: Second tallest dam in Brazil, but it doesn't hold water.(ENR)
tunnel for recently built dam in Brazil failed during the last
week in June, causing an uncontrolled release of the water from
the huge upstream reservoir. The failure caused no loss of life
and contractors assert that the dam's main structure is intact,
but the event is raising alarms from international environmental
groups and sparking concerns about additional delays in the project,
which is already well behind schedule.
The 626-foot (202-meter) Campos Novos dam in the Santa Catarina
region of southern Brazil is the world's third tallest concrete-faced
rockfill dam and the second tallest dam in Brazil. A consortium
led by Brazilian construction giant Camargo Corrêa and engineering
consultants Engevix is building the project.
"We don't know the actual cause of the leakage," said
José Ayres de Campos the engineering director for Camargo
Corrêa. "We are concerned that it is not just a single
cause creating this leak but perhaps several different things."
The flow of water through the tunnels pushed back the plans to
plug the tunnels and complete the construction of the dam. The
problems may push the completion of the 880-Megawatt hydroelectric
generating station possibly into early next year, Ayres said.
The contractual schedule set forth a 54-month construction period
concluding January 30, 2006. The three turbines were due to begin
generating on January 31, April 30 and July 31, 2006. The delays
in the project have caused the company to incur penalty fees that
Ayres declined to specify on June 30.
The Campos Novos hydroelectric project is a 35-year build-and-operate
concession awarded in 1998 to Enercan, a consortium made up of
Brazilian power company CPFL Energia with 48.7 percent; Brazilian
aluminum makers CBA with 22.7 percent; metallurgy company CNT
with 20 percent and two state-run electric companies.
The original estimated cost of the project was $523.9 million.
It is being financed through loans through the Inter-American
Development Bank and the Brazilian state-owned National Bank for
Economic and Social Development (BNDES).
Construction began in August of 2001. The river was deviated through
the two diversion tunnels in October of 2003. The dam is composed
of 13,000,000 cubic meters of rock material quarried on site.
Two tunnels of 2823.75 feet (860.9 meters) and 3003.82 feet (915.8
meters) in length were dug to divert the water from the river
around the dam during construction. The tunnels were roughly square
in shape 52.48 feet (16 meters) high and about 13.12 feet (4 meters
Leakage in the longer of the two tunnels began on October ten
days after construction on the dam was completed. Water flowed
into the tunnel at the rate of 50 cubic meters per second until
a plug was installed that limited it to one cubic meter per second,
Leakage resumed in the beginning of April and at a greater rate.
On June 20, the pressure of the water damaged two of three steel
gates installed in the tunnel and allowed the water in the reservoir
to flow through the diversion tunnel.
Ayers said the steel gates were designed to withstand 180 cubic
meters of head but were shoved off their bases by the force of
the water through the tunnel, estimated at a rate of 4,000 cubic
meters per second. The entire reservoir, which was near its 1.3
billion cubic meter capacity at the time of the incident, flowed
through the tunnel within the span of days.
The water flowed 15 miles (24 kilometers) downstream where it
was collected in the reservoir for the 1,450MW Machadinho hydropower
project located in the Pelotas River. Due to a regional drought,
the water levels there were exceptionally low and the additional
inflow filled the reservoir.
Ayres said a technical team would be working over the next two
weeks to determine the cause of the leak and propose a solution.
The IDB, who provided a $75 million loan for the project, also
sent a team to evaluate the incident and plans to issue a report
as well, said Robert Montgomery, a specialist with the IDB Private
Sector Department Natural Resources.
Environmental groups have circulated photos of the dam taken on
June 24 by Friends of the Earth Brazil suggest that the tunnel
failure has seriously undermined the dam's structural integrity.
"The company has been covering up the extent of the damage,
the cost and time of repairing (or rebuilding) the dam, and the
potential risks to people and property downstream," said
Glenn Switkes, International Rivers Network's Latin America Campaigns
Director. The company did not disseminate any information, despite
the dangers posed by the weakened structure."
Officials with both Camargo Corrêa and the IDB say the photos
depict cracks in the 98,500 cubic meters of concrete on the face
of the dam but that there is no major damage to the structure
itself. Moreover, the cracks are completely separate to the leakage
in the diversion tunnels that caused the draining of the reservoir,
"There is no structural damage to the dam whatsoever,"
C. J. Schexnayder
Source : ENR http://www.enr.com/news/intl/archives/060705.asp
28.06.06 : EU Ministers Agree Rules to Prevent Flooding
LUXEMBOURG - June 28, 2006
European Union ministers agreed new rules on Tuesday to fight
floods, saying climate change threatened to increase their frequency.
ministers from the 25 EU member states endorsed a proposal requiring
them to assess flood risks in their river basins and coastal areas,
develop hazard maps for high-risk areas, and set out flood-management
Floods in Europe have caused about 700 deaths and at least 25
billion euros (US$31.5 billion) in "insured economic losses",
since 1998, according to the European Commission, which authored
the draft legislation.
