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01.08.07 : Drought Hits 1.2 Million in Central China
La sécheresse touche 1.2 million personnes en Chine Centrale
Zentral-China : 1.2 Millionenen Menschen sind von Dürre bedroht

BEIJING - More than 1.2 million people in the central Chinese province of Hunan are facing a "water crisis" after four weeks of drought and high temperatures, which are also straining power generating capacity, state media said on Tuesday.
Hunan has received 25 percent less rain than normal and about half of its 2 million water storage facilities are half-empty, while 859 reservoirs have dried up, the official Xinhua news agency said.
"The provincial capital, Changsha, has suspended power generation at all local hydropower stations to save water for drought relief," it added.
Changsha and three other cities in the province have started to seed clouds to try and force artificial rain, the report said.
The provincial meteorological bureau expects the heat to get worse before there is any substantial rain, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for most of August, it added.
Neighbouring Jiangxi province is also suffering from drought, even as other parts of China have been deluged with rain and floods that have killed around 700 people so far this year.
Storms in northern Shanxi province have killed 20 people and destroyed more than 4,000 homes, Xinhua added.
In one county in the south of the province, it rained for 36 hours non-stop starting from Saturday evening, it said.
The rain is expected to continue into the weekend, the report said.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters


01.08.07 : China Floods Put Three Gorges Dam to the Test
Les crues en Chine mettent le barrage des Trois Gorges à l'épreuve
Hochwasser in China stellt den 3 Schluchten Staudamm auf Probe

BEIJING - Flood waters are putting China's massive Three Gorges Dam to the test and raising water levels on its longest river, the Yangtze, after weeks of floods nationwide killed about 700 people, state media said on Tuesday.
Water is being released from the reservoir behind the world's largest hydroelectric project through giant sluice gates, raising water levels downstream.
The central province of Hubei was on alert as the flood crest was expected to reach or exceed levels that would trigger flood warnings, Xinhua news agency said.
"The Three Gorges Dam has opened 18 sluices and the water level in the reservoir will continue to rise," Xinhua quoted a worker at the dam's operation department as saying. "The safety of the dam will be tested."
Water is pouring into the Three Gorges reservoir, which stretches for hundreds of kilometres through narrow gorges, at 51,000 cubic metres per second, and could rise to 56,700 cubic metres per second on Tuesday. The sluice gates will release water at 48,000 cubic metres per second.
High water levels forced the closure of the ship locks at the dam on Monday.
Hubei was preparing for flood prevention work along the 1,390-km (860-mile) section of the river that runs from the dam to the industrial city of Wuhan, Xinhua said.
Heavy flooding along the Yangtze in 1998 left the streets of Wuhan waist-deep in water while about 3,000 died and 14 million were made homeless along the river.
About 700 Chinese have died this summer from heavy rains that triggered landslides, floods and house collapses.
Millions fled the swollen Huai River in the central province of Henan and the eastern provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu. River levels there have begun to retreat after a month of high water.
Downpours have killed 16 people and left 14 missing in the northwestern province of Shaanxi in the past three days, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.
More than 35,000 residents were evacuated as 8,536 houses collapsed and roads and telecommunications were cut off, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site (
"The rain is continuing and the damage is expected to increase," the statement said.
In parts of the flood-battered southwestern province of Guizhou, four people were killed, five seriously injured and three went missing in landslides and mud and rock flows triggered by rainstorms since Sunday, Xinhua said.
The casualties were reported in Renhuai city, renowned for its fiery Moutai drink, China's national liquor, but serious river and street flooding also hit two dozen counties where many thousands were stranded, Xinhua said.
Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at Beijing airport on Monday when almost all evening flights were cancelled because of hours of thunderstorms and heavy rain, the Beijing News said on Tuesday.
Sixty-nine Chinese miners spent a second day trapped in a flooded coal pit in the central province of Henan, but they were safe and in contact with rescuers late on Monday, state media said.
High temperatures in seven provinces in China's east and south meanwhile have prolonged a drought that has persisted for nearly a month.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters


31.07.07 : Flooded South Sudan Declares Disaster, 12,000 Hit
Le Sud Soudan submergé par les crues est déclaré zone sinistrée, 12 000 personnes sont touchées
Überfluteter Süd-Sudan ist zum Notstandsgebiet erklärt worden, 12 000 Menschen sind bedroht

JUBA, Sudan - More than 12,000 people have been affected by flooding in southern Sudan, emerging from decades of civil war, and six of the region's 10 states have been declared a disaster zone, officials said on Monday.
South Sudan's Vice President Riek Machar declared the disaster zone. At least two people have been reported killed by the rains and flooding, said Lydia Poole, a UN emergency response official.
Poole said the final figure of flood victims would likely be much higher.
"Responding is going to be extremely challenging logistically and very expensive," said Poole, adding at least 1,000 people were stranded in one hard-to-reach area.
In northern Sudan, the central government said 59 people had been killed and more than 100 injured in flash floods, which have spread to most parts of the country.
UN stockpiled resources in poorly accessible areas are dwindling and new appeals for help are being written.
Despite a lack of information from the vast reaches of the swampy south, dotted with villages, the United Nations and the southern government are braced for more flooding.
The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has allocated US$1 million to the worst two affected states said James Kueth, relief director for the GOSS humanitarian wing.
Kueth, who said most of those affected had been displaced, said the central Khartoum government had contributed blankets and plastic sheeting to the two worst affected states.
UN analysts say new road construction following the signing of a north-south peace deal in January 2005 has changed drainage patterns and is partly responsible for changed water movement.

