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(all in original language, en langue originale, in Originalsprache):

20.04.00 : Ankündiging: 3. Internationales Rhein-Symposium
17.04.00 : UNGARN/WWF: Hochwasser in Ungarn belebt geschaedigte Fluesse
13.04.00 : Hungary Urged to Protect Embattled Rivers (ENS)-
: Mine Waste Risk for European Rivers Still High
06.04.00 : Angara River (Sibiria): Western NGOs (included ERN) involved in Independent Public EIA of dam
05.04.00 : Dams are direct cause of species decline, says WWF 5 April, 2000
: Thailand: Activists float together calling for river to be set free
24.03.00 : Deux grands barrages en Guinée Conakry en 2002-2005: 75000 personnes menacées de déplacement 24.03.00 : UN Commission on Human Rights: Arundhati Roy on Large Dams
: Kader Asmal ministre of education , south africa, wins 10th Stockholm water price

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20.04.00: Ankündigung des 3. Internationales Rhein-Symposiumm 15. - 17. Juni 2000

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plus d'info en français
M ittwoch ab 9:30 Uhr Congress Centrum West Köln Messe. IKSR und Stadt Köln laden zur Tagung. Ökologie und Hochwasservorsorge. Mehr Raum für den Rhein mehr Wasserrückhalt in der Fläche. 150,- EUR inkl Mittag. Fax: (0221) 258 10 84 e-mail:
für mehr Infos in deutsch

17.04.00 : UNGARN/WWF: Hochwasser in Ungarn belebt geschaedigte Fluesse

WWF fordert mehr natuerliche Ueberschwemmungsgebiete / Positive Folgen fuer die Natur Rastatt, 17. April 2000

Fuer die ungarische Bevoelkerung ist es eine weitere Katastrophe nach dem grossen Fischsterben im Februar: Das Jahrhunderthochwasser an der Theiss. Und wieder handelt es sich um Folgen menschlicher Eingriffe, denn nach Aussagen des WWF-Auen-Instituts gibt es in Europa kein Gebiet, wo der Verlust an natuerlichen Ueberschwemmungsflaechen derart dramatische Ausmasse hat wie an Ungarns zweitgroesstem Fluss. Vorschlaege fuer mehr Ueberflutungsgebiete hat der WWF im letzten Jahr in einer Studie vorgestellt.

"Frueher war fast ein Drittel der Flaeche Ungarns ueberschwemmbar", erlaeutert Prof. Emil Dister, Leiter des WWF-Auen-Instituts. Doch seit dem 19. Jahrhundert gingen allein an der Theiss durch Eindeichungen ueber 600.000 Hektar, das sind 84 Prozent der einstigen Ueberschwemmungsflaechen, verloren. Ganz wie am Oberrhein seien viele dieser Gebiete heute besiedelt. "Da muss man sich ueber das Ausmass der Katastrophe nicht wundern", urteilt Dister und raet: "Ein halbwegs angemessener Hochwasserschutz laesst sich nur erreichen, wenn man ausgedeichte Flaechen wieder an den Fluss anschliesst und dort Ueberschwemmungen zulaesst." Welche Gebiete dafuer in Frage kommen, hat das WWF-Auen-Institut letztes Jahr in einer umfassenden Studie ermittelt. "Allein 10.000 Hektar koennte man an der Muendung des Bodrog in die Theiss bei Tokai gewinnen", schlaegt Dister vor. Der WWF fordert die Verantwortlichen nun auf, diese Vorschlaege konstruktiv umzusetzen.