"People are realising now there's more and more risk of flooding,"
said Austrian Environment Minister Josef Proell, whose country
currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.
"We now have a new instrument on planning and strategy to
protect people from floods."
Proell said the rules aimed to improve coordination between member
states so nations located upstream on a river do not take flood
prevention measures that would hurt countries downstream, such
as Germany and the Netherlands on the Rhine.
Under Tuesday's agreement, states must complete flood-risk assessments
by December 2012. The management plans must be done by the end
The rules must still be approved by the European Parliament.
Reuters News Service, by way of Planet
27.06.06 : Un Prix international «ReSource» 2007 pour
soutenir la gestion durable des bassins versants
Groupe de réassurance et de services financiers Swiss Re,
Date limite de dépôt des candidatures : 31 juillet
Swiss Re a
créé le Prix international «ReSource»
en 2002 afin de soutenir activement la planification, lévaluation
et la mise en uvre de projets liés à leau
visant à promouvoir et à encourager les utilisations
rationnelles de cette précieuse ressource. Le prix est
un concours annuel ouvert à tous les projets de gestion
de bassins versants innovateurs et sélève
à 150 000 dollars US.
Les ONG, institutions
privées, scientifiques ou publiques ainsi que les organismes
similaires sont invités à concourir au Prix «ReSource»
2007. Le prix a vocation à être décerné
aux projets qui cherchent véritablement à renforcer
la sensibilisation des parties prenantes à limportance
écologique, sociale et économique des ressources
en eau et des bassins versants dans les pays en développement
et dans les pays émergeants. La préférence
sera accordée aux projets soucieux de mettre en uvre
des mesures préventives innovatrices visant à protéger
les ressources en eau, cest-à-dire des projets audacieux
dans le contexte local (culturels, institutionnels ou technologiques)
et qui impliquent les communautés locales et/ou les institutions
Plus d'information :
25.06.06 : Choose your beach with Medspiration
pack your swimsuit and head to the sea this summer, you may want
to check out the water's temperature with ESA's Medspiration heat
map of all 2 965 500 square kilometres of the Mediterranean. An
updated map of the sea surface temperature (SST) of the world's
largest inland sea is generated every day as part of ESA's Medspiration
project, with an unprecedented spatial resolution of two square
kilometres, high enough to detect detailed features like eddies,
fronts and plumes within the surface temperature distribution.
The idea behind Medspiration is to combine data from multiple
satellite systems to produce a robust set of sea surface data
for assimilation into ocean forecasting models of the waters around
Europe and also the whole of the Atlantic Ocean.
25.06.06 : Greece - Lake Volvi faces pollution risk
pollution in Lake Koronia, in Greece's Thessaloniki Prefecture,
will end up infecting nearby Lake Volvi unless restoration efforts
start treating all lakes and wetlands in the area as a single
ecosystem, warned a report commissioned by the National Wetland
Park. A restoration program for Lake Koronia, funded by the European
Union, is currently underway; it will include a drainage system,
treatment of urban and industrial wastes, the adoption of sustainable
farming practices, and better management of local streams.
More information :
Water News Watch via EWMN News
06.06 Low Impact of Public Participation in the European Water
A new European study identifies patterns and lessons learnt from
different European water related projects in terms of public and
stakeholder participation. The authors conclude that the impact
of public participation on the decision-making process in European
water policy is still very slight, and there is no true involvement
and collaboration from the interested parties.
Read more :
: China Tar Spill Threatens Water for Millions
CHINA - June 19, 2006
A toxic spill in north China has contaminated water supplies for
50,000 people and poses a threat to a reservoir supplying millions
more, state media reported on Friday.
has become a major national concern since a blast at a chemical
plant in November released a toxic slick into the Songhua river,
affecting drinking water supplies to millions in the northeast.
Sixty tons of coal tar carried by an overturned truck spilled
into the Dasha river in the northern province of Shanxi on Monday,
Xinhua news agency reported.
"The spill, moving at about one km per hour, is approaching
the Wangkuai reservoir about 70 km from the accident site,"
Xinhua said, quoted environmental protection officials.
The Wangkuai is one of two key reservoirs supplying water to 10
million people in Baoding, a city in neighbouring Hebei province.
The spill had already reached Hebei's Fuping county on Tuesday,
Xinhua said, contaminating water supplies for 50,000 people.
Clean-up efforts, initially delayed by the truck driver's cover-up
of the toxic cargo, had included the building of 51 dams to intercept
the coal tar "so as to win time for treating polluted water",
A chemical plant blast in China's booming eastern province of
Zhejiang injured one person and left two missing, Xinhua said
in a separate report.