Story by Skye Wheeler
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters


30.07.07 : Barrage du Gabas: un ouvrage contesté
Gabas Dam : a contested work
Frankreich : Gabas Staudamm ist umstritten

Malgré tous ses efforts, l’association Gabas nature n’a pu empêcher la construction d’un barrage qui a été inauguré le 27 juillet. Une décision de justice en sa faveur datant du mois de mars lui donne toutefois de l’espoir si de nouveaux projets de barrage étaient amenés à se concrétiser.
245 hectares de milieux naturels inondés pour stocker 20 millions de mètres cubes d’eau. La construction du barrage du Gabas, situé à cheval sur les départements des Hautes-Pyrénées et des Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a été vivement critiquée par des associations de défense de l’environnement. «Cette retenue est d’abord faite pour étendre de 3.000 hectares les surfaces irriguées sur le bassin de l’Adour, déjà passablement envahi par le maïs. Et ensuite pour remettre de l’eau dans l’Adour, asséché par ces mêmes cultures irriguées et le développement asphyxiant de la monoculture du maïs dans le Sud-Ouest. Le mono-usage, en l’occurrence l’irrigation, ne doit plus confisquer les rivières!», a déclaré Martin Arnould, chargé du programme «Rivières vivantes» au WWF.
En 1999, l’association Gabas nature a été créée pour s’opposer au projet. «Nous avons contesté trois points: la déclaration d’utilité publique, le projet au titre de la loi sur l’eau de 1992, et l’attribution de la maîtrise d’ouvrage qui s’est faite ‘de gré à gré’», explique Jacques Mauhourat, membre de l’association. Les deux premiers recours ont été rejetés par la justice, mais Gabas nature a obtenu gain de cause pour le troisième au mois de mars, devant la cour administrative d’appel de Bordeaux.
Elle reprochait à l’Institution Adour, établissement public territorial de bassin qui s’occupe entre autres de la gestion et de l'augmentation de la ressource en eau, d’avoir approuvé un avenant à la convention de concession d'aménagement conclue en décembre 1995 avec la Compagnie d'aménagement des Coteaux de Gascogne (CACG) et la Compagnie d’aménagement rural d’Aquitaine. En dépit de la décision de justice favorable à Gabas nature, Max Roussel, directeur technique de l’Institution Adour indique: «Le projet date des années 1990, alors que les nouveaux textes obligeant à un appel d’offre n’existaient pas. Maintenant, on appliquera forcément la procédure de mise en concurrence». Jacques Mauhourat estime lui que «le barrage est illégal», tout en précisant que la décision de la cour administrative ne pouvait donner lieu à un arrêt du projet. Pour Gabas nature, le combat contre ce barrage est certes perdu, mais elle compte utiliser la décision contre les futurs barrages.
Alors que l’Institution Adour souligne le fait que le lac artificiel attire de nombreux oiseaux, Gabas nature dénonce l’impact environnemental du barrage, en particulier les «vidanges» qui affectent les écrevisses à pattes blanches. «Le directeur de l’eau du ministère chargé de l’environnement, même s'il a été retenu à Paris, devait venir inaugurer le barrage. On est donc dans une logique de stockage de l’eau. Mais pourquoi a-t-on besoin de tant de retenues?», s’interroge Jacques Mauhourat.
«On construira des barrages tant que les besoins ne seront pas satisfaits», affirme quant à lui Max Roussel. «Les agriculteurs utilisent l’eau dont ils ont besoin, et cela leur coûte cher. Il y a des quotas d’utilisation et des pénalités financières très dissuasives (11 centimes par mètre cube d’eau contre 2,5 centimes habituellement) s’ils ne sont pas respectés».

Source : Le Journal de l'Environnement, 30.07.2007
Auteure : Agnès Ginestet


27.07.07 : Bank loan to improve water supplies in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Un prêt bancaire pour améliorer l'alimentation en eau en Bosnie Herzégovine
Bankdarlehen zur Verbesserung der Wasserversorgung in Bosnia-Herzegovina

A European development bank is lending millions to a city in Bosnia-Herzegovina to help it build a new sewerage network and improve water supplies.
The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has pledged €7 million (£4.7 million) to Bijeljina in the north eastern Republika Srpska for the project to replace dilapidated asbestos cement water pipes.
City mayor Mico Micic said: "This capital investment will solve crucial issues of environmental protection, including protection of long-term potable water resources.
"We are delighted to work on this project together with a reputable international financial institution such as the EBRD and I hope that this would pave the way for further cooperation in the future."
A further €4.5 million (£3 million) will be provided by the Bijeljina city authorities.
The work is aimed at cutting water pollution and health hazards in the underground water system, which is the only drinking water source for around 65,000 people.
The project also aims to create 24-hours supply with coverage up from 70 to 90% coverage in the city.
Other modernisation work will include replacing rundown water mains to cut operating costs and boost efficiency while there are also plans for an upgraded water meter scheme.
Building the sewerage system is the biggest project in the area and EBRD's first municipal infrastructure project in the country.
Bank president Jean Lemierre described it as the fruit of close cooperation with the Bosnian government.
He said: "The construction of the new Bijeljina waste water network has clear implications for health in the region.
"In the absence of this project the drinking water supply would be at risk from groundwater pollution and environmental conditions in the town of Bijeljina could continue to deteriorate."
The EBRD has so far invested €594 million in 56 projects in the country, more than two thirds of which are in the public sector.

Story by David Gibbs
Source : Edie Newsroom


27.07.07 : Britain Faces More Rain as Floods Death Toll Rises
La Grande Bretagne fait face à davantage de précipitations alors que le bilan des morts augmente
Grossbrittanien stellt sich auf verstärkte Regenfälle ein - Anzahl Opfer steigt

LONDON - Hundreds of thousands of Britons hit by the worst flooding in 60 years faced further misery on Thursday as forecasters predicted more rain in the areas most badly affected.
Two people were found dead a cellar in the west of England, raising to at least eight the number of people to have died as a result of record rainfall that has washed out many summer holidays.
The pair were believed to have been overcome by fumes from a petrol-powered pump as they tried to remove water from the basement of a rugby club, police said.
Up to 350,000 people in central parts of the country remain without running water after the floods damaged power sub-stations and knocked out sewage systems.
In the past two months, Britain has experienced the highest rainfall since records began in 1766, leading rivers to burst their banks and forcing up to 10,000 people from their homes.
Insurers have said the combined cost of the June and July floods could top 3 billion pounds ($6 bln). There is also expected to be a heavy impact on agriculture, with farmers warning that any more rain could affect harvests.
The army is distributing 3 million bottles of water a day to people who no longer have access to drinking water.
The deaths follow the disappearance of a teenager from a severely flooded town last Friday and at least six deaths from widespread flooding across northern England in mid-June.
While floodwaters may have peaked and were expected to start receding on Thursday, the Met Office, the country's weather forecasting agency, issued a warning for severe rainfall in almost exactly the area already affected.
It said up to 30 mm of rain could fall in some areas of Wales and western England in the coming hours.

