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    News newer than 15.10.99

  • 15.10.99 : EEB Workshop on the Water Framework Directive in  Brussels on the 2nd. and 3rd. of December 1999
  • 13.10.99 : Namibia: Two Items on Epupa Dam
  • 07.10.99 : Mass Extinction of Freshwater Creatures Forecast
  • 07.10.99 : Emssperrwerk (Deutschland): Verheerende oekologische Schaeden durch Stauprojekt 
  • 06.10.99 : World Bank Sends Inspection Team To China To Probe Dam Project (AFP)
  • 05.10.99 :  Announcement: Ten'th "Days of Volga 1999"   21-23 October 99
  • 04.10.99 : India : Narmada: third day of indefinite fast of mheda and others in dhule jail Prisoners remanded for 14 more days
  • 01.10.99 : Five european countries accused of coservation failure
  • 01.10.99 : Urgent request for support - Vistula River, Poland 
  • 23.09.99 : India : Narmada : 484 Arrested in Dhadgaon as Police clamp sec.144 : many beaten up badly, dragged, without food
  • 17.09.99 : S.O.S. Loire Vivante, lauréat des Trophées de l’eau 1999 de l’Agence de l’Eau.

    Text : 

    15.10.99 : EEB Workshop on the Water Framework Directive in  Brussels on the 2nd. and 3rd. of December 1999

    Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

    At present the EEB is organizing a workshop on the Water Framework Directive (WFD). As you might know, the negotiations on this crucial piece of legislation are reaching their final stage, as the Second Reading of the European Parliament will start at the end of this month. Since the entering into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the timeframe for second reading has strictly been set at 4 months. This means that all-important decisions will be made between November 1999 and February 2000. 

    In general one might say that we have 4 months to support the European Parliament in its struggle with the Council on the Water Framework Directive. 

    Given this situation, were we find the European Parliament very close to the position of the EEB (and other European NGOs), the focus of the workshop will be on the improvement of the WFD and the things we as NGOs can do to realize such an improvement. So there will be a strong focus on how every individual member organization of the EEB can help to realize such an improvement.  Since European Chemical and Water Polities overlap in many ways, there will also be a joint session with the chemical experts of the EEB network, to discuss the connection between the 2 issues. To make this possible we have to link these 2 networks together. 

    Therefore the Workshop will be held in Brussels on the 2nd. and 3rd. of December 1999. Please write these dates in your agenda immediately. 

    An official invitation, background papers, registration forms and the agenda will be sent out within a couple of weeks. But before that, we would like to ask your organization a favor; In order to reach all persons and NGOs which are interested in European water policies, we would like to verify and complete our address lists. Therefore, we would like to ask you whom in your organization is responsible for EU water policies in general and the Water Framework Directive in particular. 

    Could you help us out and send the names of these persons, their E-mail, phone number and postal address so that we can reach all people who are working on this. Also we would like to know if there are other NGOs in your country that are working on water. If your organization has a list with all corresponding NGOs, we would be very happy if you could send this to our Brussels office trough Email [] or regular post? 
    We hope to see you all in Brussels on the 2nd and 3rd of December in Brussels. 

    Yours sincerely, 

    Martijn W. F. Peijs, Co-ordinator EEB water Campaign 
    Uwe Buesgen, Assistant EEB Water campaign 

    PS. If possible, could you please pass this message through to all those in your organization who might be interested? 

    Martijn W. F. Peijs 
    EEB Co-ordinator Water 
    T 00-31-20-470 0772 
    T 00-32-2-289 1090 

    13.10.99 : Namibia: Two Items on Epupa Dam

    Below are two items on Namibia's Epupa Dam. The first is a story that
    appeared in Southern Africa on a sign-on letter (sent previously) about the
    project; the second is a response from the European Investment Bank, a
    recipient of this letter, stating it will not support the project.

    07 October 1999

    Campaign mounts against Epupa Dam
    International groups lobby against Nambian hydropower scheme

    Christof Maletsky
    WINDHOEK - More than 50 environmental pressure groups and individuals have
    teamed up to campaign against the the controversial Epupa hydropower scheme
    on the Kunene River in northern Namibia.

    The groups have written to several potential funders of the dam, including
    the African Development Bank, urging them not to get involved in a high-risk

    Among the campaigners are Himba leaders Chief Hikuminue Kapika and
    Muatjindika Mutambo from the Epupa Action Committee, and a host of
    international organisations and foreign individuals.

    They argue that the Epupa scheme involves considerable risks - many of which
    would affect the project's bottom line.

    "At R2,5bn, the cost of the project is equivalent to one-fifth of Namibia's
    1996 gross domestic product. Undertaking this project would increase the
    government's annual expenditure on capital investment by more than four
    times," the protesters wrote in a letter to all possible funders.

