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04.10.11: USA : Condit Dam (White salmon river) to be breaches october 26

The Condit Dam on the White Salmon River is to be breached Oct. 26, as the Northwest becomes the epicenter of dam removal.

more information : and more about dam decommissioning on our website :


28.09.11 : Eurelectric report : Half of european Hydro power untapped (276 Twh) ??

ENDS Europe

Tuesday 27 September 2011

A further 600 terawatt hours of electricity a year could be generated from hydropower in the EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, according to a report released on Tuesday by power sector association Eurelectric.

The report was issued following a Eurelectric workshop on hydropower in Brussels on Monday. An additional 276TWh a year, or 46%, could come from the EU. The largest untapped potential there is in Sweden and France, according to experts.

Turkey, Norway and Iceland have the largest potential outside the EU. Total power currently generated annually in Europe is about 552TWh, which is about half of its "technically feasible potential", says Eurelectric. A further 60TWh could come from other European countries, such as Albania, Serbia and Ukraine.

Hydropower is important because it can provide the "necessary flexibility and storage capacity" to balance demand and supply fluctuations, and help integrate increasing amounts of wind and solar generation into the grid, according to the report.

To unleash the sector's full potential, the report recommends improving grids and interconnections. In January an advisory body said Germany should team up with Norway to develop its pumped storage capacity – the largest form of electricity storage.

The European Commission's environment department held a workshop on hydropower last week. The department's head of water protection, Peter Gammeltoft, said about 65% of hydropower plants located in western Europe were old and needed refurbishing. This compares with half of plants in the eastern European region.

Mr Gammeltoft's colleague Ursula Schmedtje said significant degradation of watercourses and biodiversity loss could be avoided if the requirements of the water framework directive are taken into account. Upgrading plants together with ecological mitigation measures could even increase hydropower generation, she said.


Eurelectric report( .

Source :


Tel: +32 (0) 2289 10 93 | Fax: +32 (0) 289 10 99 | Website: | 




08.07.11 : Turkey: Drowning the Past in the Waters of Progress

by Jonathan Lewis and Constanze Letsch

There is also a wonderful photo essay on the site:

For half a century, Hasankeyf, a Bronze-Age-era town on the banks of the river Tigris, has faced the threat of being submerged by construction of the proposed Ilisu Dam, part of a controversial 23-dam project in southeast Turkey. If completed, the dam would wipe out a town that has been continuously inhabited for over 6,000 years.

Despite ongoing protest against the project both in Turkey and abroad, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an leaves no doubt about his determination to bring the dam to completion. Citing concerns about the project’s social and environmental impact, Germany, Austria and Switzerland withdrew their financial support for the construction project in 2009, but the Turkish government was able to secure the needed 1.1 billion euro (about $1.58 billion) domestically. Last year, Erdog(an shaved two years off the dam’s official opening date -- from 2016 to 2014.

The relocation of villages that will be affected by the dam has already started. Tens of thousands of people could be affected.

Approximately one mile from Hasankeyf, the state housing agency TOKI has begun the construction of New Hasankeyf, a village that will contain 596 houses. The 48-house New Ilisu Village, 100 kilometers downriver from Hasankeyf, was inaugurated last October.

About 50 workers are employed at the New Hasankeyf site; not one of them is from the original town. “The government has guaranteed that the GAP project would bring employment to Hasankeyf. But that turned out to be an empty promise,” comments local storeowner and environmental activist Ömer Güzel, in reference to the government’s 23-dam project. “It feels like we will be buried alive and all we can do is sit and watch them dig our graves,” he adds, pointing to the dust clouds rising from the construction of his future town.

Kerem Birog(lu, one of the owners of Birog(lu Ins,aat, the company building New Hasankeyf’s roads and installing telephone lines and other infrastructure, underlines that the builders only want “to do a good job. We don’t want to get involved in the politics of the dam.”

In the ten months that his company has worked in the valley, Birog(lu has never visited the town of Hasankeyf. But looking at the Tigris and the town, he adds: “Though it really is a pity that this place and all these historic monuments will be flooded, isn’t it?”

The replacement villages in store for Hasankeyf and its nearby hamlets may do little to compensate for that lost past. In New Ilisu (Yeni Ilisu), TOKI regulations forbid planting anything on the grass patches in front of the houses, or letting children step on the lawns. Those residents making monthly payments to TOKI for their houses have little choice but to abide by the agency’s rules.

TOKI charges villagers 75,000 lira (about $46,368) for a house in New Ilisu; residents from villages affected by the Ilisu Dam’s construction, however, received only between 20,000 and 35,000 lira (about $12,370 to $21,648 ) from the state in compensation for their old houses.

Only a few months after having moved into their new homes, though, residents started complaining about water leaks and broken fixtures, but most of all about lacking possibilities to secure a modest income. Small stables have been built too close to houses and kitchens to be able to shelter cattle or goats. The nearest large town where employment could be found, Batman, is approximately 150 kilometers away.