Health experts warned people, especially children, to avoid flood water saying it might contain raw sewage hosting dangerous viruses and bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.
"The worst time is going to be when the water recedes," microbiologist Dr Ken Flint told the Daily Mirror. "People will need to use the highest hygiene precautions to avoid sickness."
Other scientists played down the fears.
"Despite the dire warnings about outbreaks of disease following flooding, they rarely happen," said Dr Keith Jones, an environmental microbiologist from Lancaster University.
The Health Protection Agency said the chances of contracting an illness were low but said there was a small risk of contracting a stomach bug from drinking contaminated water.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited some of the worst affected areas of the country on Wednesday and promised to increase financial aid to handle the fall out.
Milk shortages hit some areas with flooded roads making collections from dairy farms impossible. The rain brought harvesting of barley and rapeseed to a halt in many regions.
One power substation in Oxford was closed as a precaution, after it was partially flooded at the weekend, but customers have not been cut off because supplies were re-routed. Sandbags were piled up to protect other substations in the area.
Economists say the floods will trim back economic growth and are likely to trigger a short-term spike in food prices, but the overall economy is likely to weather the storm in the long run.
In a stark reference to how 21st century weather had changed, Finance Minister Alistair Darling said: "Climate change is not a passing trend.
"It is a reality we must factor into everything we do. If we do not, threats to our everyday life -- like the floods this week -- risk becoming common."

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters
Story by Luke Baker

03.07.07 : La Chine renforce ses normes sur l’eau
China strenghtens its standards for water
China stärkt seine Normen für Wasser

Limites de concentration en microbes, en matière organique ou en désinfectants: 71 nouvelles normes sont en vigueur dans le domaine de l’eau potable depuis le 1er juillet en Chine. Selon Reuters, lors d’une conférence de presse le 29 juin, le vice-secrétaire du département de la réglementation du ministère chargé de la santé, Zhang Chengyu, a déclaré: «A partir de cette date, les habitants des zones urbaines et rurales auront les mêmes normes d’hygiène sur l’eau». Il a ajouté que la Chine va bientôt instaurer un réseau national d’inspection de la qualité de l’eau, sachant qu’un dispositif pilote a déjà été lancé dans 7 provinces au mois de mai.

Cette décision intervient après la récente explosion d’algues toxiques dans le lac Taihu, à l’est du pays, qui a privé 2,3 millions de personnes d’approvisionnement en eau potable.

Source : le Journal de l'Environnement, 03.07.2007
Auteure : Agnès Ginestet

26.06.07 : Procès Erika : Conclusion des audiences : « La parole est libre » ( Robin des Bois)
Erika Prozess : Konklusion der Anhörungen : "Worte sind frei " ( Robin Wood)
Erika's lawsuit : hearings conclusions : "Words are free" (Robin Wood)

Procès Erika, 26 juin 2007
L'association Robin des Bois a suivi toutes les audiences du procès Erika. L'intégralité des comptes-rendus hebdomadaires est disponible depuis la page internet consacrée au procès à l'adresse:
Le jugement du recours de RINA, société de classification de l'Erika, est attendu pour le 4 juillet 2007. Ce recours vise à lui accorder l’immunité judiciaire dont il pourrait être bénéficiaire par extension de celle accordée à l’Etat de Malte, dont l’administration a délégué à RINA la quasi-totalité de ses pouvoirs de classification et de certification des navires.
Le délibéré du procès Erika est attendu pour le 16 janvier 2008.