    The campaigners said that because of the risks inherent in large
    hydroelectric projects, Epupa has a high probability of low economic
    returns. In addition there was the probability of cost overruns.
    "Namibia has better, cheaper sources of power. SA exports power to Namibia
    t less than half the estimated cost of Epupa electricity. The proposed Kudu
    gas project will likely produce twice as much electricity as Epupa at a
    lower cost.

    "Secondly, the feasibility study's calculations do not account for any
    amount of efficiency per user of power over time.
    " Finally, the tragic fact of AIDS in southern Africa is likely to lower
    demand for electricity."

    They said the project assumed population growth in Namibia despite the fact
    that AIDS was expected to slow such growth.

    A 1998 United Nations AIDS/ World Health Organisation report estimates the
    HIV infection rate at 19,98%, a rate which will substantially reduce
    population growth and have a severe effect on the economically active
    section of the population. Other UN reports in 1998 estimated that Namibia's
    population would grow at only 2,4% a year between 1995 and 2000 and decrease
    further after that.

    Another major risk for the Epupa project is drought, which is plaguing the
    upstream Ruacana Dam. Ruacana is operating at 13% of its capacity due to
    falling water levels in the Kunene River.

    "Since Epupa's economic viability depends on the reliability and
    predictability of the Kunene River, several decades of stream-flow records
    are needed to make reliable predictions about its long-term profitability."
    The campaigners claim that the project will also have serious implications
    for the Himba pastoralists who live in the area where the dam would be built
    and are overwhelmingly opposed to the dam.

    "The dam will change their way of life forever, and yet the official
    feasibility study does not have a proper social impact assessment.
    "Even without a proper assessment, however, there is ample evidence that the
    social effect of this project will be great.

    "As pastoral herders, the Himba community need extensive lands in order to
    raise their cattle, and there is already a shortage of suitable land without
    large-scale inundation by a dam," the protesters said in the letter.
    To take land away from the Epupa community would put serious pressure on the
    Himba livelihoods.

    The group said the reservoir would also flood Himba graves, which are focal
    points for important religious and cultural rituals.

    They also argued that the flooding would bring an end to gardening in the
    fertile soils along the riverbank and would destroy the riverine forests on
    he riverbanks, a natural resource that is essential to the Himba economy.
    "The loss of all these resources are likely to lead to the Epupa community
    being increasingly dependent on the government for financial support and
    social welfare."

    Flooding the Kunene basin at Epupa would result in the loss of an annual
    crop of hundreds of tons of the palm nuts which are a crucial food resource
    for the community.


    Luxembourg, 22 September1999

    International Rivers Network/Attn: Mrs. Lori Pottinger

    Subject: Namibia: Epupa Hydropower

    Dear Mrs. Pottinger,

    We refer to your letter dated 24 August 1999 addressed to a number of EIB
    board members.

    In reply we would like to inform you that the article dated 8 December 1998
    in "The Namibian" newspaper contains certain references to EIB which are
    misleading and erroneous.

    We can confirm that EIB is not considering the possible financing of the
    Epupa Hydropower Project. Like the other funding agencies mentioned in the
    article, EIB is financing (by means of a EUR 55m loan to Nampower) the
    400kV Interconnector between Namibia and South Africa, which is the least
    cost solution for providing additional power to Namibia at the present
    time. With its substantial capacity the new Interconnector should amply
    cover Namibia's energy needs for the next few years.

    We trust that clarifies the situation.

    Yours Sincerely,
    European Investment Bank


    F. Carpenter and F. Weber Krebs)

          Lori Pottinger, Director, Southern Africa Program,
            and Editor, World Rivers Review
               International Rivers Network
                  1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, California 94703, USA
                      Tel. (510) 848 1155   Fax (510) 848 1008

    07.10.99 : Mass Extinction of Freshwater Creatures Forecast

    (ENS) - The first estimate of
    extinction rates of North America's freshwater animals, just released, has
    found they are the most endangered species group on the continent. The
    Canadian study warns that the U.S. could lose most of its freshwater
    species in the next century if steps are not taken to protect them.

    "A silent mass extinction is occurring in our lakes and rivers," says
    author Anthony Ricciardi of Dalhousie University in Halifax. Ricciardi's
    study with coauthor Joseph Rasmussen of McGill University in Montreal is
    published in the October issue of "Conservation Biology."

    Relatively little media attention has been given to freshwater species, the
    authors say, but these animals are in at least as much danger as land
    species. Since 1900, at least 123 freshwater animal species have been
    recorded as extinct in North America.

    Common freshwater species, from snails to fish to amphibians, are dying out
    five times faster than land species, and three times faster than coastal
    marine mammals, the researchers found. Their estimate of the loss of
    freshwater biodiversity "is probably conservative," the researchers say,
    "because there have likely been extinctions of species that we did not know
    existed, as suggested by the fact that several extinct fishes are known
    from only a few specimens."

