova
that is not enough.
International public pressure is necessary to provide the support
for a solution to this ecological problem.
Meanwhile, the absence of joint action by the local government and
Macedonian authorities, and lack of cooperative action between Macedonia
and Greece, could soon result in the disappearance Dojran Lake from
the world map.
Source : ENS
13.10.01: German Federal and
Regional Ministers of Environment against new Czech dams.
ERN - In Germany, the regional Minister of Environment
from Saxony as well as the Federal Minister of Environment have strongly
criticized the Czech dam project on the Elbe river just next to the
German border. These dams meant to improve shipping would be built
close to two national parks.
In a 9 pages documents, the Federal Minister of Environment (M. Treetin,
Green party) criticized the impact assessment that was presented by
the Czech Republic. In this text, he declares that the present state
of the Elbe has not been taken into account and that the assessment
does not specify if there will be a trans-boundary impact*. M. Trettin
also declared that a meeting of international experts should be organized.
The Minister of Environment of Saxony (M. Flath, CDU (right-wing party))
also criticized the project, arguing that it was not economically
* the two countries are signatories of the ESPOO
convention regulating projects having (or that can have) an impact
on several countries.
13.10.01: Deutschland: Umweltminister
gegen neue Elbe-Staudämme in Tschechien.
Der deutsche Bundesumweltminister Trettin (Grüne)
sowie der sächsische Umweltminister Flath (CDU) haben grundsätzliche
Bedenken gegen die zwei geplanten Staustufen in der tschechischen
Elbe nahe der Grenze geäussert. Mit dem Staustufenbau soll ein
bessere Befahrbarkeit der Elbe gewährleistet werden. In einem
9 seitigen Brief an die tschechische Regierung kritisierte Trettin
die Ergebnisse der von der tschechischen Regierung vorgelegten Umweltverträglichkeitsstudie.
Der Istzustand der Elbe sei ebenso mangelhaft dargestellt wie die
möglichen Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt. Der tschechischen Regierung
sei es somit nicht gelungen nachzuweisen, dass grenzüberschreitende
Auswirkungen durch den Staustufenbau auszuschliessen sind. Der Bundesminister
soll zudem das tschechische Umweltministerium gebeten, ein Expertentreffen
Der sächsiche Umweltminister seinerseits hatte wiederholt auf
die Unwirtschaftlichkeit des Projektes hingewiesen und darauf hingewiesen,
dass Wasserqualität, Fauna und Flora durch den Staufenbau gefährdet
ERN, sowie die Allianz zur Erhaltung der Elbe in Sachsen und Böhmen
sowie die Bürgeriniative Naturnahe Elbe führen ihre Kampagnegegen
das unsinnige Projekt weiter.
Infos erhalten sie auf unserem Server für Lebendige Flüsse
12.10.01: Power plant resettlement
scheme heats up in Vietnam
Deutsche Presse-Agentur - Planned relocations of tens
of thousands of families in Vietnam's remote northwest have hit a
snag as squatters have claimed land set aside for the resettlement,
officials said Friday.
Forty households have taken up residence in Lai Chau province's Ban
Dong area, where officials had planned to resettle up to 200 families
in a two-year pilot project beginning this month to make way for the
massive Son La hydroelectric dam. The squatters, ethnic Hmong from
a nearby commune, have been allowed by authorities to stay. "We
have found another place and will let these people stay there,"
said Vu Duc Thin of power monopoly Electricity of Vietnam. The developments,
while on a small scale, portend a potential clash between authorities
intent on providing new homes for the displaced and local ethnic groups
seeking arable lands in the region.
The Son La dam, Vietnam's largest infrastructure project, has already
been approved in principle by communist leaders, but its dimensions
have yet to be finalised.
In the planning stages for years, the dam's reservoir will flood up
to 44,700 hectares of land in Son La and Lai Chau, and require resettlement
of 100,000 people, mostly ethnic minorities, by the time it is completed
The government has earmarked 660 million U.S. dollars for resettlement.
But the plan has drawn fire from local officials as well as foreign
diplomats concerned over how Vietnam intends to foot the 3-5 billion
U.S. dollar bill for the project, given the reluctance of Western
donors to support schemes that force large-scale displacement of people.
09.10.01: Water sources
for China Yellow River dry up
BEIJING - More than 2,000 lakes that nurture China's once ferocious
Yellow River in the western province of Qinghai are disappearing and
causing water shortages for the local people, state-run Xinhua said
on the weekend.
Dubbed "China's Sorrow" for its disastrous floods over the
centuries, the nation's second-longest Yellow River waterway has been
dying over the years, harmed by excessive water use and pollution.
