The RiverFax, english version, Januar 2000

Published by: ERN (European Rivers Network)
Geneva/Switzerland Main & West-European office:
8, rue Crozatier, 43000 Le Puy France
- Executive Director: Roberto A. Epple
Phone: +33 471 02 08 14
Fax: +33 471 02 60 99

Web :


Short before New Year the operator society of the giant dam project "Grimsel West" (restoring power station) has announced to give up the last big and very controversial project in the "Berner Oberland" (region in the Swiss Alps). The 200 m high dam was to be built into the existing Grimsel reservoir and would have flooded a part of the glacier as well as precious moors and rare mountain pine forests. The planned capacity of the reservoir was 2400 million m3 with an annual power generation of up to 1200 million GWh. The 3 milliards CHF project (1 US Dollar = 1,6 CHF) had been waged a bitter struggle against by the Swiss "Grimsel Society" and other environmental associations for more than 10 years. However, according to the "KWO Kraftwerke Oberhasli" the renunciation of the project had been decided upon only due to commercial reasons. Alternatively the KWO is now planning to rise the existing dam to produce additional 200 million GWh/a. With only 1/6 of the originally aspired additional production and costing only 1,2 milliards CHF this project is much smaller and is characterised as acceptable by the environmental associations. "Grimsel West" was the last remaining of three big dam projects in the Alps. The other two projects "Val Madris" and "Curciusa" where successfully opposed during the recent years and both had finally been withdrawn. Thus the liberalisation of the current market and the strong environmental opposition has brought an end to the "dam euphoria" in the Alps .


Drought-stricken Israel might import massive quantities of water from Turkey if a team of experts appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak gives the go-ahead, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. "Turkey is ready and capable to supply Israel with water but we will not import water if it is not economically viable," the official said. He said Turkey had recently completed the construction of a water-export terminal at the mouth of a major river near the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya. More information on ERNs website


Those lists will provide you weekly with information concerning rivers. To know how to suscribe, go to Rivernews from Europe, (mostly in English), selected by ERN It provides you with the most important news (90% in english) from all the European river basins, incl. Northafrica, Turkey and Russia (to Ural) and some important world-wide RiverNews. Rivernews in Russian (cyrillique), selected by ERN It provides you with the most important news in Russian from all the European river basins, incl. Northafrica, Turkey and Russia and some important world-wide news. Salmonmail salmonnews (multilingual) loiremail (in French) e-lbmail (in German)


On October the 2nd and 3rd an NGO conference on issues of the EU water framework directive took place in Brussels, organised by the EEB (European Environmental Bureau). Representatives of different European NGOs and research institutes discussed the most urgent issues as to be the time frame of the directive, the approach to hazardous substances and water prising. The current draft of the law foresees a transition period of 16 years with possible extensions of three times 6 years making all together up to 34 years till a country has definitely to comply with the set standards. Regarding the hazardous substances new amendments have to be formulated since formulations of the currant draft may even weaken the currently existing legislation in that field. Water prising is an issue addressing especialy countries of southern Europe with water shortage. It is being discussed as an important tool for inaugurating more efficient water management methods in those countries to avoid further unnecessary dam constructions.


10th Volga Days took place on 21st - 23rd of October in the city of Nijny Novgorod (ex Gorky) on the River Volga in Russia. In presence of more than 250 representatives from 35 regions of Russia, the Kazakh Republic, the European Rivers Network (France), Milieukontakt (Netherlands) and Heinrich Boell Stiftung (Germany) the Russian rivers Network (RRN) was founded. The establishing of this Network was initiated by the Wolga Network "Help the River" - the organiser of the wonderful "Volga Days". The European Rivers Network has been sustaining a close relationship to this organisation for several years and was the influence behind it. ERN will support its Russian counterpart foremost in the field of communicationIn accordance with the ERN the new Network is structured using the basin areas of the main rivers as basic unites. In this first step the RRN includes the river basins Volga, Don, Petshora, Tshusavaja, Katun, Ob, Amur, and the lake Baikal as well as the river Irtysh in the Kasakh Republic as associated member. The RRN has its seat in Nijny Novgorod (Gorki). In this way the RRN is fitting in with the existing networks and is filling a gap between ERNs Network and the Southeast Rivers Network, which is being built up by the International Rivers Network (IRN - USA).

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