    Freshwater animals are dying out as fast as rainforest species, considered
    by many to be the most imperiled on Earth. The authors predict that about
    four percent of freshwater species will be lost each decade if nothing is
    done to conserve them.

    Worldwide the situation is even more perilous for these creatures. The
    World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said in September that 51 percent of
    freshwater species, from fish and frogs to river dolphins, are declining in
    numbers. The 1999 Living Planet Report, an annual index on the state of the
    world's natural wealth, presents the most reliable data available on forest
    area and populations of marine and freshwater species worldwide. It also
    examines consumption of critical resources in 151 countries and its

    "This report is a graphic call to reduce these negative trends as the world
    enters the 21st century," said Claude Martin, director general of WWF. "The
    observed declines in populations of freshwater species is particularly
    alarming as they indicate the extent of deterioration in the quality of the
    world's rivers, lakes and other wetlands."

    Freshwater amphibians are hard hit. The disappearance of the golden toad
    and other amphibians in Costa Rica has been attributed to climatic changes.
    Many losses have been recorded in national parks and nature reserves,
    indicating pervasive threats even in protected areas. In Australia, Panama
    and the US, about 20 frog species have been decimated by a previously
    unknown fungus. Deformities are also widespread, caused by pollutants such
    as pesticides and other factors.

    The report, produced by WWF in collaboration with the New Economic
    Foundation and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (IUCN), found that
    the total of marine and inland fish caught reached a record level of 95
    million tonnes in 1996, up 11 million tonnes from the annual average in the
    preceding five years.

    To get a picture of how rapidly species extinction is accelerating, the
    Canadian researchers compared current extinction rates with those from the
    fossil record. They calculate that the background rate of extinction for
    freshwater fish species is about one species every three million years.

    The modern extinction rate in North America, the study says, is about one
    extinction every 2600 years - about 1,000 times higher than the background

    Ricciardi and Rasmussen predict that many species considered at risk will
    disappear within the next century. At risk species account for 49 percent
    of the 262 remaining mussel species, 33 percent of the 336 crayfish
    species, 26 percent of the 243 amphibian species, and 21 percent of the
    1,021 fish species.

    Non-native species pose a serious threat to indigenous freshwater animals.
    European zebra mussels are outcompeting native mussels in North American
    lakes and rivers. Sea lampreys invade lakes and attach themselves to native
    fish, killing them. Even sport fish transplanted from one lake to another
    can take over an ecosystem, driving less aggressive native fish toward

    Dams that obstruct river flow are also threats. Of 5.2 million kilometers
    (3.2 million miles) of stream habitat in the lower 48 states, less than two
    percent, or about 100,000 kilometers, is pristine enough to be federally
    protected, Ricciardi and Rasmussen say. Excess sediment, toxic contaminants
    and organic pollutants from agriculture threaten most U.S. waterways.

    Only 40 rivers longer than 200 kilometers (125 miles) remain free flowing
    in the lower 48 states. "Such massive habitat deterioration threatens some
    of the world's richest freshwater faunal assemblages," the study says.
    Ricciardi and Rasmussen note that hundreds of U.S. dams are coming up for
    federal relicensing soon, providing an opportunity to reestablish natural
    flows in many rivers.

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

    06.10.99 : World Bank Sends Inspection Team To China To Probe Dam Project (AFP)

    (Agence France Presse) The World
    Bank has sent a team of experts to
    China to evaluate criticisms of a vast
    dam and irrigation project it wants to
    support, a Bank official said here

    The team is expected to visit the site
    of the project, located in western
    Qinghai province, on the week end
    and will spend 20 days carrying out
    studies and interviews, according to
    Antonia Macedo, assistant director of
    the World Bank's inspection unit.

    The controversy centers on plans to re-settle some 58,000 people,
    essentially Chinese farmers, to land inhabited by Tibetans.

    Critics contend that the resettlement will make Tibetans in the
    region even more of a minority and will also have an adverse
    environmental impact.

    The inspection team will prepare a report for World Bank officials
    by the end of the year. A decision by the Bank's executive board
    on whether to go ahead with the project is not expected before
    early 2000, Macedo said.

    The overall venture calls for loans of 160 million dollars, of which
    40 million would be for the contested resettlement.