Global warming had also taken its toll, putting pressure on the Yellow
River's water supply for several consecutive years, Xinhua news agency
Over half of the ground rivers and lakes in Qinghai's Madoi county
- formerly known as a "county of thousands of lakes" - had
already disappeared, making 30 percent of the county's grassland vanish
and harming grazing activities, it said.
Drought this summer had deprived local livestock of sufficient food
and dried up more than 120 of the county's sources of drinking water,
Although now tame, China has fought a long battle to control the unpredictable
Meticulous reports of the river's torment have been kept since the
7th century B.C. and flooding along its densely-populated lower reaches
became so rampant in the 17th and 18th centuries the Qing dynasty
emperor created a high-ranking government post to address the problem.
Source : Planetark
Commission on Environment of the European Parliament approves the
amendment against the Spanish National Hydrological Plan.
The Commission of Environment of the European Parliament
has approved today the amendment presented by Laura GONZÁLEZ
ÁLVAREZ, María SORNOSA MARTÍNEZ and Alexander
de ROO against the Spanish National Hydroelectric Plan in the in the
context of the report "Rating Policy for a Development of a Sustainable
Water Management". " We are very satisfied with the approval
of this amendment " - Alexander de Roo declares. " It is
a very important signal that the Parliament wants to transmit today
to Spanish authorities and European Commission. This Plan does not
take into account the necessity to develop a rating policy of water
according to sustainability criteria. If in addition we consider that
this Plan is develop in a context of a policy of privatization of
water on the part of the Spanish government, we can doubt that sustainability
of the water resource has been taken into account ".
Text of the approved amendment: "Is deeply worried about the
precedent set by proposals for the development of unsustainable water
management schemes across Europe, such as the Spanish National Hydrological
Plan (NHP), adopted by the Spanish Senate on 20 June 2001 and which
includes proposals to build up to 118 new dams and widespread irrigation
infrastructure, as they do not address the issue of sustainable water
use through pricing mechanisms and other water conservation measures"
More information on the National Hydrological
La Commission à l'Environnement du Parlement Européen
vote l'amendement contre le Plan Hydrologique National espagnol.
Avec 29 voix pour et 19 contre, la Commission à
l'Environnement du Parlement Européen a approuvé aujourd'hui
l'amendement présenté par Laura GONZÁLEZ ÁLVAREZ,
María SORNOSA MARTÍNEZ et Alexander de ROO contre le
Plan Hydrologique National dans le cadre du rapport " Politique
de tarification pour un développement d'une gestion durable
des ressources en eau ". Alexander de Roo se dit satisfait de
ce vote : " C'est un message important que la Commission à
l'Environnement fait passer aux autorités espagnoles et à
la Commission Européenne. Ce Plan ne contient pas de politique
de tarification et un usage non rationnel des ressources fait augmenter
la demande. Et lorsque l'on voit que ce Plan se fait dans le cadre
d'une privatisation de l'eau en Espagne, on ne peut que douter que
les objectifs d'une gestion durable de la ressource aient été
pris en compte.
Voici le texte de l'amendement : " Exprime son inquiétude
quant aux récentes séries de propositions de gestion
non durable de l'eau en Europe, tel le Plan Hydrologique National
espagnol qui propose la construction de 118 nouveaux barrages et le
développement d'une importante infrastructure d'irrigation.
Ces propositions en effet n'abordent pas la question d'un usage et
d'une gestion raisonnés de l'eau à travers des mécanismes
de tarification ou d'autres moyens de sauvegarde de la ressources.
sur le Plan Hydrologique National
04.10.01: A new strategy for
the bulgarian danube islands will ensure the protection of natural
The Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Forests
and the Ministry of Environment and Water adopted a Strategy for the
protection and restoration of natural floodplain forests on the Bulgarian
Danube islands. The strategy was developed in cooperation between
the two ministries, the Danube-Carpathian Programme of WWF-International
and Bulgarian environmental NGOs.
On 2 October 2001, the strategy and the new ministerial policy for
sustainable management of the island forests was jointly presented
to the media by Mrs. Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy Minister of Agriculture
and Forests, Mrs. Fatme Iliaz, Deputy Minister of Environment and
Water, and Mr. Philip Weller, Director of the Danube Carpathian Programme
The new policy for the protection of the floodplain forests on the
Danube islands is a contribution of our country to the creation of
the Lower Danube Green Corridor of wetlands and floodplain habitats,
based on the Declaration signed in June 2000 by the Ministers of Environment
of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldavia. The Lower Danube is one
of the world's richest ecological regions. The floodplain forests
on the Bulgarian Danube islands are unique natural habitats with essential
environmental functions, supporting rare and globally threatened species
of animals and plants. According to the legislation of the European
Union, these habitats have to be placed under special protection.
