25.10.00 : Water Framework
Directive study programme : november 7th-9th 2000
A European Centre for Public Affairs (ECPA) study
programme on Public Affairs & The Environment: Process in the European
Union, will take place on 7-9 November 2000. The case study to be
used in the November programme will be the EU's Water Framework Directive
(WFD) as special interest to several NGOs. The legislative process
to be examined also applies to other Environmental matters, as well,
This is one in a series of such programmes by ECPA
but one which involves an unique role playing methodology involving
participants from government (e.g. the UK Environment Agency and the
Department of Trade & Industry and the German Federal Ministry of
Environment), business (e.g. Hydro, Ericssson, and General Motors
and Ford) and NGOs. Others addressing the meeting include the Deputy
Director General of DG Environment and Alexander De Roo, MEP.
NGOs (or individuals) who would like to participate
can contact :
Tel: +44 (0) 870 444 2760
Fax: +44 (0) 870 444 2770
: GEF slashes $110 million funding for Danube, Black Sea and Baltic
The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) decided this
week to cut its entire $110 million budget for the implementation
of three major International Water projects in the Danube, Black Sea
and Baltic Sea and to remove these projects from its workplan for
the coming years. This decision was made by Mr. Mohamed T. El-Ashry,
CEO and Chairman of the Global Environmental Facility, apparently
due to a budget shortfall caused by delayed payments from the US Government.
(Extract of a WWF press release)
For further information:
Global and European implications
Richard Holland, Director of WWF's Living Waters Campaign,
Tel. +31 30 693 7819 - Mobile +31 62 154 8655
Jane Madgwick, Head of WWF's European Freshwater Programme
Tel. +45 3524 7843
Danube and Black Sea implications
Philip Weller, Director of WWF's Danube-Carpathian Programme Office
Tel. +43 1 488 17 257 - Mobile Tel. +43 676 444 6601
Baltic Sea implications
Lennart Gladh, WWF-Sweden
Tel. +46 21 351 050 Mobile Tel. +46 70 221 0367
: Narmada : Supreme Court judgment is anti-people
The Supreme Court of India verdict on the Sardar Sarovar
Project (SSP) is entirely against the interests and fundamental rights
of the people in the Narmada valley. It has virtually overturned all
the achievements of the herioc, non-violent struggle of the people
in the valley spearheaded by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA or Save
the Narmada Movement).
Over the course of 15 years, the NBA has unearthed
evidence that has laid bare the inherently unjust design and planning
process of SSP, conceived and implemented without an iota of people's
participation. It has exposed the hollowness of the claims by the
dam's proponents that SSP would quench the thirst of drought-prone
areas of Kutch and Saurashtra, by showing that only 1.6% of Kutch
and 9.24% of Saurashtra lie in the command area of SSP and no water
is expected to reach there till the year 2020. It has also brought
to light the colossal human and environmental costs of the project
evidenced by the displacement of nearly 320,000 people and the loss
of prime agricultural and forest land.
The World Bank which first gave the project credibility
by advancing a $450 million loan, was forced by the NBA's massive
campaign to institute an unprecedented independent review commission,
the Morse Commission. The Morse Commission severely indicted the World
Bank, vindicated all the major concerns of the NBA and recommended
that the Bank withdraw from the project. Faced with growing international
pressure, the World Bank was forced to withdraw from the project.
Throughout the struggle, the different state governments
and the Union of India have displayed a singular lack of concern towards
the welfare of the poor and underprivileged people whose lives would
be devastated by this project. NBA's journey till date has been marked
by grave and repeated atrocities committed by the police and oppressive
governments on marginalized communities such as the adivasis (indigenous
communities), poor peasants and landless toilers, including their
right to peaceably assemble and protest. That the Supreme Court has
chosen to ignore all this evidence of duplicity and deviousness by
the state, is a travesty of justice and egalitarianism in a democratic
The judgement delivered on October 18, 2000, is remarkable
for its naiveté and sinister overtones. It expects the governments
and the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to deliver a land acquisition
and rehabilitation plan in four weeks when they have not accomplished
it in over 15 years! It expects the state governments to properly
address the grievances of the people when the very same governments
continue to oppress the people from often even peacefully assembling!
Further, the judgement while outlining how further construction would
occur, places the arbitration first directly or indirectly in the
hands of the project implementers namely the state government, the
NCA and finally the Prime Minister, instead of an independent and
unbiased entity; and in this way the court also appears to wash off
any further responsibility from itself.
NBA started its journey with a right to information
campaign in the Narmada valley, demanding details of the World Bank
funded project, plans for the affected people, etc. With no information
forthcoming from the Governments, NBA declared its opposition to the
entire project taking into account the scale of adverse impacts. Displaying
a rare degree of spirit, tenacity and courage the Andolan has led
the people of the Narmada valley for over 15 years through various
non-violent civil actions, sit-in's and hunger strikes. They have
faced the challenge thrown up by an insensitive and oppressive government,
thrown out the formidable World Bank, challenged the abomination that
the Sardar Sarovar dam is, braved the rising waters that submerge
the land, forests and livelihood of the people every year, and have
been a model and a source of inspiration for people's struggles throughout
the world. The Friend of River Narmada believe that this spirit will
also enable the Andolan to tide over this unfortunate judgement as
The Friends of River Narmada salutes the spirit of
the people of the Narmada valley and Narmada Bachao Andolan and stand
in solidarity with them.