    The Bank approved the project in June but financing has been held
    up pending an assessment of the criticisms. ((c) 1999 Agence
    France Presse)

    07.10.99 : Emssperrwerk (Deutschland): Verheerende oekologische Schaeden durch Stauprojekt 

    Emssperrwerk: Der Staufall ist ein Stoerfall
    WWF-Studie zeigt verheerende oekologische Folgen der Ems-Aufstauung zur
    Ueberfuehrung von Ozeanriesen
    From: WWF Infostelle <info@WWF.DE>

    Bremen, 07.10.1999.
    Das Aufstauen der Ems durch das Emssperrwerk zur
    Ueberfuehrung von Kreuzfahrtschiffen der Meyerwerft aus Papenburg zur
    Nordsee kann katastrophale Folgen fuer die lebende Natur in und am Fluss
    haben: Durch einen radikalen Sauerstoffabfall im Wasser und die Versalzung
    reiner Suesswasserbereiche droht ein Massensterben von Fischen und anderen
    Lebewesen. Brutvoegelgelege sind bedroht und Rastvoegeln wird durch das
    Absterben der Kleinlebewesen die Nahrungsgrundlage entzogen. Auch Tiere und
    Pflanzen in den wertvollen Auwaldresten an der Ems sind stark gefaehrdet.
    Insgesamt droht durch die Aufstauungen eine oekologische Veroedung der Ems.
    Das sind die Ergebnisse einer Studie von Dr. Joern Hildebrandt von der
    Universitaet Lueneburg ueber die oekologischen Auswirkungen der geplanten
    Ems-Aufstauungen, die die Umweltstiftung WWF-Deutschland heute vorgestellt

    "Die Studie zeigt ein Horrorszenario, das auf keinen Fall Wirklichkeit
    werden darf", sagte WWF-Expertin Beatrice Claus. "Der Staufall zur
    Ueberfuehrung der Kreuzfahrtschiffe wuerde der durch Baggerungen stark
    vorbelasteten Ems den Todesstoss versetzen." Die Ems wurde seit 1984
    bereits viermal vertieft, um die Ueberfuehrung von Kreuzfahrtschiffen der
    Meyerwerft zu ermoeglichen. Als Folge davon sind viele der dortigen Tier-
    und Pflanzenarten bereits heute selten geworden oder befinden sich an der
    Schwelle zum Aussterben. Eine weitere Belastung des Flusses koennte zur
    endgueltigen Ausloeschung von Arten in der Ems fuehren. 

    Im Staufall kann der Sauerstoffgehalt weit unter die toedliche Schwelle
    von 4 Milligramm pro Liter absinken. Dies bedeutet: Die meisten Organismen
    im Wasser, am Flussboden und am Ufer der Ems wuerden den Staufall nicht
    ueberleben - weder Fische, noch Ringelwuermer oder Muscheln und Krebstiere.
    Die Folgen waeren weitreichend, denn diese Tiere sind eine wichtige
    Nahrungsbasis fuer Fische und Voegel. Im Staufall wird sich auch Salzwasser
    flussaufwaerts ausbreiten und die Tiere und Pflanzen im Suesswasser durch
    Salzgehalte bedrohen, die das Normalmass um das Sechsfache ueberschreiten
    koennen. Solche Anstiege des Salzgehaltes ueberleben viele Tiere wie
    Flohkrebse, Wasserasseln und Jungfische nicht.

    In der Ems kommen viele seltene und hochgradig geschuetzte Lebensraeume
    und Fische wie Finte, Meer- und Flussneunauge oder Voegel wie Blaukehlchen,
    Nonnengans und Saebelschnaebler vor, die nach deutschem und europaeischem
    Naturschutzgesetz geschuetzt sind. "Ein Sperrwerk mit so katastrophalen
    Folgen fuer Tiere und Pflanzen, das zudem mitten in ein
    EU-Vogelschutzgebiet gebaut werden soll, haette von den Behoerden nie
    genehmigt werden duerfen", kritisierte Beatrice Claus. Die im
    Planfeststellungsbeschluss festgelegten Bestimmungen zur Vermeidung von
    Sauerstoffmangelsituationen und der Versalzung von Suesswasserbereichen
    sind nach Berechnungen der Umweltverbaende unwirksam. Dies hat auch die
    EU-Kommission erkannt und geht ebenfalls von einem Massensterben von
    Fischen und Kleinstlebenwesen durch Versalzung im Suesswasserbereich der
    Unterems aus.
    Vor dem Hintergrund, dass das Vorhaben nicht der langfristigen
    Zukunftssicherung der Meyerwerft dient, es zum Kuestenschutz
    umweltvertraeglichere und billigere Alternativen gibt und im Falle der
    Umsetzung der billigeren Deichbauvariante mit dem eingesparten Geld die
    dringendsten Kuestenschutzmassnahmen in Niedersachsen umgesetzt werden
    koennten sowie der zweifelhaften Finanzierung, sieht der WWF das
    Emssperrwerk als eine oekonomisch sinnlose Massnahme an, die auf Kosten der
    Natur und des Steuerzahlers umgesetzt werden soll. "Es ist noch nicht zu
    spaet. Bund und Land muessen sofort die Pruefung von Alternativen zum
    Sperrwerk in Angriff nehmen!" appelliert Beatrice Claus an die zustaendigen
    Politiker und Behoerden.
    Fuer Rueckfragen wenden Sie sich bitte an:

