Pressreleases / Communiqués / Pressemitteilungen 
(all in original language, en langue originale, in Originalsprache):


    News "newer" then 13.08.99

    13.08.99 : 62 Arrested Daring Submergence at Dam Protest
    13.08.99 : Canadian Natives win Churchill Power Project EIS
    07.08.99 : India : Narmada:  Waters rise again
    03.08.99 : Japan: Nagaki Dam in Akita Prefecture Frozen
    02.08.99 : Narmada: Article in "Le Monde"
    30.07.99 :  Prize winning indian author censored over Narmada dam
    19.07.99 : INDIA: NARMADA WATER RISING : Medha and Satyagrahis determined to face submergence
    05.07.99 : Three Gorges: NGO  letter to Credit Suisse (CS)
    01.07.99 : USA: Edwards Dam removed on Maine's Kennebec River 

Text : 

13.08.99: Narmada - India : 62 Arrested Daring Submergence at Dam Protest

By Frederick Noronha

BOMBAY, India, August 11, 1999 (ENS) - Villagers and activists are braving
submergence in a do or die protest against the mammoth Indian Narmada dam
project, as protests touched a flashpoint this week.

Sixty-two people determined to face submergence in the rising waters
behind the Sardar Sarovar Dam were arrested by the Maharashtra police
Wednesday evening in Domkhedi village on the banks for the Narmada River.
They had been standing in the three-foot deep water since early  Wednesday
The police had to resort to dragging and beating to arrest the protesters.
As the police carried them away, a steady stream of villagers took their
places in the waist deep water, according to eyewitness Sanjay Sangvai.

The villagers and activists have vowed to remain on their lands and die in
the waters now rising in the Narmada Valley rather than be forced onto
resettlement sites. They insist that life in resettlement sites is not
worth living.

Among those arrested are Medha Patkar, who is a commissioner of the World
Commission on Dams, and other well known activists Ranyabhai Padvi and
Devrambhai Kanera.

The Chief Secretary of the state of Maharashtra is on his way to Domkhedi.

The backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar Project started rising from the
morning of August 10.

The government of India has yet to give authorization to increase the $8.1
billion Sardar Sarovar Dam from its current height of 88 meters to a final
height of 163 meters. If the dam and its associated irrigation system are
completed, it will force the eviction of more than half a million people
from their lands. A Supreme Court ruling earlier this year lifted a
four-year moratorium on the dam's construction and the dam wall has gone
up from 80.3 meters to 88 meters.

Anti-dam campaigners have been protesting since June 20 in Domkhedi and
Jalsindhi villages against what they call "the unjust submergence imposed
on them by the illegal construction on Sardar Sarovar Dam before the
monsoon." This is the monsoon season in India, when heavy rains lash the
region. Reservoirs behind new dams are normally filled at this time of the

Campaigners call their drive "Satyagraha." Satyagraha means a fight for
truth. It evokes a similar term used by India's nationalist champion
Mahatma Gandhi when he launched a drive against British colonialism in the

The foremost campaign group, Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save The Narmada
Campaign), said, "In Jalsindhi, another Satyagraha place, the water was
hardly two feet below the Satyagraha house and the three main activists,
Sitarambhai, Luhariyabhai and Rehmat and others are prepared to face the
submergence waters. Government officials merely came to 'inform' the
people and went off."

Earlier this week, police toured some of the villages with a warning
asking campaigners to go to safe places. The people and activists made it
clear that they would not move out of the satyagraha house in face of
potential drowning.

Campaigns over the Narmada got a sudden boost within India and abroad when
an internationally acclaimed Indian prize winning novelist, Arundhati Roy,
took the side of the campaigners and articulately pressed their case. Many
mainstream papers in India have been widely covering the issue in recent

The United States based International Rivers Network (IRN) is denouncing
the Indian government for its role in the events now unfolding in the
Narmada Valley. The group is calling on the Indian government to halt any
further construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. IRN has opposed the
project and worked closely with the Narmada Bachao Andolan for the past 10

Juliette Majot, executive director of International Rivers Network spent
July 4 to 16 in India, in villages now flooded by the monsoon rains behind
the Sardar Sarovar Dam. "This is not a natural disaster caused by the
monsoon," said Majot. "It is a manmade disaster caused by a dam for which
the government of India is responsible."