A 38-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman were missing after "numerous
explosions" occurred on Thursday at the Longxin Chemical
Plant, which primarily produces hydrogen peroxide, Xinhua said.
Another person had been injured.
Reuters News Service, delivered by Planet
: Proposed Dams to be Chile's Next Environment Battle
CHILE - June 19, 2006.
On the banks of the Rio Baker, Cecilio Olivares worries his days
of guiding tourists on horseback through the magnificent Patagonian
scenery could be over if power companies build a series of dams
on the striking, turquoise-coloured river.
lived his 59 years on the Baker, which flows through Chile's wild
and remote Aysen region. The Baker's swift waters -- it has the
strongest flow rate of any Chilean river -- have attracted the
nation's largest power generators.
Endesa Chile, a unit of of Endesa Spain, and Colbun are proposing
a joint, US$4 billion project to build four dams on the Baker
and Pascua rivers in the rugged region some 1,000 miles (1,600
km) south of the capital Santiago, to produce 2,400 megawatts
"I hope it doesn't hurt us much," an unshaven Olivares,
wearing sheepskin trousers, a poncho and a thick wool hat, told
Reuters in a resigned tone.
Tourism in Aysen -- which attracts hikers and wilderness adventurers
-- has grown in the past decade and tourism activity rose 11 percent
in the first three months of this year, compared with the same
period last year.
Olivares earns his living farming, raising sheep and guiding tourists
-- mostly Europeans -- on hiking, fishing and horse-back riding
vacations in Chile's south, home to fox, endangered huemul deer
and beech tree forests.
Environmental groups are already lining up against the power project,
and the dams look to become the next major environmental battle
in one of Latin America's healthiest and most modern countries.
In recent years Chileans have debated the toll booming development
is taking on their wilderness areas. Public opposition has been
fierce over big power projects, new mines and wood-pulp plants
that produce pollution.
to save, Rivers to dam
The Endesa-Colbun project is one of a flood of new power generation
investments being proposed to satisfy leaping power demand as
Chile can no longer count on cheap natural gas imports from neighbouring
Argentina, struggling to meet its own needs.
President Michelle Bachelet says Chile must balance the need for
more electricity with preservation of wildlife areas and has pledged
a national zoning project to define river basins to protect and
rivers to dam.
"They want to flood thousands of acres to dam the waters
of the Baker and Pascua rivers, which will affect not only local
residents, but also the environment and tourism, and we won't
allow that," said Carlos Garrido of the organization Defenders
of the Spirit of Patagonia.
Environmental impact studies will not be complete until next year
and the first dam would not begin construction until 2008, but
Endesa is already working to win over locals and environmentalists.
The company has consulted with local politicians and set up information
centres in the cities of Coyhaique and Cochrane, close to where
the plants will be built.
Endesa executives have also met with Chile's best-known environmentalist,
American former clothing magnate Douglas Tompkins, a fierce defender
of Patagonia's wild areas.
Tompkins bought more than 714,000 acres (289,00 hectares) of forest
in southern Chile and turned it into a park that is now run by
a foundation. His wife Kristine's Patagonia Land Trust has purchased
a 173,000-acre (70,000-hectare) cattle ranch south of Rio Baker
and is planning a park there.
An Endesa executive told local media the meeting with Tompkins,
who has been publicly critical of damming rivers in the South,
was to give him information the company has given others about
"There are still a lot of questions. We're doing the research
right now. We have to take into account that this is a long-term
project," said a company spokesperson regarding environmental
nine square miles
One main concern of locals who live off tourism is losing their
land if Endesa Chile sticks to its plan to build two dams on the
river, Baker I and Baker II.
"People are accustomed to living peacefully. Imagine all
the people who will come for the construction. It's not fair that
they come here and want to change everything," said Patricio
Krebs, who left a stressful life in Santiago to manage tourist
cabins a few yards from Rio Baker.
A few weeks ago Endesa said it would try to limit flooded areas
as much as possible to minimise social and environmental impact.
It estimates it would flood some 9 square miles (23 square km)
for the Baker I plant alone.
"Let them do their project but without damming the river;
let them look for other technologies. The problem is the dams,
they're going to kill tourism in the region," said Alejandro
del Pino of the business organisation Corporacion Costa Carrera.
A few years ago, Endesa faced opposition on the construction of
its Ralco dam, which flooded ancient Indian burial grounds in
southern Chile. Ralco is up and running, but only after Endesa
paid huge sums to communities that were dislocated.
Last year, No. 1 industrial conglomerate Copec was forced to temporarily
shut down a huge new wood pulp plant in southern Chile and to
take stricter measures to clean up its waste water after the deaths
of black-necked swans in a wetland nature sanctuary.
Canada's Barrick Gold is facing opposition from environmental
and local groups to its giant open pit gold project Pascua Lama,
located high in the Andes mountains on Chile's border with Argentina.