So hart das Hochwasser die Menschen trifft, auf die Natur wirkt es belebend: Auf den ueberschwemmten Flaechen koennen sich zahllose Fische, darunter viele gefaehrdete Arten, vermehren. Ausserdem gedeihen Kleinorganismen, von denen sich die Fische ernaehren. Diese dienen wiederum als Nahrungsgrundlage fuer fischfressende Voegel wie den Silberreiher. Nach Einschaetzung des WWF beschleunigt das Hochwasser damit die natuerliche Wiederbesiedlung der durch die Umweltkatastrophen geschaedigten Flussbereiche. Eher positiv bewertet der WWF auch, dass die bei dem zweiten Bergwerksunfall im Februar ausgetretenen Schwermetalle mit den Fluten verteilt werden - dies fuehre zu einer Verduennung der Giftkonzentration. Weitere Informationen erhalten Sie bei: Anja Rech, Pressereferentin im WWF-Auen-Institut, Tel.: 0 72 22/38 07-14, Fax -99 E-Mail:, Internet:

04.04.00 : Thailand: Activists float together calling for river to be set free

Bangkok Post, April 4, 2000Rituals and rivers PROTEST: Activists float together calling for their river to be set free during a traditional ceremony Prasittiporn Kan-Onsri

If culture is defined as a way of life, the culture of fishing villages along the Moon River in Ubol Ratchathani has been severely eroded by the construction of the Pak Moon Dam completed 10 years ago.

The uprooted Pak Moon villagers, however, have refused to let their fate fade from public consciousness. Apart from using political means the Pak Moon dam villagers have employed local traditions and customs to make their voices heard.

Banking on the power of rituals, more than 3,000 people gathered recently at the Pak Moon Dam to perform the Sueb Chata Maenam and to lobby authorities to let the Moon River run free again.

Sueb Chata Maenam means extending a river's life. It is a modern adaptation of an old ceremony which pays homage to rivers-the life blood of Thai traditional society.

Pak Moon Dam is at the mouth of the Moon River where it meets the Mekong.The dam obstructs the passage of fish between the two rivers and so the fish population has declined. Furthermore, environmental degradation, the inundation of water over farm land, and displacement of people have led to severe social problems.

Thongdee Prathumchai of Baan Ta Pae in Ubol's Khong Chiam district said many affected villagers had been forced from the area to work in sugarcane plantations elsewhere for a meagre income.

The villagers' traditional livelihood of fishing has also been severely undermined.

The Sueb Chata Maenam also provided an opportunity for academics and environmentalists to exchange views with the displaced people about the adverse effects of development projects on local people.

Seree Somchob, vice rector of Ubol Ratchathani University, said the widespread problems of amphetamine abuse and HIV/Aids in the areas might also be linked to projects like the Pak Moon Dam construction since it undermined society by robbing local people of their livelihood.

Nikorn Visapen, lawyer and environmentalist, said the government's promises that the Pak Moon Dam would bring prosperity have proved empty and false

.He urged the authorities to accept responsibility for their mistakes and tostop doing more harm to people by pursuing megaprojects that damage the environment, local communities and their culture.

During the Sueb Chata Maenam ceremony, dam victims issued a consensus urging the authorities to stop operating the dam.

"We Want to Return Freedom to our River," one of the banners read. Others read: "Rivers are life, not death".

On April 20 and 21, there will be a seminar entitled "The Poor and Answers for Thai Society", at the Mae Moon Mun Yuen village, where people affected by the Pak Moon Dam have lived in a protest village for a year.

For more information call:

  • In Bangkok: Ms Suphapan at 691-0408
  • Ms Wallapha at 860-2194
  • Bunlom Khunwattana at 281-2595 or 281-1916.
  • In Ubol Ratchathani: Mae Moon Mun Yuen village at (01) 916-1478
  • Pak Moon Agricultural Cooperatives at (045) 441-565 and (01) 999-1860