The strategy provides for the stopping of the logging and conversion
of floodplain forests to poplar plantations on the Danube islands,
restoration of forests of native species in selected sites, where
this is feasible and ecologically justified, as well as strengthening
of the protected areas network on the islands. The strategy also envisages
the implementation of measures for the mitigation of possible negative
economic consequences from the reduced production of poplar timber,
such as improvement of the management within the already existing
poplar plantations to achieve higher profits, instead of their further
The specific steps for the implementation of the strategy and their
financial estimates will be elaborated in an Action Plan for the Protection
and Restoration of Floodplain Forests on the Bulgarian Danube Islands,
which is currently under preparation. The Action Plan will also provide
a comparative economic analysis of alternative land use options on
the Danube islands.
According to Mr. Weller, "the Strategy for the Protection and
Restoration of Floodplain Forests on the Bulgarian Danube Islands
is an impressive example of cooperation among the institutions, as
well as for the leading role of the forestry sector for the sustainable
management of the natural heritage of Bulgaria". WWF International
welcomes Bulgaria's "Strategy for the Protection and Restoration
of the Danube Islands" which provides important lessons and contributes
to WWF's global strategy on forest landscape restoration.
03.10.01: New Pacific Institute
Report Examines Water Flow in Colorado River Delta Region
The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment, and Security is pleased to announce the release of Missing
Water: The Uses and Flows of Water in the Colorado River Delta Region.
This new study describes the fate of the millions of acre-feet of
water diverted from the Colorado River at and below Imperial Dam,
and the total inflows to and outflows from the Colorado River delta
region more generally.
This study uses the classic hydrologic boundaries of the delta region
described by Godfrey Sykes in 1937, encompassing some 3,325 square
miles (8,611 km2) in the states of Arizona, Baja California, California,
and Sonora, including the Imperial, Mexicali, and San Luis valleys,
Yuma Project lands, and the lower Coachella Valley. The study period
examines the flows and uses of water in the years 1991-1998, divided
into Flood and Non-Flood years to reflect the tremendous variability
of mainstem Colorado River flows.
Missing Water compiles flow data along the mainstem and along diversions
within the delta region, the first time such data has been compiled
for the region as a whole. The study also reports consumptive uses
of water in the agricultural and urban sectors, and estimates such
use by the environment. Agricultural use is also reported for the
major crops in the region, both by acreage and by water use.
Missing Water may be downloaded from the Pacific Institute website
Hard copies of the report may be purchased by sending a check or money
order for $10 ($8 for academics and non-profits) payable to the Pacific
Institute. Please send to:
Pacific Institute - Missing Water 654 13th Street Oakland CA 94612
A Spanish-language version will be available shortly.
Also available online is:
MJ Cohen, C Henges-Jeck, and G Castillo-Moreno. 2001. A preliminary
water balance for the Colorado River delta, 1992-1998. Journal of
Arid Environments 49:35-48.
This article provides a more detailed analysis of the flows of water
within the remnant portion of the delta in Mexico.
Ilisu/Türkei : Internationales Bündnis von Nichtregierungsorganisationen
Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung für türkischen
Ilisu-Staudamm Pressemitteilung Ein internationales Bündnis aus
acht Nichtregierungsorganisationen stellt heute ihre Antwort auf die
Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung für den türkischen
Ilisu-Staudamm vor. Dieser soll mit Lieferbürgschaften abgesichert
werden. Ihre Entscheidung über eine Hermesbürgschaft will
die Bundesregierung von der Auswertung der Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung
abhängig machen. Damit ist der Ilisu-Staudamm ein bedeutender
Testfall für die neuen Hermes-Leitlinien.
Der Ilisu-Staudamm soll den Tigris kurz vor der Grenze zu Syrien und
dem Irak aufstauen. Kritiker warnen seit langem, dass Tausende von
Kurden und Kurdinnen vertrieben, bedeutende Kulturgüter unwiederbringlich
zerstört und der Wasserkonflikt in Nahost verschärft würden.