Story by :
Source : Reuters News Service, delivered on Planet
: EU - Groundwater needs stronger protection from nitrates, says
on groundwater pollution must be strengthened to protect Europeans
from nitrate pollution caused by intensive animal farming, an
environmental group has said.
The warning comes ahead of discussions of the EU Groundwater Directive
in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg on 12 June. In its current
form, the directive puts a 50mg limit on nitrates per litre, and
obliges EU member states to monitor and counter pollution of groundwater
by toxic chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals and pharmaceutical
Friends of the Earth criticised the directive for its numerous
exceptions that they say allow nitrates to penetrate into drinking
water supplies. The NGO urged MEPs to vote against changes that
would weaken the directive, which it said is already "inadequate"
because of the loopholes included in it.
Edie News Centre
09.06.06 : EU freshwater beach compliance rate takes a dip
- 7,000 previously registered bathing sites have been
delisted, without justification, in 11 member states
commissioner Stavros Dimas is concerned by a continuing
fall in the number of Europe's inland beaches meeting EU water
quality standards, following the publication of compliance figures
for the 2005 bathing season on Friday.
Presenting the European commissions annual report on member
state progress in implementing the 1976 bathing water directive,
Mr Dimas said improving the quality of EU freshwater bathing areas
presented a significant challenge.
In 2005 the first year in which all 25 member states have
reported on bathing water quality compliance with mandatory
values for inland bathing areas fell by almost four percentage
points to 85.6%. Achievement of more stringent but non-binding
"guide" values fell by a similar margin: only 63.1%
of EU inland beaches now meet this standard. For both sets of
values this represents the EUs lowest level of freshwater
compliance since 1997.
The commission said the negative trend was partly explained
by inadequate sampling in the four new member states who reported
for the first time this year Latvia, Hungary, Malta and
26/05/05). Sampling methods have been significantly streamlined
in the newly-revised EU bathing water directive. The new law entered
force this year but its provision will take practical effect only
in 2008 (<http://www.endseuropedaily.com/20544>EED
Compliance rates for coastal bathing waters remained roughly stable
in 2005, at 96.1% for the mandatory targets and 89.8% for the
guide values. There was a clear improvement in compliance rates
in the six new member states reporting for the second time in
2005, the commission said.
The report reiterates an earlier commission revelation that since
the early 1990s around 7,000 previously registered bathing sites
have been delisted, without justification, in 11 member states.
Mr Dimas said he believed most had been taken off site lists to
mask pollution and said he was waiting for responses to
infringement proceedings initiated in April (<http://www.endseuropedaily.com/20753>EED
commission, tel +32 2 299 1111, plus bathing water <http://ec.europa.eu/water/water-bathing/report_2006.html>report,
release and <http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/06/236>memo.
Author : Stefan Scheuer
Source : ENDS Europe DAILY 2113, 09/06/06
European Environmental Bureau (aisbl)
Bld. de Waterloo 34
Tel: +32 22891304
Fax: +32 22891099
Contact : Stefan
09.06.06 : Bathing Water: Large majority of beaches continues
to meet EU standards
A large majority
of bathing sites across the EU-25 continued to meet EU cleanliness
standards in 2005, according to the annual bathing water report
presented by the European Commission this week. However, the proportion
of compliant sites decreased slightly in coastal areas and more
significantly at inland bathing sites like lakes and rivers. Coming
just before the bathing season begins, the report provides useful
water quality information for the millions of people who visit
Europe's beaches each summer. While 96% of coastal bathing sites
met the mandatory standards of the EU bathing water directive
last year, the proportion of inland waters in compliance continued
to fall, decreasing by almost four percentage points to 86%. These
falls were mainly due to insufficient sampling of water quality
which counts as non compliance.
07.06.06 : UE: létat des eaux de baignade en 2005
La direction générale (DG) de lenvironnement
de la Commission européenne vient de publier le rapport
annuel sur la qualité des eaux de baignade en 2005 dans
chaque Etat membre. 19 Etats membres ont répondu pour les
14.230 zones côtières (lAutriche, la Hongrie,
le Luxembourg, la République tchèque, et la Slovaquie
nont pas de côtes), et 23 pour les 6.684 zones de
baignade en eau douce (Chypre et Malte nont pas de zone
de ce type). La qualité des eaux de lEurope des 15
est restée sensiblement la même quen 2004.
Quant aux nouveaux Etats membres, les résultats se sont
améliorés pour les pays qui mesurent la qualité
de leurs eaux pour la deuxième fois. Pour ceux qui nen
sont quà leur première année (Lettonie,
Hongrie et Slovaquie), seule la moitié des échantillons
respectent les normes européennes.