    Beatrice Claus, 
    am 7.10.99 Tel.: 0171-3426928

    Holger Wesemueller, 
    Tel.: 0172-4212396
    Weitere Informationen unter 

    01.10.99 : Five european countries accused of coservation failure

    BRUSSELS, Belgium, October 1, 1999 (ENS) - The World Wide Fund for Nature
    (WWF) has identified five European Union countries where, it claims,
    economic interest groups are successfully pushing their governments to make
    weak nature protection plans under the EU habitats directive.
    Published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily
    Website: }
    For full text and graphics visit:

    05.10.99 :  Announcement: Ten'th "Days of Volga 1999"   21-23 October 99

    Dear friends!
         "Days of Volga" will be held  from  October  21  through  October
    23! We have a Jubilee!  We are terribly happy to inform you , that the
    Coordination Center of the Movement "Let's help the river" have  star-
    ted to prepare for the Jubilee 10-th Days of Volga.
    This has  become  possible thanks to the financial support of the
    Institute of Sustainable Communities (ROLL project) and the Department
    for nature protection and rational nature use of the Administration of
    Nizhni Novgorod province.
    We won the grant competition and were awarded  a  grant  for  the
    project "Days of Volga - for the Rivers of Russia"!

    What is the "Days of Volga-99"
    This is a part of our new project, which is called "Days of Volga
    - for the Rivers of Russia".  Environmental activists from Amur,  Ob',
    Irtysh, Chusovaya,  Angara,  Baikal,  Northern Dvina and other  rivers
    will come to the conference, as guests to learn from our experience.

    For the  10  years  that passed we managed to create a network of
    groups which fight to protect the Volga  river,  implement  many  pro-
    jects, conduct various actions and campaigns - accumulate a lot of ex-
    perience of work.

    For this 10 years,  thanks to annual "Days of Volga" ,  where  we
    plan our  common  actions  we have turned into a rather well organized
    movement, which is able to act and to render mutual support.

    Now, having a lot of experience behind us we have stepped up with
    the initiative of establishment of the Rivers Network of Russia.

    Draft program
    * Results of the activities of the movement "Let's help  the  ri-
    ver" for 10 years:  from the program to the movement (the Coordination
    center and NGOs of the Volga river basin).
    * Presentation of specific directions of the movement. About more
    detailed structure of the movement in accordance  with  directions  of
    * Presentation of the projects of the movement.
    * Cooperation with the governmental bodies : results and perspec-
    tives: Round table "Experience of cooperation of  the  authorities  of
    Nizhni Novgorod  province  with environmental NGOs",  how to replicate
    and disseminate this experience?
    * Developing  a section about public participation in the Federal
    program "Revival of Volga".
    * Continuation  of  work  on the issue "Persistent Organic Pollu-
    tants": public actions, planning for a joint Russian - American confe-
    rence  on the problems of POPs.

    Day of Rivers of Russia
    * Development of the Russian anti-dam campaign.
    * Actions for the protection of small rivers.
    * NGO from the other rivers of Russia introduce themselves. Crea-
    tion of the Network of Rivers of Russia and developing an action plan.

    603134, Nizhni Novgorod, Kostina str.
    House 2, off 164,"Let's help the river".
    Days of Volga 99"
    Phone number for contacts:
    (8312) 30-28-81 - Coordination center of the movement "Let's help
    the river".
    Fax: (8312) 30-28-90

    04.10.99 : India : Narmada: third day of indefinite fast of Mheda and others in Dhule jail.
    Prisoners remanded for 14 more days
    Taloda Court Rejects NBA Application Again: Dy. CM Munde Keeps Silent:
    Dharna Continues

    The indefinite fast by Medha Patkar and six other Satyagrahis in Dhule jail
    continued for the third day today (Monday, 4th Oct.) as the junior court in
    Taloda rejected the application for release of over 386 men and women from
    Narmada valley on personal bond. They have been remanded for further 14
    days judicial custody. Already, the people have undergone 12 days in jail,
    without being tried.

    The learned judge of Taloda court did not give any reason for rejecting the
    application of release of the detainees under Section 144 of the Indian
    Penal Code (which prohibits the gathering of groups of more than five
    people). The Satyagrahis fasting inside the jail, others who are jailed
    illegally and the ones who are on indefinite Dharna in front of the jail
    have decided to further intensify the agitation. Declaration of the actions
    will be done later. The Andolan would also be approaching the higher courts
    for appeal on this order.