Conclusion des audiences
« La parole est libre » a régulièrement rappelé le Président du Tribunal Correctionnel. Mais peu de paroles étaient au final libérées dans le long cours du procès. La voix de la Bretagne, des autres régions sinistrées par l’Erika et des communes littorales était spécialement muselée au point de nuire à l’ensemble des revendications des parties civiles et aux avocats qu’elles ont désignés; à l'exception de Vigipol qui a "dépassé ce stade", les plaignantes ont tenté le grand écart : minimiser l’impact écologique, sanitaire et esthétique de la marée noire ­ « 2 ans après tout était réparé » ­ et maximiser les dommages financiers bien au-delà des déficits touristiques des années 2000-2001.
Nous retiendrons de quelques plaidoiries que le plus fort prix à payer relève du dommage moral, de la douleur et de la perte de confiance ­ le mot angoisse n’a pas été prononcé ­ suscitées par la dégradation brutale et surgie de l’extérieur du milieu de vie et de ses ressources alimentaires. Et encore ce pretium doloris et les conséquences de ce traumatisme n’ont pas été méticuleusement explorés et projetés dans l’avenir. L’un des enseignements de l’EVOS (Exxon Valdez Oil Spill) en 1989 aux Etats-Unis est que les communautés littorales consultées plusieurs années après par des psychologues révèlent que la marée noire est vécue comme une effraction physique et psychologique irréversible et obsessionnelle.
L’autre constante du procès a été un certain acharnement envers Total accusé de tous les maux, de toutes les ingratitudes et de toutes les turpitudes du monde, ce qui a permis à Maître Soulez-Larivière de présenter son client comme victime d’un procès en sorcellerie et d’un gang de pickpockets. Total a, à notre sens, commis ses négligences et consolidé celles des autres dans la gestion de l’Erika mais il nous est toujours apparu prioritaire depuis 1999 d’exposer et de rechercher aussi les responsabilités des autres acteurs et des sociétés de classification qui délivrent et renouvellent sur l’océan mondial les certificats de navigation de 100.000 navires marchands. Maître Huglo, quelques jours après la ruine de l’Erika, l’avait pressenti : « le procès devra être celui des sociétés de classification ».
Ce procès a en outre été l’occasion d’exposer la précarité et l’insuffisance des moyens de prévention des naufrages ; la présence en tant que prévenus de quelques préposés fusibles, torpillés dans leur carrière et sans doute leur vie personnelle, a dégagé une amertume supplémentaire. L’absence au procès de quelques hauts responsables politiques du déploiement, de la mobilisation et de la disponibilité de moyens de prévention des sinistres en mer ­ en 1999 ­ n’en a paru que plus gênante.
Robin des Bois s’est constitué partie civile, s’est défendu par ses propres moyens, sans la représentation d’avocats. Nous ne croyons pas en l’argument de Total selon lequel notre constitution de partie civile faite en 2007 est susceptible d’être anéantie par des délais de prescriptions. Les faits de pollution qui sont reprochés aux prévenus et pour lesquels certains d’entre eux seront éventuellement condamnés ne se sont pas arrêtés en janvier 2000. Ils se sont au contraire poursuivis, propagés, diffusés dans la chaîne alimentaire marine et c’est ce qui fonde la demande principale de Robin des Bois, à savoir que les prévenus soient solidairement condamnés à financer à hauteur de 50 millions d’euros des expertises écologiques post Erika en vue de prolonger des rapports commandés par le Ministère de l’Environnement, cantonnés à quelques thèmes sectoriels, commencés en 2001 et finalisés en 2003. Des planctons aux oiseaux, des sardines aux loutres de mer, de la laisse de mer aux plantes pionnières, la biodiversité marine et les ressources halieutiques ont besoin d’être regardées beaucoup plus longtemps après un épandage de produits toxiques et il nous semble positif d’impliquer le monde du « shipping » dans la nécessaire poursuite et pourquoi pas la conduite de l’élargissement des recherches scientifiques.

Source : Robin des Bois
association de protection de l'Homme et de l'environnement
14, rue de l'Atlas 75019 Paris - France
Tel: 01 48 04 09 36 / Fax: 01 48 04 56 41


26.06.07 : Une mystérieuse pollution souille le Rhône (Le Monde)
Misteriöse Verschmutzung der Rhone
A strange pollution affects the Rhône River

Le Rhône est-il totalement pollué par les polychlorobiphényles ? Les dernières analyses effectuées en Ardèche et dans la Drôme montrent que la contamination à ces PCB - souvent connus sous le nom commercial de pyralène -, interdits en France depuis 1987, car potentiellement cancérigènes, s'étend bien au-delà de Lyon, où la pollution avait été découverte en 2005. Les préfectures de l'Ardèche et de la Drôme, après celles du Rhône, de l'Isère et de l'Ain, viennent de prendre un arrêté d'interdiction de consommer du poisson du fleuve et de ses canaux de dérivation.
Le périmètre s'étend désormais sur 200 kilomètres et pourrait encore être élargi : le Vaucluse, le Gard et les Bouches-du-Rhône attendent les conclusions d'analyses avant de prendre d'éventuelles mesures de protection similaires. Dans la Drôme, les résultats des prélèvements réalisés sur six espèces de poissons ont montré une contamination allant jusqu'à 59 picogrammes/gramme (pg/g), alors que l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) a fixé à 8 pg/g la concentration admissible en dioxine et PCB dans les poissons destinés à la consommation humaine. Le poisson le plus contaminé présentait une dose 40 fois supérieure à la dose acceptable quotidiennement.
L'origine de cette pollution n'a pas encore été formellement éclaircie. Mais, d'après les premiers éléments d'enquête du Cemagref (Institut de recherche pour l'ingénierie de l'agriculture et de l'environnement), à qui la préfecture du Rhône a confié une étude, elle serait ancienne - antérieure à 1987 - et due à plusieurs sources. Parmi les sources statiques, le Cemagref a localisé avec certitude l'usine Tredi, située près de Saint-Vulbas, dans l'Ain. Spécialisée dans le traitement des déchets spéciaux, notamment des transformateurs contenant des PCB, elle rejetait dans les années 1980 une partie des résidus de son activité dans le Rhône. Mais cette entreprise fait désormais l'objet d'un suivi régulier et d'autorisation préfectorale.
"Tredi rejette désormais des PCB à des niveaux inférieurs aux seuils tolérés par l'OMS", assure Alain Espinasse, le directeur adjoint du secrétariat général aux affaires régionales de la préfecture de Rhône-Alpes. Les enquêteurs n'ont pas identifié d'autres sources industrielles, mais évoquent l'existence d'une pollution plus "sauvage", le fleuve ayant servi de dépotoir, pendant des années, aux habitants peu soucieux de l'environnement, qui y jetaient par exemple leurs batteries usagées. Parmi les autres facteurs de pollution possibles sont mentionnés les remblais ayant servi de comblement des lônes, les bras morts du Rhône.
Pour le Cemagref, la persistance de la pollution s'expliquerait par le fait que les PCB, très peu solubles, se seraient accumulés dans les sédiments du fleuve, contaminant durablement les poissons. Les chercheurs ne parviennent cependant pas à comprendre le pic actuel de contamination, vingt ans après l'interdiction des PCB, alors qu'ils avaient enregistré une stabilisation des niveaux de ces produits chez les poissons il y a quelques années. "Une des explications pourrait être la modification des débits du fleuve, qui aurait fait remonter en surface des couches sédimentaires polluées aux PCB", explique Alain Espinasse.
Face à cette pollution majeure du Rhône, la préfecture de Rhône-Alpes a décidé de lancer à l'automne une étude approfondie, associant différents partenaires, les services sanitaires, vétérinaires, industriels, environnementaux de l'Etat, mais aussi les associations comme la Frapna (fédération Rhône-Alpes de protection de la nature) et les collectivités territoriales, qui dans ce dossier de pollution ont porté plainte contre X.
La préfecture de Rhône-Alpes veut se montrer rassurante à l'égard des populations et précise que les différents arrêtés pris n'interdisent pas la baignade, le simple contact avec l'eau polluée par les PCB n'étant pas considéré comme dangereux pour l'homme.
La contamination se fait par ingestion d'animaux ou de produits d'origine animale contaminés. Les autorités préfectorales font valoir que la "toxicité aiguë des PCB est faible pour l'homme et qu'une exposition accidentelle de courte durée n'a pas de conséquence grave". Les mêmes sources précisent toutefois qu'une exposition aiguë à forte dose est associée à des irritations de la peau et plus rarement des infections hépatiques, neurologiques, des bronchites chroniques, des maux de tête et vertiges et parfois de l'impuissance. Des troubles qui peuvent être irréversibles et entraîner des cancers.
Des analyses devraient être prochainement étendues à de nouvelles espèces, comme les anguilles, et à de nouveaux polluants, comme le mercure.