While thousands of people now stand to be displaced or drowned due to
flooding caused by the dam, people already resettled face severe problems.
Resettlement in fragmented units has torn apart families, communities and
cultures. In rehabilitation sites, people face shortages of land and
water, and many suffer from lack of fuelwood, fodder and poor sanitation.

In resettlement sites visited by Majot, villagers reiterated that
conditions are unacceptable: land offered is inadequate for cultivation;
freshwater supplies are insufficient or unavailable; housing is built of
inappropriate materials for the climate. With no access to forest products
such as fruits, firewood, and medicinal plants, villagers, particularly
children, were experiencing health problems and hunger.

"What choice do we have but to submerge ourselves? I've tried to find the
person to answer this question, but there is no one," Batu Narmadya told
Majot in the village of Domkhedi.

 Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All Rights Reserved.

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13.08.99: Canadian Natives win Churchill Power Project EIS

By Bill Eggertson
QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, Canada, August 13, 1999 (ENS) - Construction of one of
the largest hydroelectric projects in the world has been stalled due to
environmental protests by native peoples in Canada.
Copyright ENS
A map of the proposed project is online at:
For full text and graphics visit:

07.08.99 : Narmada:  WATERS RISE AGAIN 
Medha and  Samarpit Dal Ready To face Submergence
The backwater of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the Narmada valley
once again rose alarmingly and came upto six and half feet below the
Satyagraha house in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi on Friday ( August 6).The
Satyagrahis including Medha Patkar, Ranya Padvi, Bawabhai Muhariya,
Sitaram Patidar and others have been staying put to face the unjust
submergence. The water level may further rise with the release of water
from upstream dams of Bargi, Tawa and Barna.

Due to the heavy downpour in the upstream regions of Jabalpur and Mandla
regions of Narmada valley in Madhya Pradesh, the already high level of
submergence water has further risen. The level near Hafeshwar, the
nearest access point near the Satyagraha villages, was around 98 meters.
The level at the SSP damsite in the evening of August 6 was 92.95 m. In
the upstream, at Rajghat,near Badwani in Nimad, the water level in the
morning was at 119 m. The backwater level rose sharply, some three weeks
before going up to 97 m. near Hafeshwar, which was fluctuating during
the successive weeks. However, Friday's rise was yet another pointer for
increasing danger. The discharge from the upstream dams has been quite
substantial. Bargi (30,000 cusecs), Tawa (28,000 cusecs) and Barna
(30,000 cusecs) would further exacerbate the situation.

The village representatives from the villages in Akrani, Akkalkua
tehsils in Maharashtra, from Alirajpur tehsil and plains of Nimad in
M.P. have been participating in the satyagraha at Domkhedi (Mah) and
Jalsindhi (M.P.) in a large numbers alongwith individuals and
organisations in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Bengal, Gujarat and
Maharashtra. From Karnataka representatives fro Dalit and Women
Chalavali  are staying for a long period at the satyagraha site.
Activists of Swashraya-Vypin, Eco Activists Collective and various
environmental groups from Kerala, Tamilnadu have been participating in
the satyagraha.

A 12 member delegation from the villages affected by the Koliari dam in
Gujarat participated in the mass action. The organisations at the
Satyagraha place expressed solidarity with the Koliari struggle and
demanded that the people should not be displaced and the dam work must
not go ahead without resettling the people.

The increase of the height of the SSP from 80.3 meters to 85 m plus
humps of  3 meters, would be submerging the houses and farms of over
2500 families from 50-60 villages in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh. The
government had yet to resettle the affected families below the 80 meters
itself. Though the NBA has been raising all the basic issues regarding
the dam and very raison d'etre of the displacement, even in the very
limited case of the resettlement of the oustees upto 80 meters or 88
meters of dam height, it is proved that the state governments failed to
resettle the people below that height. The state governments, instead
have filed  false affidavits in the  Court about the resettlement.