13.04.00 : Hungary Urged to Protect Embattled Rivers

ENS Newsservice, by Bob Burton GYOR, Hungary, April 13, 2000 (ENS) - Environmentalists are urging the Hungarian government to launch a reforestation program and review the future of mining and other industrial operations in the Tisza River basin, headwaters of the Danube, second longest river in Europe. The Tisza River, poisoned by a deadly cyanide spill January 30 which originated in northwestern Romania, is now overflowing as snow melt and heavy rains create flood conditions. Danube River at Visegrad, Hungary (Photo courtesy International Scientific Forum Danube - River of Cooperation) Gyorgy Droppa, manager of the environmental group Danube Circle, told ENS, "Ninety-six percent of all the water that is coming to Hungary comes from its neighbors or the high Hungarian plains." Droppa said deforestation in the Carpathian Mountains at the head of the Danube catchment basin is compounding problems all the way through the river system.
For more informarion contact


07.04.00 : Mine Waste Risk for European Rivers Still High

ENS Newsservice, by Alexandru R. Savulescu BUDAPEST, Hungary, April 6, 2000 - Central and Eastern Europe could be hit again with releases of toxic mine wastes similar to three cyanide and heavy metals spills from the Romanian mining industry since January 30. Seeking solutions to current and future problems, delegates from scientific, intergovernmental and environmental groups gathered at the "Rivers of Life, Rivers of Death" conference on April 3 and 4 in Budapest, organized by the Central European University.
For more informarion contact


06.04.00 Angara River (Sibiria/Russia): Western NGOs (included ERN) involved in Independent Public EIA of dam project

Four foreign experts have started the process of the Independent Public Environmental Impact Assessment (public EIA) of dam project (Boguchany Hydro Power Plant, BHPP) on the Angara River in Russia. From March, 22nd through 31st the team members, including David Martin (Pacific Environment & Resources Center (PERC), California), Dr. Pillip Williams (Intenational Rivers Network, California), David Wegner (Glen Canyon Institute, Colorado) and Alfred Olfert (ERN, France) have visited the dam site on the Angara river and reviewed several documents submitted by the executive Director and the head Engineer of the dam building company "Boguchany Hydro". The international involvement in that project had started two years ago, when a conference was organised by PERC in the village of Boguchany. PERC has been very engaged in that issue during the past and is specifically supporting the regional organisations in conducting the public EIA. Russian environmental legislation makes provisions to carry out this kind of independent public EIA . The dam project has been under construction for 23 years. It is part of the planned Dam cascade on the Angara river, being the 4th structure in the row downstream. 3 further would have to follow diverting the Angara River into a cascade of 7 dams with not a single meter left to the flowing river .
Contact: alfred.olfert at Phone +33 471 02 08 14


05.04.00 : Dams are direct cause of species decline, says WWF 5 April, 2000

click here for french version

Gland, Switzerland - Releasing a new report on the eve of a World Commission on Dams (WCD) meeting April 6-8 in Cape Town, South Africa, WWF, the conservation organization, said the dramatic decline in the world's rivers species was a direct result of dam construction. The WWF report, "The Impact of Dams on Life in Rivers," was compiled from data on 91 dams in 30 countries. It shows more than 250 species are directly affected by their construction. WWF wants the WCD to consider the report's findings in its final recommendations on dams. "Because neither baseline data prior to, nor results following, the construction of dams have been available," Dr. Biksham Gujja, Head of WWF International's Freshwater Programme observed, "the actual amount of species loss and damage to ecosystems worldwide is likely to be much greater than these findings indicate." Affected species include fish such as Atlantic sturgeon, birds such as the Siberian Crane and mammals such as the Tapir. In addition, dolphins living in many of the world's largest rivers including the Indus, Yangtze, Ganges and Amazon are now endangered, due in large part to dam construction. Worldwide, there are already approximately 42,000 'large' dams (i.e. those more than 15 metres high), with many more currently proposed. According to WWF many of these dams are unnecessary, and alternatives are available for meeting food and energy needs. Their impacts could also be minimized with proper environmental impact assessments, and design and location that facilitate movement and breeding of species. "Dams built for irrigation, flood control and hydroelectric power cause the most species loss and ecosystem damage," Gujja added. "Species decline - both in numbers and diversity - reflects a serious disruption to the ecological chain, with repercussions for people who depend on the rivers' natural resources." One example of this are the inland wetlands in Africa, reported to produce 1.5 million tonnes of fish annually and support one million fishermen. In Asia alone, more than two billion people depend on wetland crops and fish as their main staple food and protein source. WWF's goals are to manage water at the river basin level and protect wetlands, which are among key steps to prevent further loss of species and damage to ecosystems.