Source : Le Monde, Article paru dans l'édition du 27.06.07
Reportage : Sophie Landrin Lyon, correspondante régionale


10.06.07 : Croatia : Euronatur critisises ‘Croatian Suez’
Kroatien : Euroatur kritisiert " Kroatischen Suez"
Croatie : Euronature critique le "Suez croate"

Euronatur last week critisised the Croatian plans to construct a canal between the Danube and Sava rivers. Plans to construct this connection originally date back to the 18th century, but were recently revived by the Croatian government. Euronatur critisised the plans for not taking into account the many challenges involved: the irrigation and drainage function, solutions for the excavated earth, etc.

more information... (in German) <>
Source : Euronatur

04.06.07 : Croatia : World Bank supports Croatia inland water project
Kroatien : Weltbank unterstützt kroatisches Projekt zur Flusskanalisierung
Crotatie : la Banque mondiale soutient le projet croate concernant les eaux intérieures

On the 30th of May, the Worldbank decided to support an inland waters project in Croatia. The objective of the project is to benefit the local population by providing safe drinking water and collection and treatment of wastewater. Project activities will also ensure the safety of the population and property through the implementation of adequate flood protection measures.

Learn more... <,,contentMDK:21353040~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html>
Source: Worldbank


04.06.2007 : Union européenne : une majorité de zones de baignade aux normes
European Union : most of the bathing places fulfil the standards
EU : Badezonen entsprechen mehrheitlich den Normen

Le rapport annuel de la Commission européenne sur ce thème l’affirme: en 2006, «le pourcentage des eaux de baignades présentant des valeurs conformes aux valeurs impératives est de 96% pour les zones côtières et de 89% pour les sites aménagés dans les rivières et les lacs». «Il est encourageant de constater que le taux d'observation des normes dans les zones de baignade en eaux intérieures s'est amélioré en 2006, après les résultats décevants enregistrés en 2005. Je souhaite que cette tendance à l'amélioration se poursuive et que les zones de baignade en eaux intérieures atteignent des niveaux semblables à ceux des zones côtières», a déclaré Stavros Dimas, commissaire européen chargé de l’environnement. «Même si ces résultats sont encourageants, je reste préoccupé par le nombre de sites de baignade radiés des listes. Le retrait des sites pollués des listes officielles ne peut en aucun cas constituer une solution. Les Etats membres doivent au contraire mettre sur pied des programmes de dépollution de ces sites» a-t-il cependant ajouté.
D’après le communiqué de la Commission daté du 31 mai, après l’élargissement de l’Union européenne en 2004, le taux d’observation des valeurs impératives s’élève à 94,9% pour les eaux côtières et à 81,2% pour les zones de baignade en eaux intérieures dans les nouveaux Etats membres, contre 96,2% et 90% dans les anciens Etats membres de l’Union européenne des 15.

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : le Journal de l'Environnement du 04.06.07



29.05.07 : Turkey: Protest against Global Dams Conference
Türkei : Protest gegen globale Stadudammkonferenz
Turquie : Manifestation contre la Conférence Mondiale sur les Barrages

Media Release - Antalya, Turkey, May 29, 2007
- Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive - Fools of Munzur - Association for Conservation of Munzur Valley and Natural Life - Yusufeli Culture Association ­ WEED ­ International Rivers Network ­

The gap between what the International Hydropower Association says and what it does is being highlighted by dam threatened people who are protesting at the organization’s annual world congress in Antalya, Turkey. A huge banner declaring “No development, but destruction by many dams in Turkey” greets IHA members outside the convention centre.
“Members of the International Hydropower Association, such as the Austrian company VA Tech (Andritz), pretend here in Antalya that they care about people and the environment,” said Diren Özkan, speaker of the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive. “But in reality, they are building dams in Turkey that will destroy our cultural heritage and displace tens of thousands of people.”
Activists from the Turkish Yusufeli Culture Association, the Association for Conservation of Munzur Valley, Fools of Munzur and the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf have written to the president of the International Hydropower Association, Dr. Dogan Altinbilek, a Turkish national, to demand VA Tech (Andritz), a member of the IHA, to withdraw from the Ilisu project since it violates the IHA’s very own sustainability guidelines. If built, the Ilisu Dam project would destroy Hasankeyf, a 9000-year-old city, and displace some 50,000 people from their homes.
In Antalya, the International Hydropower Association will deliberate on issues such as good practice of hydropower development, hydropower and climate change and the social and environmental performance of large dams. “The International Hydropower Association jeopardizes its good name and its credibility by making big public statements about sustainability while supporting their members in building large dams that destroy rivers, forests, fields, archaeological sites and people’s homes,” said Mehmet Bidav from the Association for Conservation of Munzur Valley.
“It is not enough just to talk about best practices for the hydropower industry,” said Ann Kathrin Schneider of International Rivers Network. “The implementation of standards and the reality on the ground matters. We need less talk and more action. Affected people and the environment need to be put centre stage in all decisions related to the construction of dams. This is the only way to avoid the dam disasters of the past and the present.”