Sanjay Sangvai
B-13, Shivam Flats, Ellora Park, Baroda-390007
more information : website : save the Narmada mouvement

03.08.99 : Japan: Nagaki Dam in Akita Prefecture Frozen

 At a press conference on August 2, Sukeshiro Terata, governor of Akita
Prefecture reavealed that the prefectural governement intends to freeze the
Nagaki Dam project planned for the upper reaches of the Nagaki River at the
city of Odate, stating that "the costs of the construction outweigh the
benefits."  On August 5, at a meeting of the prefecture's Public Works
Project Reassessment Committee, he will consult the members and after
hearing their findings, he intends take actions to have the project frozen.
Jiji News Service, Japan
(Translation; Heather Souter,Rivers!Japan)

02.08.99 : La romancière Arundhati Roy à la tête du combat des écologistes indiens

NEW DELHI de notre correspondante en Asie du Sud

 Argumenter à propos des grands barrages est comme argumenter à propos de 
la religion. Il y a un tel mythe en Inde à ce sujet que personne ne veut 
vous écouter. » Après un brillant plaidoyer moral contre l'arme nucléaire 
testée par son pays en 1998, la romancière Arundhati Roy, Booker Prize 1998 
pour son livre Le Dieu des petits riens (Gallimard), est la figure de proue 
de la nouvelle manifestation organisée par l'association Sauvez le mouvement 
du Narmada.

Pendant quatre jours, trois cents personnalités venues d'Inde ou de 
l'étranger vont parcourir la vallée du Narmada pour apporter leur soutien 
aux centaines de milliers de personnes concernées par les gigantesques 
travaux de développement - trente grands barrages, cent trente-cinq moyens 
et trois mille petits - entrepris sur ce fleuve de 1 312 kilomètres qui 
court du Madhya Pradesh au Gujarat.

Arundhati Roy explique, dans un nouveau petit livre très bien documenté, que 
« la bataille du Narmada est symbolique des mécanismes du pouvoir et des 
inégalités ».

Sans crainte de soulever un sujet éminemment sensible en Inde, elle affirme 
: « Au coeur de la bataille du Narmada, il y a le système des castes et 
personne ne veut le savoir.  » Selon des chiffres de la Commission du plan, 
quarante millions de personnes ont été déplacées en Inde, depuis 
l'indépendance, par la construction de barrages. Sur ce chiffre, 60 % sont 
des tribaux ou des intouchables, qui ne constituent respectivement que 8 % 
et 15 % du milliard d'Indiens.

« Depuis cinquante ans, l'Inde n'a pas de politique de réhabilitation, 
souligne Arundhati Roy. Que les défenseurs des barrages admettent au moins 
que depuis lors des millions de gens ont été déracinés sans autre 
alternative. Mais il faut déjà tant d'énergie dans ce pays pour ignorer les 
problèmes que les gens ne veulent pas qu'on leur mette le nez dessus.  » « 
Un écrivain ne peut pas fermer les yeux », ajoute-t-elle.

Depuis plus de trente ans, le projet d'aménagement de la vallée du Narmada 
fait périodiquement l'objet de décisions judiciaires, ses partisans et ses 
adversaires tentant de faire valoir leurs arguments devant la justice. Les 
premiers barrages déjà construits tendent à donner raison aux opposants, qui 
ont beau jeu de souligner que les coûts humains et financiers ont largement 
dépassé toutes les estimations. « Ce projet n'est pas dans l'intérêt 
national et nous demandons donc que des personnalités indépendantes le 
réétudient complètement », explique Himanshu Thakker, membre de 
l'Association de défense du Narmada. Déjà le Japon puis la Banque mondiale, 
en 1993, ont retiré les prêts accordés, estimant notamment que les 
conséquences sur l'environnement n'avaient pas été suffisamment étudiées.

Les opposants au projet estiment que sa poursuite est voulue par des lobbys 
financiers, tout autant que par les gouvernements successifs du Gujarat qui, 
depuis trente ans, en ont fait un argument électoral. « Aussi longtemps que 
la lutte continue, nous avons l'espoir d'être entendus », affirme M. 
Thakker. La présence d'Arundhati Roy dans cette bataille a relancé le débat. 
L'écrivain n'a nulle intention d'abandonner une cause qu'elle juge 
fondamentale pour le développement d'une démocratie réelle.