For further information: Lisa Hadeed, tel: +41 22 364 9030, mobile: +41 79 372 1346, email: Shaleen Russell, tel: +41 22 364 9571, mobile: +41 79 477 3553, email:


05.04.00 : Les barrages sont une cause directe du déclin des espèces, affirme le WWF 5 April, 2000

Gland, Suisse - A la veille d'une importante réunion de la Commission mondiale sur les barrages, du 6 au 8 avril à Cape Town (Afrique du Sud), le WWF vient de publier un rapport établissant un lien direct entre la construction des barrages et le déclin de la faune des rivières dans le monde entier. Basé sur des données concernant 91 barrages dans 31 pays, l'étude - intitulée "The Impact of Dams on Life in Rivers" (disponible en anglais seulement) - montre que plus de 250 espèces animales sont directement affectées par la réalisation de ces ouvrages. Le WWF demande à la Commission mondiale sur les barrages de prendre en compte les conclusions de ce rapport dans ses recommandations finales. "Comme aucun travail de recherche dans ce domaine n'a jamais été mené avant et après la construction de barrages, il est à prévoir que le nombre d'espèces qui ont disparu ou d'écosystèmes qui ont été saccagés soit bien plus important que dans le rapport," estime le Dr Biksham Gujja, responsable du programme du WWF pour les écosystèmes d'eau douce. Parmi les espèces touchées figurent des poissons comme l'esturgeon de l'Atlantique, des oiseaux comme la grue de Sibérie et des mammifères comme le tapir. De plus, les dauphins vivant dans de grands fleuves tels l'Indus, le Gange, le Yangtsé et l'Amazone sont aujourd'hui menacés, en grande partie du fait de la construction de barrages. Il y a déjà quelque 42 000 grands barrages (de plus de 15 mètres de haut) dans le monde, et beaucoup d'autres sont projetés. Selon le WWF, la plupart de ces derniers ne sont pas nécessaires, d'autant que les alternatives existent pour couvrir les besoins en énergie et en nourriture. Par ailleurs, les conséquences négatives de ces barrages pourraient être réduites par le biais d'études d'impact sur l'environnement correctement effectuées, et par des choix d'emplacement à même de faciliter les mouvements et la reproduction des espèces animales. "Ce sont les barrages destinés à l'irrigation, le contrôle des inondations et la fourniture d'énergie hydroélectrique qui provoquent le plus de dégâts," poursuit Biksham Gujja. "Le déclin des espèces, tant en nombres qu'en diversité, est le signe d'une altération de la chaîne écologique, et cela a des répercussions sur les populations humaines qui dépendent des ressources naturelles des cours d'eau." Ainsi les zones humides intérieures du continent africain produisent 1,5 millions de tonnes de poissons chaque année et font vivre un million de personnes. Et rien qu'en Asie, deux milliards de personnes dépendent des ressources des zones humides pour leur alimentation de base. Le WWF entend à la fois gérer l'eau à l'échelle des bassins fluviaux et protéger les zones humides, afin d'éviter une plus ample dégradation des écosystèmes et la disparition des espèces qu'ils abritent. Pour tout renseignement complémentaire: Lisa Hadeed, tél.: +41 22 364 9030 ou +41 79 372 1346 (portable); e-mail: Shaleen Russell, tél.: +41 22 364 9571, ou +41 79 477 3553 (portable); e-mail:


24.03.00 : two new large dams in Guinea : 75000 persons under the threat of displacement!

click here for a more complet version in french

A consortium of multinationals, whose names are still being kept secret, are planning to build two new large dams in Guinea Conakry, in Souapiti and Kaléta, on the Konkoure river, to supply with water an aluminium factory.