Source : Le
Journal de l'Environnement, 07.06.2006
05.06.06 : 4th World Water Forum synthesis process and evalution
World Water Forum came to an end on Wednesday, March 22nd, World
Water Day, in Mexico City, after seven days of debates and exchanges.
Close to 20,000 people from throughout the world participated
in 206 working sessions where a total of 1600 local actions were
A synthesis process of the Forum is under way. Session's outcomes
are available on the website of the World Water Council (WWC),
based on reports prepared by session conveners. Also included
are the main messages that were delivered through the Voices of
the Forum on a daily basis, which reflect participant's views
As the co-organizer of the WWF, the WWC finds it important to
be able to draw lessons from the experience and views of the participants.
The WWC is inviting you to fill in the evaluation questionnaire
on their website.
For more information,
see the World
Water Council website...
World Water Council
01.06.06 Flood defences destroying Polish rivers, NGOs warn
flood defences funded through European Investment Bank loans are
destroying the natural eco-systems of Polish rivers, NGOS have
Much of the 250m euro loan Poland was granted after extensive
floods devastated southern parts of the country in 2001 is being
spent on flood defences in uninhabited areas, unnecessarily destroying
wildlife habitats, European and Polish NGOs say.
Constructing wire-and-stone and cement embankments, flattening
riverbeds and destroying natural sandbanks deprives wildlife of
breeding and nesting grounds and destroys vegetation, Anna Roggenbuck
of the Polish Green Network NGO told edie.
The NGO conducted studies that show numbers of fish, birds and
mammals reducing significantly following the flood defence works,
as breeding and nesting grounds are lost. It branded the technologies
used out-dated and environmentally insensitive.
"River regulation always interferes with eco-systems. But
we support this work where it is necessary, where people live.
The problem is that it is being done in uninhabited areas, where
the river runs through an empty forest for example - a forest
actually needs to be flooded every now and again to keep it irrigated,"
Experts analysed biodiversity changes in a wetland forest on the
banks of the river Stradomka in southern Poland found decreased
numbers of sixteen bird species following the construction of
flood defences under the EIB-funded programme. The Honey Buzzard,
Common Kingfisher and Hen Harrier had completely stopped nesting
in the area around the river, they said.
The Stradomka is one of hundreds of flood defence projects, many
of them on-going, funded with EIB loans. The NGOs said that for
most of these projects environmental impact assessments required
under EU law were not carried out.
Last week, the NGOs managed to temporarily stop work that would
have destroyed birds' nests, Robert Wawrety of Polish green group
Society for the Earth said.
"The regional environmental office is investigating but it
remains very doubtful whether the regional water management agency
conducting the work will pull out of further potentially damaging
work," he said.
The European Investment Bank responded to the complaints by saying
it was satisfied with the project, and denied allegations of environmental
Source : edie
30.05.06 : EEB
and WWF comments prior to Water Directors Meeting in Salzburg
on 1-2 June 2006
30 May 2006
To: Water Directors of EU Member States, Accession and EFTA countries
CC: WFD CIS SCG members; WFD Unit, European Commission
EEB and WWF comments prior to Water Directors Meeting in Salzburg
on 1-2 June 2006
of your meeting in Salzburg on 1-2 June 2006, EEB and WWF would
like to provide you
with some comments concerning the future activities under the
WFD Common Implementation Strategy
(CIS) work programme 2007-2009, including the intercalibration
process, the current state of play with
national strategies and programmes under Rural and Regional Development
Funds and proposed EU Flood
Risk Management Directive.
of the intercalibration process (agenda item 2.3)
You, as a
Water Director, have recognised in the Mondorf Statement1 that
the criteria for defining the WFD
good ecological status objectives represent the cornerstone of
the Directive as they will set the level of
ambition of the WFD. Whilst recognizing that this matter will
require progressive refinement in the light of
experience, you expressed your commitment to the elaboration
of a coherent and comparable interpretation
of the good status objective in all Member States. We urge
you to meet that commitment, and approve the
continuation of the intercalibration exercise beyond 2006 with
increased resources and without delay. Such a
continuation is essential in order to achieve fully comparable
and WFD-consistent class boundaries for ALL
biological quality elements, since the current intercalibration
exercise will fail to meet the WFD
We are concerned about calls for a break before continuing the
process. We are also concerned about the
argument that the WFD does not provide the legal basis for a continuation
of the intercalibration exercise.