Contacts at the International Hydropower Conference in Antalya
* Diren Özkan, Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive, (mobile) + 0090-5358966777
* Ann-Kathrin Schneider, International Rivers Network, (mobile) +49 163 475 1284,


29.05.07 Italy : Glaciers in the Aosta Valley disappearing fast
Italien : Gletscher im Val Aosta schmelzen schnell
Italie : les glaciers de la Vallée d'Aoste disparaissent rapidement

Glaciers in the Italian Alps of Aosta Province will soon vanish unless the trend towards rising temperatures is halted, warned Alberto Cerise of the Valle d'Aosta Regional Council. Permafrost is melting, baring mountain slopes to wind erosion and causing landslides. Within the space of a year, the Rutor Glacier at La Thuile lost 14 million cubic meters of water and over a seven-year period, the thickness of Grand Etret Glacier in Valsavarenche decreased by 7.9 m, just two examples of a disturbing trend.

Read more... <>
Source: SAHRA Water News Watch


16.05.07 : Huge Yangtze Dam Destroying Delta (Live Science)
3 Schluchten Damm zerstört Yangze Delta
Le barrage des Trois Gorges détruit le delta du Yangtzé

China's Yangtze River Delta, home to more than 18 million people and a fertile farming area, might be disappearing soon as the Three Gorges Dam siphons off essential sediment upstream, scientists warn.
Running from its source in Tibet eastwards across China and emptying into the East China Sea through the delta at Shanghai, the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and third longest in the world.
The Three Gorges Dam was completed earlier this decade to provide flood control and hydroelectric power. At five times the size of the Hoover Dam, it is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.
Since the creation of the dam, sediment that would usually flow along with the river and be deposited in the delta is being blocked.
A new study, detailed in the May 17 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that the dam had retained 151 million tons of sediment since it began operation, reducing the amount of sediment flowing into the delta by about 31 percent.
As a result, erosion has been a major problem downstream, because there is no incoming sediment to replace what the waters wash away. The loss of sediment decreases the nutrients needed for agriculture and animals that thrive in the area, and diminishes the land on which millions of Chinese people live.

Yang, S. L., J. Zhang, and X. J. Xu (2007), Influence of the Three Gorges Dam on downstream delivery of sediment and its environmental implications, Yangtze River, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L10401, doi:10.1029/2007GL029472. (Abstract)

source : By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer


12.05.07 :Floods and drought: Lloyd’s assesses climate change
Hochwasser und Dürre ! Lloyd's Studie zum Klimawechsel
Crues et sécheresses : Lloyd's étudie les changements climatiques

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurer, offered a gloomy forecast of floods, droughts and disastrous storms over the next 50 years in a recently published report on impending climate changes. In a report on catastrophe trends Lloyd’s is disseminating to the insurance industry, a bevy of British climate experts, including Sir David King, chief scientist to the British government, warn of increased flooding in coastal areas and a rapid rise in sea level as ice caps melt in Greenland and Antarctica.

Source: Bluegold
Read more... <>

09.05.07 : Four Percent of Global Warming Due to Dams, Says New Research (IRN)
Vier prozent der Klimaerwärmung von Grossstaudämme versursacht ( IRN)
4% du réchauffement global serait dû aux barrages, indique News Research (IRN)

Large dams may be one of the single most important contributors to global warming, releasing 104 million metric tonnes of methane each year. This estimate was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal by Ivan Lima and colleagues from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
"There is now more than enough evidence to show that large dams are a major source of climate-changing pollution," says Patrick McCully, Executive Director of International Rivers Network. "Climate policy makers must address this issue."*
Lima's calculations imply that the world's 52,000 large dams contribute more than 4% of the total warming impact of human activities. They also imply that dam reservoirs are the largest single source of human-caused methane emissions, contributing around a quarter of these emissions.
Methane is a more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide, although it does not last as long in the atmosphere. One year's large dam methane emissions, as estimated by Lima, have a global warming impact over 20 years equivalent to that of 7.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide ­ higher than annual carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning in the US.
Lima and his co-authors propose capturing methane in reservoirs and using it to fuel power plants. Lima says, "If we can generate electricity from the huge amounts of methane produced by existing tropical dams we can avoid the need to build new dams with their associated human and environmental costs."
"It is unfortunate that Lima's study has come too late to be included in the recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," says Patrick McCully. "Partly because of the influence of the hydro industry and its government backers, climate policy-makers have largely overlooked the importance of dam-generated methane. The IPCC urgently needs to address this issue."
Methane is produced by the rotting of organic material in reservoirs. The massive amounts of methane produced by hydropower reservoirs in the tropics mean that these dams can have a much higher warming impact than even the dirtiest fossil fuel plants generating similar quantities of electricity.
This is only the second estimate published in the scientific literature of global greenhouse gas emissions from dams. The previous estimate, published in 2000, which included only emissions from reservoir surfaces, estimated global releases at 70 million tonnes of methane and a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Lima's calculations take account of emissions from turbines and spillways and the rivers immediately downstream of dams, in addition to reservoir surfaces. Lima's paper does not address dam emissions of carbon dioxide or another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.
Lima has also produced the first published estimates of methane emissions from dams at the national level in Brazil, China and India. These estimates show dams in Brazil and India are responsible for a fifth of these countries' total global warming impact. Dams in China are estimated to produce 1% of the country's climate pollution, although for methodological reasons this is likely an underestimate.