The reservoir would cover 780 km² and would contain 17 milliards m3 of water. The property developers are already expecting an important recrudescence of water-caused diseases like paludism. In the adjacent country, Mali, the Manantali dam was the cause of an unprecedented outbreak of bilharzioze on 1400 km along the Senegal river ! 35 000 would have to be resettled as soon as 2002, and 40 000 in 2005. Those people are now living in 207 different villages (18 to 700 inhabitants). Their resettlement would be accompanied by important investments (basic equipment, water supply, etc.) But what is the future of these kind of infrastructures ? In many cases, when the building is over, they are neglected and abandoned … This project is appearing despite the abundant number of studies which, all over the world, are emphasizing the negative effetcs of dams : the tragedies of displacement, the disastrous consequences downstream for fishermen and peasants, etc …

24.03.00 : Deux grands barrages en Guinée Conakry en 2002-2005: 75000 personnes menacées de déplacement !!

Un consortium d'entreprises multinationales, dont le nom est encore tenu secret, fait étudier par le grand cabinet Coyne et Bellier la construction de deux nouveaux grands barrages en Guinée Conakry à Souapiti et Kaléta sur le fleuve Konkouré, en région difficilement accessible, pour alimenter une usine d'aluminium alors que le Président Chirac vient juste d'inaugurer un premier grand barrage dans ce pays.

La retenue d'eau couvrirait 780 km² et compterait 17 milliards de m3 d'eau, soit 6 de plus que le grand barrage de Manantali au Mali sur le fleuve Sénégal. Les promoteurs du projet escompte d'ores et déjà une forte recrudescence des maladies d'origine hydrique comme le paludisme à l'amont de la retenue et de l'onchocercose à l'aval en raison des changements du régime hydrologique des barrages, avec une vitesse de l'eau accrue en aval tout au long de l'année. Ils engageraient des fonds importants pour les "mesures techniques d'atténuation".

35000 personnes seraient à reloger dès 2002 et 40000 en 2005, issues de 257 villages de 18 à 700 personnes, dans les régions de Sangaréya, de Madina Oula et la vallée de la Kollenté. Leur alimentation en eau et leur état de santé ferait l'objet d'investissements importants en zone d'accueil ( forages, infrastructures, personnel, organisation institutionnelle et… "partage des coûts de fonctionnement entre l'Etat et les populations" ! ) mais qu'en sera-t-il de leur pérennité alors qu'à Manantali, une fois les illusions du chantier dissipées, les infrastructures socio-sanitaires sont à l'abandon et qu'à l'aval l'épidémie de bilharzioze sur plus de 1400 kms est qualifiée de "véritable tragédie" par les épidémiologistes ?

Alors que de nombreuses études soulignent les effets néfastes des déplacements de population à Manantali au Mali et pour les autres grands barrages africains en Côte-d'Ivoire et au Ghana, non loin de la Guinée, et les conséquences désastreuses pour les populations en aval, pêcheurs , agriculteurs ou éleveurs, il convient d'appeler à la prudence face à la démesure d'un tel projet dont certains experts soulignent déjà le faible niveau de faisabilité.

Mais le marché de l'aluminium est en forte expansion…et le régime guinéen si brutal et si fragile à la fois. Un appel urgent doit être lancé face à ce projet, à financement privé en apparence, alors que la Banque Mondiale et la Commission mondiale des grands barrages s'interrogent sur l'utilité, les conséquences et la durabilité des grands barrages et que de nombreuses luttes de l'Inde au Brésil en passant par l'Europe marquent l'opposition croissante des populations.

24.03.00 : UN Commission on Human Rights: Arundhati Roy on Large Dams

In the context of this year's UN Commission on Human Rights session, prominent writer Arundhati Roy and film director Jharana Jhaveri denounced the massive human rights violations caused by the construction of large dams in India's Narmada Valley. Together with the Berne Declaration and the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, the two Indian artists called for an immediate halt of dam construction at a conference in Geneva on 23 March.