14.10.00 : Water-Reservoirs
and greenhouse emissions
Independent, Articel by Fred Pearce
: WWF: Biosphaerenreservat Donaudelta feiert zehnjaehriges Bestehen
/ Wieder 4.000 Pelikanpaare
Das Biosphaerenreservat Donaudelta in Rumaenien, eines
der beruehmtesten Vogelparadiese der Welt, feiert morgen sein zehnjaehriges
Bestehen. Dies nimmt das WWF-Auen-Institut in Rastatt zum Anlass fuer
einen Rueckblick. Denn in zehnjaehriger Zusammenarbeit konten ueber
7.000 Hektar einst trockengelegter Feuchtgebiete der Natur wieder
zurueckgegeben werden. Selten gewordene Tiere wie der Rosa-Pelikan
sind heute wieder haeufig. Weiter Informationen: http://www.wwf.de/c_bibliothek/c_presse/c_presse_newsarchiv/c_pm_0010/c_presse_pm_001012.html
11.10.00 : French dam decommissions
echoe throughout the world
Après avoir reçu le mois dernier une
equipe de télévision coréenne et une délégation
d'une association japonaise, SOS Loire Vivante et ERN ont accueilli
le 11 octobre un groupe de journalistes japonais qui désiraient
se rendre sur le site de St-Etienne du Vigan, un des trois barrages
français à avoir été démantelé.
Le Japon, pays où l'industrialisation irraisonnée a
fait des ravages, cherche aujourd'hui dans d'autres pays des solutions
pour gérer plus écologiquement leur environnement.
Un rapport de leur visite (une petite partie seulement est en anglais
... le reste en japonais !) peut être vu sur :
09.10.00 : Australia's legendary
Snowy River to flow again
Australia's legendary Snowy River, reduced
to a weed-infested trickle due to damming and irrigation, will flow
again, at least enough to ride a small boat downstream.
A A$300 million (US$160 million) rescue
project announced on Friday by the New South Wales and Victorian states
will see the Snowy return to 28 percent of its natural flow in around
"The Snowy River is bound up in Australian history," Jeff
Angel, director of the Total Environment Centre, told reporters in
welcoming the rescue project.
An extra 330 billion litres of alpine water will flow downstream each
year, but the Snowy will still be a far cry from the mighty river
immortalised in Australian writer and poet Andrew "Banjo"
Paterson's "The Man From Snowy River".
By comparison, Sydney Harbour contains 500 billion litres.
The increased water flow will come from the more efficient use of
the river's water by farmers using conservation methods such as covers
over irrigation channels to reduce evaporation.
Some 99 percent of the Snowy's flow has been redirected westward for
irrigation and in 1997, police received a bomb threat against the
Snowy's main dam.
The Snowy rescue project comes after a decade of fighting by environmentalists
and downstream farmers.
"The Snowy River was on its death bed for the last 30 or 40 years,"
Angel said. "It has only had one percent of its flow and no river,
particularly a vibrant alpine river, can survive such a starvation
Angel said he hoped the increased water would mimic natural flows,
with more water released when the snow melts in Australia's Mount
Kosciuszko range and less during winter, thus rebuilding the river's
Environmentalists said more efficient water use in one of the country's
major food belts would also reduce salinity, a growing problem which
is now encroaching on Australian farmlands.
"One of the big reasons for salinity is the water-logging of
the soil and the salt rising to the surface. This saving of the Snowy
River is also about the saving of the environment of the irrigation
districts," Angel said.
Farmers said they welcomed the Snowy rescue project, as long as the
extra water came from water saving schemes and not a reduction in
Story by Michael Perry
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
: Spain : Friends of the Earth demand refrom to the national hydrological
Friends of the Earth Spain, member of
Friends of the Earth International an environmental group spanning
62 countries, criticised a National Hydrological Plan (PHN) proposing
the construction of new dams and a possible diversion of the Ebro,
requesting instead that government produce a new policy based on water
economy and demand management.
On July 14, 2000, the Council of Ministers approved
a draft PHN planning investment of three billion pesetas from 2001-2008,
50% of which would come from public funds (State and EU), 40% from
private investment and 10% from local government. Most of the investment
would go to Andalusia (682,455 million pesetas), Aragon (401.247 million),
Castille and León (232,385) and the Valencian Community (212,385).
The PHN will go before the National Water Council on September 5,
for their mandatory report, reaching Congress in 2001. The plan earmarks
958,594 million for modernising irrigation systems, 408,645 million
for urban supplies, 427,996 million for sewerage and waste water treatment,
286,717 million for reforestation and 227,559 million for flood prevention.