    The same judge had rejected the appeal for release on personal bond of the
    386 detainees on October 1. The Andolan has challenged the earlier order as
    unwarranted. It is a normal procedures to get Personal Bond when arrested
    under Sec.144. Mr. N.D. Suryavanshi, Advocate of Andolan, today made a
    strong plea for the unconditional release of all the detainees as they have
    lready undergone detention without trial for over 10 days. It is learned
    that the court has given another 14 days of detention.  The police and
    administration has been acting illegally, after the Chief Minister Mr. Rane
    had made uncharitable comments on NBA and Medha Patkar. Mr. Suryavanshi
    wondered why the normal procedure of releasing the people detained under
    s.144 on personal bond is not followed in the case of the satyagrahis of
    Curiously, the police did not produce the detainees before the court citing
    flimsy and false reasons. The detainees, including Medha Patkar insisted on
    taking them to Taloda for the hearing.

    Munde Has No Answers

    Meanwhile, a delegation of NBA met the Deputy Chief Minister of
    Maharashtra, Mr. Gopinath Munde today at Dhule. Mr. Munde, who had earlier
    came to Manibeli and extended support for the cause of the Andolan, had no
    answers to the questions raised by the delegation. The delegation made it
    clear that the Maharashtra Government is responsible for the submergence
    which has occurred in the Narmada valley, destroying thousands of hectares
    of agricultural lands and houses. The delegation also challenged him to
    come forward for a dialogue with facts and details on availability of land
    for rehabilitation, rather than uttering irresponsible statements from
    far-off places, particularly by the Chief Minister, Mr. Rane.

    All the satyagrahis in jail - including Medha Patkar, Sitarambhai Patidar
    (Kadmal), Doorsingh Vasave (Domkhedi), Naharsingh Pavara (Savariya),
    Mahadeo Patidar (Chhota Barda) and Dadliya Munda Vasava (Domkhedi) and Ms.
    Komal Patidar who are on indefinite fast against the illegal detention and
    the indifference and frigidity of the State - are weak physically but high
    in spirits. They are determined to take this peaceful agitation ahead, and
    not to yield to the wicked tactics of the State. A further five people who
    are jailed and 11 of the Satyagrahis outside, observed 24 hours of relay
    ast. Prominent among them are Tembarya Vasave (Gaman village), Bhimabhai
    Tadvi (Waghadia village, Gujarat), Narsing Vasave (Amli rehabilitation
    site) and Nikki (England). Ms. Mercy Mathew continued her fast for the
    second day.

    As the Dharna entered the 10th day, more and more people are coming down
    from different parts of Maharashtra and the country to strengthen the hands
    of the people against the unjust callousness of the State. Students from
    Delhi, representatives of students unions from Kerala and others
    organisations have come today. Oustees' representatives from Gujarat too
    have joined the dharna on Monday. Senior activists like Bhaijibhai Tadvi,
    Kalpanabehn Tadvi and Bhimabhai Tadvi are among those who came in support
    for the struggling people. Senior economist, Mr. H.M. Desarda today visited
    the dharna and expressed support.
    b-13,  Shivam Flats,  Ellora Park,  Baroda-390007   (Ph. 0265-382232)
    Camp: 16, Ashoknagar, Dhule- 424001  (Ph. 02562-34519, 37367)
    Joe Athialy, Alok Agrawal, Sanjay Sangvai

    01.10.99 : Urgent request for support - Vistula River, Poland 

    Dear Friends


    Below is a brief background to our request for help and the suggested letter.

    Brief Background

    We write from Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczno-Kulturalne "Klub Gaja" (Ecological and Cultural Association "Klub Gaja"). 
    SEK "Klub Gaja" is an independent, non-governmental organisation which has led the national campaign
    "Teraz Wisla" ("Vistula Now") for several years.  This campaign works to stop the building of a cascade of seven dams
    on the lower Vistula river and to work towards the development of alternative methods of working with the river and its valley 
    to enable social and ecological needs to be met.

    The Vistula River, known in Poland as the "Queen of Polish Rivers" is one of Europe's largest rivers and one which remains close
    to its natural state with very close to natural river dynamics, unique and rare habitats, flora and fauna.  In terms of naming, 
    the Vistula is divided into 3 sections, the upper, middle and lower Vistula, due to its different characteristics in these three sections. 
    Ecologically it is one of Europe's most important corridoors linking the Dniestre Basin and the Danube to Scandinavia and Siberia.
     The Vistula rises in south west Poland and runs northwards through the centre of the country finally forming a delta which runs 
    into the Baltic Sea.  In addition to its ecological value, there is tremendous cultural heritage along the Vistula.  The Vistula provides
    a unique opportunity for Poland to develop in a pro-ecological, sustainable way.  The building of the cascade series
    would take away this opportunity for new ways of development. Between the middle and lower Vistula is one existing 
    large dam located at Wloclawek which has had many negative effects.

    The Current Situation

    The Wloclawek dam has erosion of the riverbed by 3 metres on its downstream side.  Behind the dam is a collection
    of 29 years pollution of untreated city, town and village waste and heavy industrial pollution.  This sediment is highly
    toxic and has formed a strange substance which in some places is 3 - 5 metres deep. The argument is that the second dam
    is necessary to reduce erosion and stop the first dam collapsing.  Some scientists do not agree with this argument and have
    other ideas such as the building of a by-pass.