Im Juli diesen Jahres wurde nach langer Verzögerung die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung
(UVP) für den Staudamm veröffentlicht. Ein Bündnis
von Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NRO) hat diese einer kritischen
"In weiten Passagen ist die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung
oberflächlich, lückenhaft und voreingenommen". "Trotz
entgegengesetzter Beteuerungen werden internationale Standards für
UVPs bei weitem nicht erfüllt." Die UVP enthalte weder einen
Umsiedlungsplan, noch werde das Gebiet identifiziert, das im Falle
eines Dammbruchs durch einen Unfall oder kriegerischen Akt betroffen
wäre. Die Prüfung von Alternativprojekten sei einseitig
zugunsten der Wasserenergie verzerrt. In der Südosttürkei
herrscht nach wie vor Notstandsgesetzgebung. Dessen Auswirkungen auf
die Umsiedlung und den Kulturgüterschutz fänden in der UVP
nicht einmal Erwähnung. "Die beschönigende Darstellung
der Repressionen gegenüber der kurdischen Bevölkerung lässt
Zweifel an der Unabhängigkeit der UVP aufkommen". Ein von
den NRO beauftragtes Gutachten zeigt zudem, dass der Staudamm mit
hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit den Tigris vergiften und zu großen
Gesundheitsgefährdungen der Bevölkerung führen würde.
Die in der UVP enthaltenen Zahlen lassen darauf schließen, dass
in trockenen Jahren der Weiterfluss des Tigris in die Nachbarländer
möglicherweise völlig unterbrochen wird
"Die Zeit ist reif, diesem unsinnigen Staudamm mit seinen potenziellen
negativen Auswirkungen auf die regionalen Konflikte sowie auf die
angespannte soziale und ökologische Situation in der Region jegliche
öffentliche finanzielle Unterstützung zu verwehren".
"Ministerien und Abgeordnete sollten intensiv prüfen, inwieweit
sie diese UVP mit ihren massiven Unzulänglichkeiten überhaupt
als Entscheidungsgrundlage für eine Bürgschaftsvergabe akzeptieren
Source : Medico International relayed by ERN
03.10.01: NGOs united to denounce
the project of Ilisu dam, arguing that it could be in breach of European
Human Rights Act
The Ilisu Dam Campaign and seven other international
groups, have released a 200-page response to the environmental impact
assessment report (EIAR) on the proposed Ilisu Dam in Turkey, which
itself confirmed that an ancient city will be submerged and thousands
of citizens displaced, and told the Turkish Government to meet certain
criteria before the project can be approved The UK government will
decide whether to support the dam with US$200 million (£135
million) of export credit guarantees within the next month, based
on the EIAR, public comments and expert advice. However, campaigners
say they have strong reason to believe that UK support for Ilisu would
be contravene the European Human Rights Act, as it would "bring
about human rights violations in Turkey".
"Support from the UK for the project runs contrary to the Act
regarding citizens' rights to information, receiving just treatment
and on settlement," the Ilisu Dam Campaign's Kate Geary said.
"The legal advice we have been given is that support by the UK
Government could run contrary to Britain's obligation under the Act,"
she said, adding that she could not go into specific detail at this
stage, in case of court action being necessary to stop the project.
Turkey also has a duty to comply : Article 8 of the Act could be breached,
as being forcibly resettled is contrary to the "right to quiet
enjoyment of your property," and insufficient consultation about
life-changing plans would also be in breach of the Act. There are
also questions surrounding the environmental impact assessment and
more international rules on the environment and cultural heritage
which could be contravened..
Among the findings of the response are: planners do not yet know exactly
how many people will be affected and have not said where and how they
will be resettled, but that previous official estimates put the number
of those affected at 78,000 people, the majority of them Kurds; on
resettlement issues alone, the dam would break 15 international guidelines
on 75 counts; even with proposed water treatment plants, there is
still a high risk that the dam will lead to the poisoning of the Tigris
River, risking the health of the local population; independent analysis
of the EIAR's own figures reveal that the dam threatens to cut off
downstream water flows to Syria and Iraq in periods of drought; and
each of the UK Government's five self-imposed conditions for supporting
the dam have still to be met. The campaigners' submission to five
of the governments considering support for Ilisu, including the UK,
US, Italy, Switzerland and Germany,covers the resettlement, cultural
heritage, hydrological, and water quality impacts of the dam; and
a critique of the environmental report's analysis of alternatives
to the dam. The submission also includes a plea from Southeast Turkey's
Diyarbakir Bar Association to reject the dam.
"The environmental report, on which the government will base
its decision, is so bad as to be embarrassing," commented Nicholas
Hildyard of the Ilisu Dam Campaign. "It is contradictory, incomplete,
partial and in many places wildly inaccurate. In some areas - especially
those that touch on the security situation in the Ilisu region - we
question whether the report has been censored by Turkish authorities.
On the basis of this EIA, the UK government cannot - morally or legally-
support this dam."
Source : Medico International relayed by ERN