Françoise Chipaux
more information : website : save the Narmada mouvement

30.07.99 :  Prize winning indian author censored over Narmada dam
BOMBAY, India, July 30, 1999 (ENS) -
An international body working to protect journalists has voiced its "deep concern" over what it termed "the latest efforts to suppress discussion of the environmental and social costs
of Sardar Sarovar dam construction. This dam is part of a controversial
multi-dam irrigation and hydroelectric project along the Narmada River in
the state of Gujarat.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 1999
For full text and graphics visit:

19.07.99 :INDIA: NARMADA WATER RISING : Medha and Satyagrahis determined to face submergence
(Narmada Bachao Andolan - Press Note)

The ' Samarpit Dal' (Dedicated Squad) of the Narmada Bachao Andolan
is determined to face the swirling backwaters of Sardar Sarovar Project
(SSP) as the level of the Narmada rises sharply due to heavy rains in the
upper catchment. The main activists of Andolan including Bawa Muhariya,
Sitarambhai Patidar and Medha Patkar and other villagers and activists on
Satayagrah (Struggle for Truth) are determined not to move out even if they
re drowned.

On Sunday and Monday there has been heavy downpour in the Narmada valley.
The water level has been fast increasing in the Sardar Sarovar affected areas,
roads are being submerged and it is becoming increasingly difficult to
with the villages. If the rains continue for the next two days the water
may reach the
Satyagraha house in Domkhedi village (on the south bank of the river in
The Satayagrah house in Jalsindhi on the opposite bank is at a slightly
higher elevation.

There are no reports of opening up of the gates of Tawa and Bargi dams
If they are opened, the water level would rise rapidly, submerging the
places and the other villages.

The construction work on the Sardar Sarovar has reached upto 88 meters
with the permission of the Supreme Court, when the resettlement of the
first few villages near the damsite also was not complete. The increased
height (85 m. plus 3 m. of 'humps') would submerge about 60 villages
with 2000 tribal families. This year's submergence would hit the entire
tribal region in the Sardar Sarovar affected area. The people have
decided to challenge the unjust submergence and forcible displacement
that was imposed on them by the government machinations, with the help
of the false affidavits regarding rehabilitation, thus misguiding the
apex court in India.

Meanwhile, the preparations are on for the "Rally for the Valley" of
hundreds of people from Delhi and elsewhere from India, with the
initiative of the renowned literateur Ms. Arundhati Roy. Number of
artists, intellectuals and other prominent persons from various parts of
India will be participating in it. The Rally will start from
Indore (July 30), and travel through the valley before it reaches to
Jalsindhi satyagraha place on August 2.

Sanjay Sangvai                               M.K. Sukumar

more information : website : save the Narmada mouvement

05.07.99 : Three Gorges: NGO  letter to Credit Suisse (CS)

The Three Gorges dam in China has become the symbol of a socially,
environmentally and economicly destructive hydropower project. In recent
months, criticisms of the project have increased internationally and even
within China. "There are more people, more corruption, less land and fewer
jobs than anyone - even pessimists - ever imagined", the "South China
Morning Post" commented in February 1999. 

Given China's economic problems, the government seems hesitant to commit
more budgetary resources to the Three Gorges dam. The future of the project
to a large degree depends on whether or not foreign private funding can be
mobilized. It is critical for NGOs to stop any loans, bonds, or equity
issues for the project. 

Since 1997, international banks have issued several large bonds for the
China Development Bank (CDB), which has been set up as a smokescreen to
fund controversial projects such as Three Gorges. Credit Suisse First
Boston has become involved in such bonds in 1997, and again in May 1999.
The Berne Declaration is calling on the CS Group to stop any further direct
or indirect funding of the Three Gorges project. It will call on ethical
investors to reconsider their relations with the CS Group as well. 

 letter to the CS CEO signed by more then 34 NGO's : 