    Forced by civil actions and scientific opinion a study was commissioned by the Ministry of Environment to examine 3 options: 1) 
    to keep the existing dam at Wloclawek only; 2) to build one more dam at Ciechocinek; 3) to build the full cascade.

    At the beginning of 1999 a consortium was established to build the next dam in the cascade series at Ciechocinek. 
    This consortium includes the largest Polish company Elektrim and ABB.

    The decision whether to build the next dam at Ciechocinek is a parliamentary one.  Our sources of information lead 
    us to believe that the majority of politicians are ready to vote in favour of the building of the next dam at Ciechocinek.

    We expect the Polish parliament to be making the decision very shortly.  We therefore ask for your support by posting, 
    faxing and E-mailing your version or copy of the following letter urgently to:

    The President of the Republic of Poland

    Sz.P Aleksander Kwasniewski
    Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
    Wiejska 10
    00-902 Warszawa
    Tel: + 48 22 695 29 00
    Fax: + 48 22 695 22 38
    The Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

    Sz.P Jerzy Buzek
    Premier RP
    Al. Ujazdowskie 1/3
    00-950 Warszawa
    Tel: + 48 22 694 69 83
    Fax: + 48 22 62 86 946

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs

    Sz.P Bronos³aw Gieremek
    Minister Spraw Zagranicznych
    al. Szucha 23
    00-580 Warszawa
    Tel: + 48 22 628 96 23
    Fax: + 48 22 625 76 52

    Please also send us a copy of your letter to:
    Fax:  + 48 33 8 12 36 94
    SEK "Klub Gaja"
    PO Box 261
    43-301 Bielsko-Biala 1



    We are the (NAME OF ORGANISATION).

    It has come to our attention that the Polish parliament is to make a decision about the future of the lower Vistula
    river and its valley.

    We here express our deep concern about the proposed plan to build new stages of fall in the lower Vistula River relating 
    to the "Lower Vistula Cascade" project and further to express our belief that a decision in favour of building any new dams 
    would be seriously flawed.

    The Vistula is one of Europe's largest rivers and one which remains close to its natural state.  The Vistula River is 
    very important for Europe, it has unique and rare habitats, flora, fauna,  very close to natural river dynamics 
    and tremendous biodiversity.  In addition, it is one of Europe's most important ecological corridoors.

    Information received from the Ecological and Cultural Association "Klub Gaja" relays that the Polish parliament
    has to decide from three options relating to the development of the lower Vistula.  In our opinion the variation which
    does not propose the building of any new dams is good as this variation provides the best opportunities for nature, 
    culture and people.

    Additionally, the building of any new dams would be against Poland's current commitments to a number of
    international Conventions including Resolutions under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Berne Convention. 

    We urge the Polish parliament to take the best of the three options, the option which does not propose the building
    of any new dams.  We look forward to receiving your reply.

    Yours sincerely


    From everyone here at Klub Gaja we thank you very much for your support.

    Jacek Bozek, President and Sally Naylor, International Co-Ordinator
    Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczno-Kulturalne  "Klub Gaja"
    PO Box 261
    43-301 Bielsko-Biala 1
    Tel/fax: + 48 33 8 12 36 94

    23.09.99 : India : Narmada : 484 Arrested in Dhadgaon as Police clamp sec.144 :
    many beaten up badly, dragged, without food

    Four hundred and eighty four people sitting on an indefinite dharna
    in Dhadgaon (Maharashtra) were arrested today morning as the
    authorities clamped Sec. 144. in this tehsil HQ. The police behaved
    in a very bad manner, beating and badly dragging the people including
    women. Medha Patkar, who is also among those arrested, was also dragged
    by the police. Activists Ravi, Ashish were among those badly beaten.

    The arrested people were presented before the Magistrate after the
    arrest. The people unanimously refused to take personal bond for the
    release but demanded that the police release them unconditionally as
    they had committed no crime. The people have been charged under Sec.
    144, 188 of the IPC and 37/1/35 of Bombay Police Act. It is not known
    what orders the magistrate has made after the people refused personal
    bond, but the police are taking them to some unknown place, possibly
    Dhule or Aurangabad.

    Just outside Dhadgoan, the police stopped for food but as there was not
    enough food for everyone, the arrested people moved on to the roads and
    blocked the road in protest. The people were still sitting on the road
    block as this note was being written.

    It may be recollected that Medha Patkar and 300 people were arrested and
     brought to Dhadgaon, by the police late Tuesday night after an intense
    fight by people of the Narmada valley, as the waters reached neck-deep
    level of the Samarpit Dal at the Domkhedi Satyagraha House and as waters
    entered villages destroying fields and homes, for the third time this
    season. After these, hundreds of tribals started moving towards
    Dhadgaoan, and even as Medha Patkar and others were released, had
    started an indefinite dharna in Dhadgaon since yesterday evening.