Source : International Rivers Network, Press Release May 9, 2007

• Patrick McCully, Executive Director, IRN, Berkeley, California:
+1 510 213 1441 (mobile) +1 510 848 1155 (office),
• Ivan Lima, National Institute for Space Research, Brazil:
+ 55 67 3233-2430 ext. 241 (office)
• Tim Kingston, Communications Manager, IRN, Berkeley, California:
+1 510 290 7170 (mobile) +1 510 848 1155 (office),

More information:
• Ivan B.T. Lima et al. (2007) "Methane Emissions from Large Dams as Renewable Energy Resources: A Developing Nation Perspective," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, published on-line March 2007.
• "FAQ: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Dams."
• IRN web pages on reservoir emissions.


08.05.07 : China plans to divert Brahmaputra waters (The Daily Star)
China plant Umleitung des Brahmaputra (The Daily Star)
La Chine prévoit de détourner les eaux du Brahmapoutre (The Daily Star)

China plans to construct a dam at Yarlung Tsangpo point on the Brahmaputra River in Tibet province to divert 200 billion cubic metres of water annually to the Yellow River threatening a major ecological disaster in Bangladesh within the next few years.
Experts and environmentalists fear Bangladesh would turn into a desert in the near future as water flow of Brahmaputra-Jamuna river, which is about 60 per cent of the total water flow, will fall drastically if China builds the dam on the Brahmaputra.
According to morphologist Maminul Haque Sarker of Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), one-third water flow of Brahmaputra-Jamuna would decline if the project is implemented.
"Around 15 to 20 small and medium rivers including Dhaleshwari, Shitalakkha and Balu will die," he cautioned.
"Salinity normally increases if water flow in the rivers declines. Less flow of water will result in alarming increase of salinity in river water, badly affecting the world heritage site Sundarbans as well as Bhola, Barisal, Khulna and Chandpur, and even different places of Sylhet and Rajshahi divisions," Sarker said adding saline water will also affect the fisheries and trees of the areas.
Although Chinese government claimed that the project is still at a conceptual stage, confidential sources confirmed that work of the project has already begun with the target to finish it in next five to seven years.
Mohammad Inamul Haque, former director general of Bangladesh Haor & Wetlands Development Board (BHWDB), said Yarlung-Tsangpo project is part of China's long-term river interlinking project to divert water from south to north.
China wants to build the dam as water flow of Yellow River declined due to huge water demand of the people of both sides of the river, said renowned engineer Taqsem A Khan.
"Although China denies launching of the project work, we believe they will go ahead with its plan to divert water from south to north for irrigation in the vast stretches of land," he said.
However, Bangladesh is yet to take any diplomatic initiative regarding the project. Even water ministry officials have no idea about the Chinese dam project.
India has already expressed concern, fearing similar effects in Assam and Arunachal provinces.
Experts suggested that Bangladesh create pressure on China as per a United Nations convention on Law of Non-Navigation Uses of International Watercourses, which disallows countries from barring natural flow of water of any international river.
As Brahmaputra is an international river, China cannot build dams blocking water flow without prior permissions of Bangladesh and India, they said.
"We should raise voices against the project at home and abroad immediately," said the BHWDB director general.
Barrister Raihan Khalid, representative of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said although Bangladesh is yet to ratify the UN convention it can exert pressure on China.
A group of retired Chinese officials first wrote about the idea to divert Brahmaputra water in a book titled 'Tibet's Water will Save China' last year.
Bangladesh is already facing water crisis in the major rivers due to India's Farakka barrage on the Padma. Some 17 rivers have already died and seven more are awaiting the same fate due to the barrage.
India is also planning to construct Tipaimukh dam on the upstream of Meghna River and initiate a river interlinking project that threatens to worsen the water crisis in Bangladesh.

Source : Suranjith Deabnath The Daily Star, May 8, 2007 <>
via IRN


30.04.07 : Tadjikistan : Hydropower Projekte boomen (AP)
Tajikistan plans dam boom (AP)
Les projets de barrage explosent au Tadjikistan (AP)

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: Tajikistan intends to build dozens of hydroelectric plants and attract up to US$1 billion (¤735 million) in foreign investment in the next three years to develop the ex-Soviet republic's huge hydropower potential, President Emomali Rakhmon said Monday.
Rakhmon said the government would create an international financial and electric power consortium with money from foreign investors, the national budget and private individuals to build some 80 power plants across the mountainous Central Asian nation - the region's poorest.
The statement comes days after the Tajik government said it would break a US$1 billion (¤735 million) contract with Russian aluminum giant OAO Rusal for the country's largest hydropower project due to continuing disagreements.
International experts estimate the country's fast-flowing mountain rivers have a potential hydropower capacity of 527 billion kilowatt hours a year, among the largest in the world.
Energy sales would bring a substantial boon to Tajikistan, whose economy was ruined by civil war in the mid-1990s.

Source : The Associated Press
Published : April 30, 2007
via IRN


25.04.07 : Inondations: un cadre européen pour la gestion de risques
Floods : an European frame for the risk management
Überschwemmungen : eine europaïsche Richtlinie für das Risikomanagement