On 23 March, prominent writer Arundhati Roy and film director Jharana >Jhaveri testified at a conference organized by the Swiss NGO, the Berne Declaration, and the US-based Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund at UN headquarters in Geneva. Addressing an audience of Human Rights Commission delegates, media and NGO representatives, the two Indian artists denounced the serious human rights violations caused by the construction of large dams in India's Narmada Valley.

Introducing the subject, Thierry Pellet of the Berne Declaration pointed out that the world's 40,000 large dams have so far displaced at least 60 million people. "Experience shows that the human and environmental costs of such projects are consistently underestimated", Pellet warned. Yves Lador of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund maintained that the human rights and environmental problems of large dams are reinforcing each other. "In order to avoid massive violations of human rights, the affected people must be granted access to information and the right to participate in decision-making", Lador stated.

Arundhati Roy, who had visited the project area several times, denounced >the serious resettlement problems of the Sardar Sarovar and Maheshwar dams on the Narmada river. "Apart from the fact that the benefits will not accrue to those in whose name the project is being built, but to politically powerful industrial lobbies", she said that "there is simply no land available for the dam oustees". "Anybody concerned with human rights issues ought to publicly support the Narmada Bachao Andolan's (Save Narmada Movement's) petition to the Supreme Court of India, asking for an independent review of the entire project", the writer said. "It is no coincidence that the majority of the 33 million people uprooted by big dams in India are indigenous people, who have been consistently brutalized by the economic and political decision-makers", Arundhati Roy concluded.

Jharana Jhaveri described the experience of a mass demonstration against the Maheshwar dam in mid-January of this year. Around 1000 peaceful protesters, including Jhaveri and Roy, were arrested and imprisoned near the dam site. Pointing to the determined resistance of the affected population, the film director warned that "the Maheshwar and Sardar Sarovar dams can only be built by using force and violating human rights. The coming monsoon is critical, and the people's resolve is final; they are willing to lay their lives but will not move from their homes and lands. It is the responsibility of every citizen to appeal to the Indian Government's for stopping the construction of the two dams in question and taking those affected into confidence before continuing with forced eviction." Ms. Jhaveri further said: "The international community's role is vital and we hope that they will join the thousands questioning the viability of the project, the environmental and economic feasibility of the project and the conitnued human rights violations."

For further information: . Thierry Pellet, Berne Declaration,, ph +41 21 624 54 17 .

Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration,, ph. +41 1 277 70 07.,

Background information:

The Narmada project entails the construction of 30 large, 135 medium-sized and 3000 small dams in India's Narmada Valley. More than 100,000 people have already been displaced due to the project, but have not been rehabilitated. If all dams were built, at least another 1 million people would need to be resettled. In 1995, India's Supreme Court ruled that construction of the controversial Sardar Sarovar dam be suspended. The Court allowed the construction of another 5 meters in 1999; a decision on further construction is still pending.

Arundhati Roy, author of "The God of Small Things" and winner of the renowned Booker Prize in 1997, became involved in the struggle against the Narmada dams in spring 1999. After visiting the project area, she published a passionate essay on the Narmada experience under the title of "The Greater Common Good". Jharana Jhaveri in 1997 directed and produced the film "Kaise Jeebo Re!" ("How do I survive, my friend?") describing the struggle against the Narmada projects.

Arundhati Roy and Jharana Jhaveri are presently visiting Switzerland, and are scheduled to appear at public events in Geneva and Basel. The Swedish-Swiss company ABB is involved in the Maheshwar dam. The Berne Declaration supports the struggle of the Save the Narmada Movement, and is campaigning against foreign funding for the Maheshwar and other Narmada dams.