Given these drawbacks, the Turkish press has dubbed the settlement “Absürtköy” or “Absurd Village.”

TOKI, though, will use the exact same model for New Hasankeyf. According to construction company owner Birog(lu, there are no plans for animal stables, workshops or factories, and with most of Hasankeyf’s historical monuments under water, the small profits made from tourism are likely to vanish.

To prevent that prospect, lawyer Murat Cano, who has been battling the Ilisu Dam for 11 years convinced a local court in March to order an investigation to assess Hasankeyf’s cultural value and the potential damage the dam might cause.

“The Ministry of Culture has no feasible plans on how to move and protect historical monuments,” says Cano. “They are not even sure which monuments will be relocated.” The ministry has not responded to the allegations, but government officials maintain that New Hasankeyf’s waterside location will attract tourists.

The report, written by three court-appointed experts, was expected by the end of June, but has not yet appeared. Nonetheless, Cano remains convinced that the findings will end the Ilisu Dam’s construction. “If the assessment report is written to international preservation standards, Ilisu will be scrapped,” he says.

But the government, so far, has given scant sign of heeding such concerns. “Let me tell you this – these power plants will be built,” news agencies reported then Environment Minister Veysel Erog(lu as saying in 2009. “No one can stop it. This is the decision of the state and the government.”

Editor's Note:
Jonathan Lewis is a freelance photojournalist based in Istanbul. Constanze Letsch is a freelance writer also based in Istanbul.

16.06.11 : EU Commission is referring Spain to the EU Court of Justice for breaching two pieces of EU environment legislation.

The EU Water Framework Directive requires Member States to publish a management plan for each river district by 22 December 2009 at the latest. Spain is required to adopt 25 plans in total, but has so far only adopted and communicated one (the Plan de gestión del Distrito de Cuenca Fluvial de Cataluña).
Despite earlier warnings (see IP/11/91), as the plans have still not been adopted almost a year and a half after the deadline, the Commission has decided to refer Spain to the EU Court of Justice. The delay in submitting river basin plans puts the achievement of the Water Framework Directive's objective – to achieve good ecological and chemical status by 2015– at risk. According to the classification laid down in the Directive, "good status" is defined as a slight deviation from reference standards that reflect no or very low human pressure on the abundance of aquatic flora and fauna, the availability of nutrients, levels of salinity and temperature and the presence of chemical pollutants of high concern. River basin management plans give a comprehensive overview of the main issues for each river basin district and should include the specific measures needed to achieve set environmental quality objectives.

source :

04.04.11 : Pakistan: US pledges $500m for Bhasha dam
Dawn, April 4, 2011, By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD: The United States has agreed to provide more than $500 million for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam to encourage multilateral institutions like the World Bank to become part of the lenders’ consortium taking up the multi-billion-dollar project.

A senior Wapda official said the discussions between the US and Pakistani authorities had already begun to finalise the size of the financing and the mode of US participation in project development.
He said the US assistance for the project would be a combination of investment and grant financing it had committed to under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act.
The Diamer-Bhasha dam has already been delayed by more than five years and its cost has more than doubled.
The project was taken in hand as part of the five mega dams proposed by former president Pervez Musharraf and it was to be completed in 2016. The dam’s cost was put at $6.4 billion (Rs400 billion) at the time.
The cost has now been revised to $11.2 billion (Rs953 billion) and its completion date extended to 2021, which may be extended further as economic indicators change during the course of project implementation.
Source :Dawn, April 4, 2011 By Khaleeq Kiani, via International Rivers

19.03.11 : Turkey and Syria lay foundation stone of 'Friendship Dam'
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog (an attended last February 6th, a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a dam on a river that flows from Syria to Turkey in a long-delayed project, promising that it will help strengthen cooperation with Syria. Erdog (an said Turkey was also working on other cooperation projects such as building a high-speed rail line between the two countries, establishing a joint Turkish-Syrian bank and linking the natural gas networks of the two neighbors. "Today, the Asi River ceases to be a border line that separates us, that sets us apart, as it becomes a border line that brings us closer." The dam's potential uses in the future are not limited to irrigation and flood prevention purposes. Erdog(an said Turkey and Syria will also jointly use the electricity that the dam produces. It will also be possible to carry out fishery activities and water sports and other recreational activities. The costs of the dam's operation and maintenance will be covered by the two countries, and each will have an equal share of the responsibility. Erdog(an, who later flew to Aleppo for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the construction of the dam was also a result of his government's policy of "zero problems with neighbors" that has led to a radical transformation in Turkish-Syrian ties from enmity to cooperation in almost every field. Source : EMWIS website.