Le Parlement a adopté le 25 avril en deuxième lecture une proposition de directive visant à garantir la protection des personnes, des biens et de l’environnement. Elle s’appliquera aux zones côtières et aux bords de rivières de l’Union européenne.
Les inondations meurtrières qui se sont produites ces dernières années ont montré la nécessité de mettre en place au plus vite un cadre de coordination communautaire en matière d’évaluation des risques et de prévention. C’est dans cette optique que le Parlement a adopté en deuxième lecture la proposition de directive relative à l'évaluation et à la gestion des risques d'inondation, qui fait suite à la position commune du Conseil du 23 novembre 2006. «La nouvelle directive est ainsi quasi acquise et les Etats membres ont deux ans pour s'y conformer», a indiqué le Parlement dans un communiqué.
Ce nouveau cadre législatif qui s’appliquera à tout le territoire de l’Union européenne a pour objectifs de réaliser d’ici fin 2011 une première évaluation des risques d’inondation pour définir les zones exposées, d’élaborer des cartes des risques d’inondation pour la fin 2013, et d’établir des plans de gestion des risques d’ici fin 2015.
Dans ses «Recommandation pour la deuxième lecture», le député autrichien et rapporteur du texte Richard Seeber (Parti populaire européen) a souligné la nécessité d’évaluer et de prendre en compte les conséquences des changements climatiques dans le cadre de l’évaluation préliminaire des risques d’inondation. Les députés ont voté dans ce sens lors de la deuxième lecture. Ils ont également renforcé le principe de solidarité entre les Etats membres, qui devront renoncer «aux mesures et aux activités qui augmentent sensiblement les risques d'inondation dans les autres Etats membres, à moins que ces mesures soient coordonnées».
Par ailleurs, le Parlement a insisté pour que les dégâts environnementaux soient pris en considération dans la prévention des risques, au même titre que les personnes et les biens. Les cartes sur les risques d'inondation devront notamment informer sur les sources importantes de pollution.
Lors de la première lecture en juin 2006, le texte avait été accueilli plutôt «favorablement» par le Parlement. 35 des 76 amendements proposés ont par la suite été retenus par le Conseil dans le cadre de la position commune. Les députés ont finalement obtenu que la directive concernant les inondations liées aux fleuves et rivières couvre également celles liées à la mer dans les zones côtières. Autre succès: les évaluations préliminaires, les cartes et les plans de gestion seront mis à la disposition du public, qui sera aussi encouragé à participer à l'élaboration et à la mise à jour des plans de gestion. Toutefois, le Parlement a indiqué avoir renoncé à ce que les inondations dues aux réseaux d'égouts soient couvertes par la directive dans la négociation en vue d'un compromis.

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : le Journal de l'Environnement du 25.04.2007


25.04.07 : EU : New Floods Directive adopted
EU : Hochwasserrichtlinie verabschiedet
UE : adoption d'une nouvelle Directive sur les crues

Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the proposal for a directive on the assessment and management of flood risks, as adaptation to the consequences of climate change becomes the subject of increased EU focus.
Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas said: “We very much welcome the fact that Parliament and Council have agreed so rapidly on the Floods Directive. This directive makes flood management a key part of river basin management. It will place more emphasis on non-structural measures like using natural flood plains as retention areas for water during floods. Flood risk and the associated economic damage are likely to increase in Europe in the coming decades. Even if we are successful in limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, climate change will have serious impacts in Europe and elsewhere. The best way to reduce the costs of adapting to climate change is to take early action. The Flood Directive will help the European Union to do so”.

Source: European Commission
Read more...<>


19.04.07 : Spain: Climate change and AGUA programme (e,f)
L'Espagne: changement climatique, programme AGUA (e,f)
Spanien : Klimawechsel und das Rpgramm Aqua (e,f)

For Spanish agriculture, water and its good management are crucial. Indeed, even if the average pluviometry of the country is not negligible, precipitations are very badly distributed. This bad allocation of resources generates strong competitions, on all the levels: local (between the various users), regional (between autonomous Communities of the same catchment area), and national. Through the program AGUA, the current Spanish government promotes a water management based on the one hand, on water saving and the development of new resources and, on the other hand, on the internalisation of the external costs dependent for the use of water.

Source : EMWIS Flash
Read more... <>
Version française :


13.04.07 : Southern Europe will suffer more from global warming than North
Südeuropa wird stärker unter der Klimaerwärmung leiden als der Norden
Le Sud de l'Europe souffrira davantage du réchauffement global que le Nord

Southern Europe will suffer more than the north from global warming, with farmers struggling to keep crops alive because of lack of water, predicted a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Crop productivity, if climate trends continue at their present rate, "is likely to increase in Northern Europe and decrease along the Mediterranean and in Southeastern Europe," the document declared.

Source: SAHRA Water News Watch
Read more... <>

04.04.07 : Brazil Federal court gives go-ahead for 11GW Belo Monte hydro project EIS
Brasilianischer Richter gibt grües Licht für das 11 GW Belo Monte Wasserkraftprojekt
La Cour Fédérale du Brésil donne son accord au projet hydroélectrique de 11 GW de Belo Monte

A Brazilian federal judge in the northern state of Pará has cleared
federal power company Eletronorte to carry out environmental impact
studies for the 11,181MW Belo Monte hydroelectric project in the
country's Amazon region, the court said in a statement.
Judge Herculano Nacif also gave the go-ahead for federal
environmental protection agency Ibama to appraise the EIS and issue
necessary licenses for the project.
The ruling is the latest in a complex legal dispute surrounding the US $2.5bn-3bn
project considered key to increasing the country's power
supply in the next decade and included in the federal government's
growth acceleration program (PAC). The first 5,681MW stage of the
project is scheduled to start generating power in 2012.
Nacif threw out a suit filed by federal prosecutors and the
indigenous population authority Funai which aimed to prevent the EIS
from being carried out.
Prosecutors and Funai argued the EIS could not be conducted without
previously consulting local indigenous populations that might be
affected by the power plant.
Belo Monte is due to be built on the Xingu river that crosses several
reservations of Amazonian indigenous populations.
Nacif agreed with Eletronorte and Ibama the EIS could go ahead based
on a congressional authorization granted in 2005 because the study
process itself would involve consultations with local indigenous groups.
The judge said in the ruling local populations would be identified by
the EIS and consulted by Ibama when the former appraises the
feasibility of the project.
"I cannot imagine... concrete or potential damage to indigenous
groups or the environment from the mere realization of a feasibility
study," Nacif wrote in the ruling. "The biggest environmental damage
I could see from the EIS process would be possible noise pollution if
protests were to be staged during public hearings or litter resulting
from a group meeting."
The mines and energy ministry expects the EIS to be concluded this
year, a ministry spokesperson told BNamericas.

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