We fail to understand how in light of failure to apply the legal
requirements set by the WFD, a legal
argument is used to block efforts to overcome the failure. The
text of the WFD might not be well drafted in
this respect. But we do not believe that a revision of the WFD
would lead to a better result, considering the
unpredictable outcome of a full fledged legislative process. In
the view of the above, we call on you to use
the current momentum and the established expert networks and ensure
continuation of the intercalibration
exercise in 2006-2013 without delay.
activities under the CIS Work Programme 2007-2009 (agenda item
The central CIS objective is to support a coherent and harmonious
the risks of bad application. On the basis of our assessment of
the current state of play in the WFD
implementation2, we can conclude that this objective has not been
achieved so far and that the CIS producedguidance,
that you have endorsed, have not been adequately taken up by the
Recognising the importance of the EU-wide commitment to timely
and effective WFD implementation, we
would like to see the CIS continuing, under the existing objective
but with a substantially revised agenda. A
major focus of the CIS should be the quality of WFD implementation
in practice, rather than just tracking if
the deadlines have been met. We thus call on you to establish
an implementation quality Working Group
under the CIS which is given a mandate to assist improving quality
of the WFD application on the ground.
This group should develop benchmarking criteria for national implementation
based on WFD and CIS
guidance as well as serve as an early warning / problem solving
mechanism for complaints about improper
application. Other CIS work items on integrated river basin management
or further integration of WFD into
other policy (hydromorphology) or WFD interpretation (article
4.7) guidance work should be stopped and
resources re-directed to improving WFD implementation quality.
Feedback on national strategies and programmes under Rural
and Regional Developments (agenda item 3)
The draft national strategies and programmes under the Rural and
Regional Development Funds for 2007-
2013 do not seem to include appropriate provisions to support
WFD implementation measures. We
acknowledge the efforts made in the framework of the CIS process
to identify the existing funding
opportunities for sustainable water management measures under
the EU Rural and Regional Development
Funds and believe that you, as a Water Director, should work closely
with colleagues in Regional and
Agricultural/Rural Development Ministries to ensure that this
window of opportunity is fully used. We are
especially concerned about draft national funding programmes under
Cohesion Policy which fail to meet
WFD sustainability conditions. We would like to bring to your
attention a number of publications we have
produced identifying these opportunities and giving ideas for
potential measures and projects to be
developed in the next programming cycle in the field of sustainable
EU Flood Risk Management Policy (agenda item 6)
We cautiously welcome the current proposal for a Directive on
Flood Risk Management, but in order for it to
truly provide "better regulation", we call on you to
do everything in your powers to
- support obligatory coordination with the WFD and merging of
planning instruments (article 13.1) , in
order to reduce reporting requirements and bureaucracy for public
administrations and consulted citizens
- reduce legal ambiguity with regard to the scope of flood risk
maps and flood risk management plans
(article 4.2a and 5.1a, deleting opt-out clauses, in order to
make it simple and clear legislation; and
- ensure that the flood risk management measures (i) are taking
into account the WFD article 5 principles,
including principle of cost-recovery, (ii) are compliant with
the WFD article 4.7 and (iii) support the
achievement of the WFD objectives and focus on prevention of damage
through improved land use
planning and increasing natural retention capacit ies (restoring
floodplains etc.), in order to make the
directive a truly effective legislation
EEB and WWF hope that these comments will serve as a constructive
input and support for your discussions
Stefan Scheuer Sergey Moroz
EU Policy Director, EEB Water Policy Officer, WWF
1) Statement of the European Water Directors on
the future of EU Water Policy at the occasion of the Water Directors
seminar Review and Views in Mondorf-les-Bains (Luxembourg)
, 21 June 2005
2) EEB, May 2004: The quality of national transposition
and implementation A snapshot - Results of an NGO questionnaire
by the EEB, available at http://www.eeb.org/activities/water/11-WFD-implementation-quality-a-snapshot-EEB-May2004.pdf;
EEB and WWF, March 2005: The quality of national transposition
and implementation of the Water Framework Directive at the end
of 2004 - A second Snapshot Report - Assessment of
results from an environmental NGO questionnaire available
economics work for the environment: Survey of the economic elements
of the Art icle 5 reports of the EU Water Framework Directive2
available at http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/europe/what_we_do/epo/initiatives/freshwater/publications/index.cfm?uNewsID=69520.
3) The Rural Development Environmental Programming
Guidelines available at :
EU Funding for Environment - A handbook for the 2007-2013 programming
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: Three Gorges Dam Holds Lessons for Green Activists
CHINA, May 23 (IPS)
As the last loads of concrete are poured into the wall of the
world's largest dam and the waters behind rise, the long battle
against the Three Gorges Dam -- spanning generations of Chinese
leaders -- is considered lost.
activists here say the completion of the huge reservoir is only
the beginning of an even harder fight to preserve the country's
last virgin rivers and dwindling water resources.
plan to triple our hydropower capacity from 2004 to 2020, it is
crucial to decide future dams through a more open and participatory
process so as to bring competing interests into consideration,"
says Ma Jun, an independent environmental consultant and author
of the tome, 'China's Water Crisis'.
was absent from the approval debate for Three Gorges. Since construction
began 15 years ago, more than a million people have been displaced
from areas submerged by the huge reservoir that was created behind
the wall of the dam. An additional 80,000 will have to be relocated
in the next few months.