Mr. Lukas B. Mühlemann
CEO, Credit Suisse Group
8070 Zürich

5 July 1999

The Credit Suisse Group and China's Three Gorges Project

Dear Mr. Mühlemann

In January 1997, Credit Suisse First Boston underwrote $ 66 million in
securities of the State Development Bank of China SDB (now, China
Development Bank CDB). The most important borrower of SDB/CDB continues to
be the China Three Gorges Development Corporation. In a letter to you dated
20 October, 1997, the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland raised
serious concerns regarding the involvement of the Credit Suisse Group in
financing this extremely controversial dam project. We are disappointed to
see that Credit Suisse First Boston is again acting as a co-manager of a
new bond for the China Development Bank worth $ 500 million. CSFB was also
the co-lead manager of a $ 1 billion bond of the People's Republic of China
in December 1998, underwriting no less than $ 500 million.

The social, environmental, technical and economic problems of the Three
Gorges dam have been analyzed in great detail by many experts. May we only
point out that reputed newspapers and scientific journals both in China and
abroad have increased their criticism of the project in recent months. The
Chinese magazine, "Strategy and Management", and the "People's Daily", the
newspaper of China's Communist Party, have raised serious concerns
regarding the project in January and May 1999. "There are more people, more
corruption, less land and fewer jobs than anyone - even pessimists - ever
imagined", the "South China Morning Post" observed in February 1999.
"Lancet", the renowned journal of the British Medical Association, warned
that Three Gorges may become the "Chernobyl of hydropower". And in March
1999, the "New York Times" commented: "The thaw in repression of criticism
suggests that altering and even halting the project may yet be possible.
That is why it is crucial for American financial institutions to refrain
from underwriting bonds from Chinese entities, like the State Development
Bank, that finance construction of the dam."

With an immediate funding shortfall of $ 3 billion, the Three Gorges dam is
the most likely beneficiary of the recent CDB bond offering. The China
Three Gorges Development Corporation has refered to the CDB as a principal
source for its funding for a long time. The prospectus supplement provides
no assurances that the proceeds of the current bond offering will not be
used to fund the Three Gorges dam. Even if such assurances were made, there
>are no mechanisms within CDB which would exclude the financing of the dam,
as the fungibility of money in China is widely accepted by private
investors and other observers. Parts of the proceeds of the PRC bond of
December 1998 will also be used for infrastructure projects. The Three
Gorges dam is specifically mentioned in the prospectus. As long as China
does not raise capital for controversial ventures like the Three Gorges
Project directly, all bonds of the CDB, and of China's government more
generally, risk to be regarded as smokescreens for the financing of
projects which are socially, environmentally, technically and economicly

One large financial institution, BankAmerica Securities, has already
adopted a specific policy to avoid providing support to the Three Gorges
Project. A similar policy is now officially before the leadership of Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter. We are disappointed to see that the Credit Suisse
Group, which plays an active role in supporting UNEP's statement on the
environment, does not adher to the same policy of non-involvement. True,
CSFB has only underwritten a small portion of $ 1.25 million of the latest
CDB bond. Yet unlike it might have been the case in 1997, CSFB has become a
co-manager of the new bond in full consciousness of the problems of the
Three Gorges dam, and of the importance which foreign investors play in
allowing this misguided project to go ahead. In 1997, CSFB created a
working group to review the Three Gorges Project. Given the modest
financial involvement, CSFB's role as a co-manager of the new bond seems to
send a symbolic message to the public that the bank is prepared to support
CDB regardless of the social, environmental, technical and economic merit
of its projects.

If the Credit Suisse Group continues to be involved in the Three Gorges
Project, it may get associated with military force and a manmade flood
which will be used to resettle up to 2 million people. We believe that such
an involvement cannot be reconciled with the CSG's reputation as an
environmentally conscious and responsible financial institution. We call on
you to adopt a Group-wide policy of avoiding support for the Three Gorges
dam, as BankAmerica has done before. We are at the same time encouraging
ethical investors such as Swissca's Green Invest, Fondation Ethos and other
CSG shareholders to reconsider their investment policy based on whether or
not the Credit Suisse Group chooses to maintain its support for the Three
Gorges Project. 

We are available to meet with you and/or representatives of your management
to discuss these matters in greater detail. 