08.03.11 : China : Dam Nation -When Beijing counts hydropower as "green energy," it's doing the environment -- and its economy -- no favor.(Foreign Policy)

BY PETER BOSSHARD | Foreign Policy, MARCH 8, 2011
Next week, China's National People's Congress, which is now meeting in Beijing, will formally adopt the country's next five-year plan. The document will define the country's vision for the next half-decade, including an increasingly desperate balancing act between economic growth and environmental protection. At least 200 million Chinese will join the urban middle class by the end of this decade, and the government sees continued rapid growth as the best recipe for the preservation of social stability. But at the same time, the country bursts at the ecological seams. Lush forests have given way to dust bowls and industrial wastelands. Plant and animal species are going extinct at a rapid pace. Millions of people are being displaced from lands that can no longer sustain them. Birth defects -- likely related to exposure to polluted air, water, or food -- in some places reach 20 times the global average.

At first glance, the next five-year plan (or what has so far been shared with the public) appears to be the greenest in China's history. On Feb. 27, Premier Wen Jiabao emphasized the new priorities in a well-publicized Internet chat session: "We can no longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid development and reckless construction.... These will only lead to overcapacity in production, increased pressure on environmental resources, and unsustainable economic growth." The five-year plan's expected provisions include targets and financing to promote the rapid expansion of alternative energy, and tighter limits for toxic pollutants, among other measures.

The new plan comes in the wake of notable environmental reforms that Beijing has adopted in the last few years. At the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, the Chinese government committed to reducing the carbon intensity of China's economy, even though its greenhouse gas emissions per capita are much lower than those of industrialized countries. The government has funded the development of cheap, innovative renewable-energy technologies. (Western countries could learn something from the determination with which the Chinese government has lately focused on developing the clean-tech sector.) The new five-year plan proposes further financial incentives and technical improvements. Yet this approach will not be sufficient to overcome the country's environmental crisis.

China's great rivers illustrate the challenge that the country faces. Chinese rulers have always seen controlling water as part of their heavenly mandate. During the last 60 years, they have diverted rivers to feed inefficient irrigation systems, abused them as sewage canals for polluting industries, and choked them with more than 20,000 large dams. As a consequence, rivers, lakes, and wetlands have dwindled, fisheries are collapsing, water supplies have become unfit for human consumption, and China's coastal areas are engulfed by toxic algae blooms every summer. Moreover, dams have displaced at least 23 million people, and according to Chinese-American scientists, one particular project, the Zipingpu Dam, likely triggered the devastating earthquake that claimed 80,000 lives in Sichuan in 2008.

In response to the growing water crisis, the Chinese government has successively strengthened its water protection laws and regulations over the past 20 years. Yet the reality has not kept pace with such legal changes. In collusion with local government officials, project developers routinely flout environmental protection measures when they impinge on economic growth. Jiang Gaoming, a professor of botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has charged that environmental impact assessments for hydropower projects have become a "marginalized and decorative process, seen as just a part of the cost of doing business." In recent years, construction projects started at several large dams on the Yangtze River even though their impact assessments had not yet been approved. And this year, a government body simply redrew the boundaries of a vitally important fish reserve on the same river to allow a midsize hydropower project to go forward. The decision may sound the death knell for the majestic Yangtze sturgeon and other migrating fish species. According to an official of the local environmental protection bureau, the dam was necessary "for the sake of economic growth."

The technical and engineering solutions that the new five-year plan proposes will not bring relief for China's freshwater resources. For instance, China's National Energy Administration has already announced that new hydropower projects, which it considers a source of green energy, will be approved to the tune of 140 gigawatts under the new plan. (In comparison, the United States has installed just 80 gigawatts of hydropower capacity in its entire history.) If the dam projects go forward, they will destroy areas that even the government has called "epicenter[s] of Chinese biodiversity." In addition, many dams are scheduled to be built on the earthquake-prone fault lines that mark the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates.

The Chinese government hopes that the massive expansion of hydropower will allow it to sustain rapid economic growth while it gradually shifts away from fossil fuels. Yet the country already pays a high price for the collapse of its freshwater ecosystems. Its dams have destroyed and degraded freshwater resources on which hundreds of millions of people depend. Around the world, rivers, lakes, and wetlands have undergone more dramatic changes than any other type of ecosystem. The U.N. Environment Program warns that "natural systems that support economies, lives and livelihoods across the planet are at risk of rapid degradation and collapse" and that it would be arrogant to "imagine we can get by without biodiversity." If China's unprecedented dam-building spree is approved by the National People's Congress, it will undermine the foundations of the country's long-term prosperity.

China's new five-year plan essentially proposes to sacrifice the country's arteries to save its lungs. This impasse illustrates that China will not be able to engineer its way out of a mounting environmental crisis. "Really improving the environment in China will require revolutionary bottom-up political and economic reforms," writes Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Civil society groups and the media should be free to report on the state of the country's environment. Courts should be allowed to go after well-connected companies that violate environmental regulations. Schools should encourage the creative thinking that the country needs to move away from polluting industries at the bottom of the value chain. And as China's leaders chart their course for the next five years, they should embrace the wider social reforms that are needed for the protection of the environment.

Peter Bosshard is policy director of International Rivers, an environmental and human rights organization. He works from Beijing and Berkeley, California.


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