23.03.00 : Kader Asmal ministre of education , south africa, wins 10th Stockholm water price

Jubilee Prize Award for Visionary Leadership that Changed South Africa's Water Management

(STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN) The Stockholm Water Foundation today announced that the 10th Stockholm Water Prize has been awarded to Professor Kader Asmal, current Minister of Education and formerly Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa. In its motivation, the Foundation's nominating committee wrote:

Professor Kader Asmal, Minister of Education in the Republic of South Africa, is awarded the 2000 Stockholm Water Prize in recognition of his unprecedented efforts in the development of vision, legislation and practice in the field of water management in South Africa.

Professor Asmal - a noted human rights scholar, teacher and activist who also serves as chairman of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) - has long been held in high esteem internationally. But it is for his unprecedented efforts in the field of water management in South Africa that he will receive the $150,000 Stockholm Water Prize.

After his important contributions to the drafting of the South African Constitution, Professor Asmal in 1994 became Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry in President Nelson Mandela's Government of National Unity. In this position Professor Asmal was responsible for developing an action plan to solve the country's large water problems. In spearheading a fundamental overhaul of water management policy and practice doing so, Professor Asmal went back to his roots, ensuring that policies and practices were anchored in human rights, social justice and environmental sustainability.

Professor Asmal pioneered major reforms in water legislation such as the National Water Act of 1998. The country's water is no longer being used as it was in the apartheid era as a political tool to fuel racial divisions and segregation. He also instituted far-reaching initiatives such as the Working for Water Program, Community Water Supply and Sanitation Program and National Water Conservation Campaign.

The National Water Act has been hailed as the most "comprehensive and visionary" in the world. Among its key provisions were the "water reserve" concept that puts human needs and basic ecological functioning before the interests of commercial or industrial uses; "water- use rights," which means water use is paid for on a sliding scale (major water users such as industry and agriculture pay more, and the poor pay what they can afford); and an acknowledgement that South Africa has a duty to ensure that neighboring states have an equitable share of water from shared rivers.

At the time of his ministerial appointment, more than 16 million South Africans did not have reasonable access to safe drinking water, and some 20 million lacked access to safe sanitation. Today, the situation is changed drastically, with some four million people having benefited directly through water provision close to their homes, and another three million benefiting through access at schools, clinics and work places.

The Community Water Supply and Sanitation Program, which focuses on providing access to the basic levels of service required to assure health for all South Africans, has employed some 300,000 people, more than half of whom were women. By the end of 1998, the Working for Water Program was employing 24,000 people in over 300 projects across the country. Their task was to clear invading alien plants (species) that robbed South Africa of up to seven percent of its mean annual runoff, overtook its most productive lands and threatened its biological diversity.

Professor Asmal's impressive accomplishments to achieve an equitable water situation in South Africa through legislation and development programs have garnered notice outside of the country's borders. They have among others resulted in his appointment as chairman for the World Commission on Dams, an independent organization developed by both proponents and opponents of large dams. The commission's goal is to develop international ethics and guidelines for all parties interested in the building, operating and closing large dams. Today, there are more than 40,000 large dams (more than 15 meters high) in the world. Internationally, the WCD's work, to be reported later this year, will have a far-reaching influence on the dams debate, water utilization and sustainable development in general.

The Stockholm Water Prize, founded in 1990, is presented annually to an institution, organization, individual or company that has made a substantial contribution to the preservation, enhancement or availability of the world's water resources. The Prize recognizes outstanding research, action or education that increases knowledge of water as a resource and protects its usability for all life.

HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the Stockholm Water Prize at a ceremony during the World Water Week in Stockholm in August. Previous Laureates have come from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, India, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United States and have represented a variety of disciplines.

Founders of the Stockholm Water Prize include Anglian Water, Aragon Fondkommission, Bacardi Limited, Compaq, General Motors, Grundfos, ITT >Flygt, Kemira Kemwater, KPMG, Ragn-Sells, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), SNECMA, Stockholm Water Festival, Swedish State Railways (SJ), Uponor Group and the Water Environment Federation.

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