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Peter Bosshard  Sibylle Grosjean
Berne Declaration Greenpeace Schweiz

cc: Mr. Flavio Cotti, Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the CSG
 Mr. Hans-Ulrich Doerig, CEO, CSFB
 CSG Investor Relations
 Mr. Otti Bisang, Head, CS Environmental Management Services
 Mr. Dominique Biedermann, Fondation Ethos
 Ms. Sabine Döbeli, Swissca Green Invest

This letter is being endorsed by the following 33 NGOs from 15 countries:

Liam Phelan, Aid/Watch, Australia
Pamela Foster, Halifax Initiative, Canada
Ben Lefety, Les Amis de la Terre, France
Roberto Epple, European Rivers Network, France
Philippe Lhort, SOS Loire Vivante, France
Dario Jana, Red Internacional de Apoyo al Pueblo Pehuenche, Germany
Caroline Zuñiga, Urgewald, Germany
Heike Drillisch, WEED, Germany
Shripad Dharmadhikary, Narmada Bachao Andolan, India
Himanshu Thakkar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, India
Theo Ruyter, Both Ends, The Netherlands
Irene Bloemink, Milieudefensie, The Netherlands
Nina Drolsum, FIVAS, Norway
Aly Ercelawn & Muhammad Nauman, Creed Alliance, Pakistan
Ramón Fogel, Centro de Estudios Rurales Interdisciplinarios, Paraguay
Jacek Bozek, Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczno-Kulturalne "Klub Gaja", Poland
Juan Carlos Rodríguez Murillo, Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
Mechthild Nussbaumer, Berne Declaration, Switzerland
Astrid Wallner, Incomindios, Switzerland
Gertrud Ochsner, Independent Network Monitoring the Swiss Financial System,
Göpf Berweger, Society for Threatened Peoples, Switzerland
Brigitte Anderegg, Solifonds, Switzerland
Peter Niggli, Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations, Switzerland
Heini Glauser, Swiss Energy Foundation, Switzerland
Gerhard Meili, Swiss Labour Assistance, Switzerland
Monica Borner, WWF Switzerland
Serghiy Fedorynchyk & Mikola Korobko, Zeleny Svit Information Center, Ukraine
Nicholas Hildyard, The Corner House, United Kingdom
Roger Moody, PartiZans, United Kingdom
Bruce Rich, Environmental Defense Fund, USA
Patrick McCully, International Rivers Network, USA
Julie Tanner, National Wildlife Federation, USA
Doug Norlen & Mary Rees, Pacific Environment and Resources Center, USA

01.07.99 :

© Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All Rights Reserved. 

Fish restoration efforts on Maine's Kennebec River took a historic step forward today as the Edwards Dam was breached and the river ran free for the first time in 162 years. The Kennebec is the largest river in the United States to benefit from a dam removal and Edwards Dam is among the largest dams ever removed in the nation. Today's action came as the result of a precedent setting 1997 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the environmental and economic benefits of a free flowing Kennebec are greater than the economic benefits of continued operation of the Edwards Dam hydroelectric project. FERC denied the relicensing request in 1997 and ordered the dam removed. "With removal of the Edwards Dam, the Kennebec River has been given a new lease on life," said Steve Brooke, coordinator of the Kennebec Coalition, which includes American Rivers, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Trout Unlimited and its Kennebec Valley Chapter. The Kennebec Coalition was formed in 1989 with the goal of removing the Edwards Dam and restoring the Kennebec River. The Edwards Dam harmed fish by flooding critical habitat and preventing fish that migrate from the ocean from reaching prime upstream spawning grounds. Removal of Edwards Dam opens up 17 miles of spawning and nursery habitat. Populations of 10 species of migratory fish are expected to benefit including: American shad, Atlantic salmon, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, short-nosed sturgeon, blueback herring, and alewives. Populations will not rebound overnight, but are expected to gain steadily over the next 20 years.

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on, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, short-nosed sturgeon, blueback herring, and alewives. Populations will not rebound overnight, but are expected to gain steadily over the next 20 years.

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These pages and their content are © Copyright of European Rivers Network.
For more information, remarks or propositions, send us a message !.