have warned that the backing of water behind the 2.3 km long dam
could become a giant waste-collection pool for the city of Chongqing,
about 400 km upstream. According to reports, numerous areas of
historical and cultural interest have all been flooded.
environmental and social impact of the Three Gorges Dam is publicly
acknowledged and much of it has to be yet properly mitigated,"
says Ma Jun. "But we would rather focus our efforts on fighting
follow-up projects such as the dams on the Jinsha River".
are designed to be built along the Jinsha River - a tributary
of the mighty Yangtze, in part to reduce the silt pressures on
wave of rural protests, construction of the Xiluodu dam, the country's
second-largest hydroelectric dam on lower Jinsha, has already
begun. Three other dams are in the exploration stage, including
one on the scenical Tiger Leaping Gorge on upper Jinsha, one of
the world's deepest canyons. If built, the dam would affect up
to 100,000 people.
But the Jinsha
River is not alone. The government has also announced plans to
dam the Nu River that flows from the country's remote southwest
into Southeast Asia where it is known as the Salween.
proposal of 13-dam cascade on the Nu is projected to generate
4,000 more Mw of electricity a year than Three Gorges. When completed
in 2008, the dam will produce some 18,000 Mw -- enough to supply
an industrial powerhouse like the coastal hub of Shanghai.
consumption has soared in recent years amid economic growth that
last year neared 10 percent. Researchers say the country simply
must boost its energy-generation capacity if it wants to continue
powering its high economic growth.
hydropower energy to be a cleaner alternative for its energy shortages
and its officials are eyeing the last untapped river resources
in southwestern China. After the Jinsha and Nu rivers, next on
the board is the virgin Brahmaputra in Tibet. Experts reckon that
only a quarter of China's hydropower has yet been tapped.
Yet, the costs
may outweigh the benefits. South-western China, where all the
three great Asian rivers, the Mekong, the Salween and the Jinsha,
start, is one of the world's most biologically diverse areas,
home to half of China's animal species and a quarter of its plant
named the Three Parallel Rivers, is recognised by the UNESCO as
a world heritage site. Whatever portions of this ecosystem that
the dams don't submerge are certain to be disrupted in potentially
A more immediate
concern is the immense number of people who will need to be resettled
when reservoirs inundate the region's densely populated valleys.
communist takeover in 1949, 16 million people in China have been
displaced by reservoirs. Some 10 million of them still live in
poverty. At Tiger Leaping Gorge, where a mere 80,000 residents
will have to be relocated, people fear that they will be ordered
to move up the steep mountainsides to open marginal land at 1,800
to 2,700 metres.
But just as
the country's energy officials' ambitions have soared, the drive
to dam China's last pristine rivers has generated greater environmental
sensitivity among the public. Vocal indigenous environmental groups,
like the Green Watersheds based in the southwestern Yunnan province
have emerged, waging a seemingly successful battle to protect
the Nu River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
a nationwide campaign of opposition organised by the green groups
in 2004, Premier Wen Jiabao called for a temporary halt to plans
for a cascade of 13 dams on the Nu River, and requested a survey
on the environmental and social impact of the dams.
of the survey have been kept secret but reports in the Hong Kong
media have said the review has recommended a scaled-down plan
of only four dams along the Nu River.
have called on the government to comply with a 2003 law on environmental
impact assessment, which requires for public participation in
the review and planning of major development projects.
that, if built, the four dams would prove the opening for the
whole cascade to be completed, much as the completion of Three
Gorges has necessitated the building of more and more dams upstream.
Three Gorges Dam represents the completion of a long-term political
dream for Chinese leadership," says Yu Xiaogang, the founder
and director of the Green Watersheds in Yunnan province. "But
man conquering the nature is no longer the call of the day. On
the contrary, the new thinking about sustainable development is
about how to preserve nature."
recently called for more balanced development, even proposing
a "green index" to measure growth. Indeed, Premier Wen
Jiabao has declared that he wants to see more "scientific
development" in China's approach to its environmental problems.
insist there are alternative ways of generating electricity that
would be more cost effective. Despite its mammoth size and 24
billion U.S. dollar price tag, Three Gorges would generate only
four percent of China's electricity, according to Cao Guangjing,
the dam-building company's deputy manager.
The 11th five-year
plan (2006-2010), approved by the National People's Congress in
March, calls for an improved use of energy and natural resources.
Energy per unit of GDP must be reduced by 20 percent from 2005,
the plan said.
can achieve this national goal for efficiency, imagine how many
Three Gorges dams can be spared," says Yu Xiaogang. "Millions
of money and the livelihoods of millions of displaced people could
be saved if we learn how to use power more efficiently."
source : IPS,
via IRN www.irn.org.