    The dharna was started with a demand that the Government initiate a
    dialogue with the people and answer their questions and to protest
    against the suppression of the real issues through the police actions
    against the satyagrahis who have been challenging the increase in back
    water due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

    In a statement Medha Patkar had said "When people have been raising the
    basic issues and have been challenging injustice, the response of the
    State Government was to trivialize it with the police actions. This is
    not at all a law and order problem but the situation has arisen due to
    the wrong policies and actions regarding the dam and displacement on the
    part of Maharashtra rulers. It is the question of tribals' rights."

    The people arrested are demanding that the Government stop cat and
    mouse game with them of arresting and releasing and rearresting. People
    are serious on their demand and their resolve. The State Government
    cannot shrink from its responsibility by hiding behind the police. They
    demanded that the Chief Secretary or some such functionary of the State
    Government must come to Dhadgaon where the people were detained and
    answer their questions.


    Meanwhile, the water levels in the Jalsindhi Satyagraha centre in M.P.
    receded today even as the tribals had braved and stood in 1.5 feet deep
    water for 24 hours.

    About 50 people from Kerala, Bangalore and other places have reached the
    satyagraha centres today to express solidarity and support to the

    From Thailand, the people affected by the Pak Mun dam, who have occupied
    the dam site since April this year, setting up de facto township with
    over 8000 people demanding that the dam be removed, have conveyed their
    solidarity to the Narmada struggle and have said that everyday at 7.00
    pm, the people sitting at the Pak Mun dam are offering prayers in
    support of the Narmada struggle.

    Nandini Oza, Sukumar M.K.,  NBA
    for more Information :

    17.09.99 : S.O.S. Loire Vivante, lauréat des Trophées de l’eau 1999 de l’Agence de l’Eau.

    Le projet « Rivières d’Images et Fleuves de Mots » a été désigné lauréat hors catégorie de la première édition des Trophées de l’eau organisée par l’Agence de l’Eau Loire-Bretagne.
    Ce concours récompensait les initiatives les plus exemplaires dans le domaine de la protection de l’eau dans le bassin Loire-Bretagne. Les collectivités territoriales, les entreprises industrielles, les exploitations agricoles et les associations étaient invitées à concourir en présentant des actions réalisées dans des domaines tels que : la gestion cohérente de l’assainissement, la gestion de l’eau dans l’industrie, la protection ou la gestion économe de la ressource, la gestion des cours d’eau et des milieux naturels, la réduction des pollutions agricoles, etc.
    Le projet « Rivières d’Images et Fleuves de Mots » ne relevait pas des catégories qu’avait défini le règlement des trophées 1999. « Rivières d’Images et Fleuves de Mots » consistait en effet à inviter les écoles (maternelles, primaires et collèges) de tous les départements du bassin15 de la Loire ou de ses affluents à participer à un concours de poésie et d’arts plastique. Au travers d’une œuvre collective, plastique et/ou poétique, les enfants étaient invités à représenter leur « coin » de ruisseau ou de fleuve, à partir de leur expérience –sur le terrain- d’exploration de ce cours d’eau, l’ensemble des œuvres créant ainsi une « carte artistique du bassin ». Cette action était accompagnée par la réalisation d’un guide pédagogique développant la notion de bassin versant et la notion d’éco-citoyenneté: il faut protéger son ruisseau à l’amont pour protéger l’aval. Les cinquante toiles géantes (2,5 m sur 1, 5 m) sont depuis leur création régulièrement exposées sur différents points du bassin de la Loire.
    L’attention du jury a notamment été retenue par la qualité du concept de ce concours qui mêle approche de terrain, contenu pédagogique et expérience artistique visant ainsi une sensibilisation durable. Par son exemplarité, ce projet a amené l’Agence de l’Eau à s’interroger sur la nécessité d’une nouvelle catégorie de ces trophées de l’eau : celle de la sensibilisation et de la communication.

    L’équipe du projet : 
    Edith PLANCHE, coordinatrice du projet - responsable pédagogique et artistique ; Stéphane PARAISOT, animateur nature / éducation à l’environnement - logistique ; Timmy EPPLE, logistique
    Sous la direction de Roberto EPPLE


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exemplarité, ce projet a amené l’Agence de l’Eau à s’interroger sur la nécessité d’une nouvelle catégorie de ces trophées de l’eau : celle de la sensibilisation et de la communication.

L’équipe du projet : 
Edith PLANCHE, coordinatrice du projet - responsable pédagogique et artistique ; Stéphane PARAISOT, animateur nature / éducation à l’environnement - logistique ; Timmy EPPLE, logistique
Sous la direction de Roberto EPPLE

back to the Homepage

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