20.05.06 : Three Gorges dam wall completed
China has completed construction of the main wall of the Three
Gorges Dam - the world's largest hydro-electric project.
The controversial dam in central Hubei province will not be fully
operational until 2009, once all its generators are installed.
says it will provide electricity for its booming economy and help
control flooding on the Yangtze River.
Critics say over a million people were moved from the area, and
the reservoir behind the dam is already polluted.
builders poured the last amount of concrete to complete the construction
of the 185m (607ft) high, 2,309m (1.4 mile) long wall. A
senior Chinese official said the event marked a "landmark
progress" in the dam's construction, the state-run Xinhua
news agency reported. "However,
tasks such as building of power houses of the dam, the ship lock
and shiplift are still formidable," said Pu Haiqing, deputy
director of the dam's construction committee
When its 26 turbines become operational in 2009, the dam will
have a capacity of more than 18,000 megawatts.
Already the world's second-largest consumer of oil, China says
it needs alternative energy sources to combat widespread power
shortages and keep its booming economy powering along.
also hope the dam will help control flooding on the Yangtze River,
which in the past has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the
BBC's Quentin Somerville in Shanghai reports.
But campaigners say the dam comes at too high a cost.
Over a million people have been moved from their homes to make
way for the project and more than 1,200 towns and villages will
disappear under its rising waters.
Environmentalists say the water behind the dam is already heavily
China says the whole project will cost about $25bn (£13bn),
but environmentalists estimate it to be several times higher.
more pages on 3 Gorges :
: EU water management faces economic challenge (EEB press release)
(18 May 2006), the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Europes
largest federation of environmental citizens organisations,
yesterday called on Europes Environment Ministers to sharpen
up their act given their poor record in implementing EU water
protection legislation in the shape of the 2000 Water Framework
Directive (WFD). A more integrated approach is urgently needed
to make economics work for sustainable water management. The EEB
concludes from a recent EEB and WWF survey of national implementation
reports that the required economic analysis of water uses in most
cases fails to shed adequate light on the sectors identified as
causing massive environmental problems, like hydropower, navigation,
and flood defences.
still dont know who pays for what, or whether current arrangements
are fair and reflect the true environmental cost of unsustainable
water use, said Stefan Scheuer, EEBs Policy Director.
The existing set-up makes it impossible to come up with
robust and cost-efficient measures which target the harmful environmental
impact of infrastructural and river maintenance work involved
in delivering hydropower, navigation or flood-protection for businesses.
Were afraid that ultimately water managers would have to
obtain the funds they need for environmental measures from the
general public or households, who often already pay a fair price
for their water consumption.
the WFD, in 2005 Member States were asked to present a report
for each of their River Basin Districts, focusing on environmental
problems and the economic analysis of water uses, the Article
5 Reports. EEBs and WWFs assessment of 25 Article
5 Reports from 21 countries shows that Europe is still far from
practising ecologically sustainable water management. Some 50%
of surface waters risk failing to achieve the WFDs objective
good ecological status.
call on Environment Ministers to live up to their commitments
to use economic tools to make the market work for the environment
and give higher priority to a correct application of relevant
requirements laid down in EU environmental legislation, like the
definition of what constitutes a water service, said John
Hontelez, EEBs Secretary General, Water management
authorities must therefore revise the economic analysis of water
uses by 2008 to better address environmental damaging infrastructures
and bring it in line with WFD legal obligations, and in time for
the programme of measures to restore our aquatic environment to
be drawn up in 2009. Latvia and France have shown that it is possible:
it is a question of political choice...
reports pinpointed infrastructure, such as dams, embankments or
channelling, supporting hydropower, navigation, flood defence
or agriculture, as a key source of environmental pressure. Infrastructure
of this kind reduces both the space of water and the variety of
habitats, thus endangering aquatic biodiversity and the ecosystems
stability. This reduces our ecosystems ability to cleanse
itself as well as weakening its resilience to climate change.
A safe and reliable natural water supply for human needs is also
at risk. Only six Article 5 Reports identified hydropower, navigation
or flood defence infrastructure as water service for
the assessment of their cost recovery from the end users, and
just two of those tried to look into environmental and resource
costs of those sectors: France and Latvia. ENDS
letter to Environment Ministers can be downloaded at: http://www.eeb.org/index.htm;
and the full EEB and WWF report at: http://www.eeb.org/activities/water/200605-EEB-WWF-snapshot-III-WFD-economics.pdf.
further information please contact:-
Hontelez, EEB Secretary General: email@example.com ; Tel: +32 (0)2
289 1091; Mobile: +32 (0)486 51 21 27
Stefan Scheuer, EU Policy Director: Stefan.firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel:
+32 (0)2 289 1304
Peter Clarke, Press & Publications Officer: email@example.com; Tel:
+32 (0)2 289 1309