The Plan presented by Environment Minister Jaume Matas
mentioned the possible diversion of 100,000 cubic metres per year
to Catalonia (20,000 m3), the Valencian Community (30,000 m3), Murcia
(40,000 m3) and Almeria (10,000 m3), at a cost of 700,000 million
pesetas. This diversion is proposed on the underlying principle that
unused water is lost into the sea. However, as this water travels
overland, it picks up elements which are vital to the coastal ecosystems.
The planned dams and diversions will impede outflow to the sea, bringing
catastrophic consequences for the Ebro delta: one of the most valuable
ecosystems on the Spanish mainland. Reports indicate sedimentation
in the Ebro has already reduced by 95%, a situation further aggravated
by the rising sea level.
The Ebro delta is sinking. Similarly the loss of flow
in the Ebro river mouth could impede the refilling of aquifers. This
leaves an opening for salt water to take its place in a phenomenon
known as sea water intrusion, something which signifies the permanent
loss of these water reserves. Sea water intrusion already affects
the Canary and Balearic islands, as well as many areas of the coast
The PHN allots 16% of planned investment to 10 new
dams: Breña II, Alcolea, Pedro Arco-La Cerrada and Corunjoso
in Andalusia, Yesa, Biscarrués, Santaliestra and Mularroya
in Aragon, La Viña in the Canaries and Caleao in Asturias.
Breña II in Andalusia, and Yesa and Santaliestra in Aragon
will have a hefty environmental impact. Today Spain already has more
than 1,200 dams and a reservoir surface area of 3,000 km2 (six times
greater than that of France). The PHN, despite the rhetoric within
the document, is far from being a demand management plan with policies
prioritising efficiency and thrift.
The new dams, the possible diversions and planned
desalination plants demonstrate that the priority is still to increase
supply regardless of environmental and social impacts, and possibilities
of reducing water consumption with demand management policies, which
reduce losses in the distribution network, increase irrigation efficiency
and reuse waste water after adequate cleaning. The PHN does not deal
with underground water supplies in a satisfactory manner either, nor
does it include any real measures to deal with the over-exploitation
of aquifers in many zones, like Castille-La Mancha (suffice to see
the Daimiel Wetlands), the Canaries or Andalusia, or the spread of
nitrate or pesticide contamination.
The promise of plentiful water for all purposes is
false and can never be fulfilled. Experts have predicted Spain will
see the impact of climate change due to the emission of greenhouse
gases into the atmosphere in lower (10% less) and more concentrated
rainfall. This which would mean longer periods of drought and more
intense rains within the near future.
According to data from the Environment Ministry, current
water demand in Spain is as follows: irrigation, 2,420,000 m3/year
(80%), urban supplies, 430,000 /year (14%) and industry, 190,000 m3/year
(6%). Total consumption is 3,050,000 m3/year (100%). Per capita water
consumption in Spain is almost double the world average, and far higher
than comparable European averages.
There are 3.4 million hectares of irrigated land in
Spain, and 59% of these are watered using the gravity flow method
- a method both wasteful and obsolete, and even more so in an arid
country. Conventional technologies, like localised irrigation, allow
for savings of 50% on irrigation using gravity flow. The key question
is why the State is proposing enormous investment into diversions
like that of the Ebro, when this investment would be more effective
if channelled into improving the distribution networks and irrigation
systems, after prior study of which irrigation systems are worth maintaining.
The most interesting techniques include micro-irrigation systems,
including surface and sub-surface drip and micro-sprinklers. According
to data from the Worldwatch Institute, Israel waters almost 50% of
its irrigated surface area using these techniques, whereas in Spain
the figure is barely 5%.
Along with reducing consumption, contamination reduction
is another way of increasing available resources. Most of Spain's
rivers are in a pitiful environmental state because of contamination,
dams, water extraction for irrigation, the take-over of the public
domain on water and the destruction of riverside woodlands.
Friends of the Earth Spain opposes the draft National
Hydrological Plan, and requests that the government adopt a new plan
based on demand management, leakage reduction in the distribution
networks (20% of distributed water), the elimination of wastage, a
progressive increase in the price of water and the modernisation of
irrigation systems, adopting more efficient technologies. Were a reliable
policy adopted based on economy and demand management, the new dams
and diversions would be completely unnecessary. Friends of the Earth
consider that within five years, more than 600,000 m3 per year could
be saved on present consumption, offering the same services with greater
efficiency - six times the amount expected from the Ebro Diversion.
For more information:
José Santamarta. Tel: 914 29 37 74. E mail: email@example.com
Daniel Sánchez 91 306 99 00/649 81 78 92. E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Avda. Ajalvir a Vicálvaro, 82 - 4º 28022
- MADRID Tel.: (34) 91-306-99-00/21 Fax: (34) 91-313-48-93 E-mail:
translated by Sarah Mason
06.10.00 : A Milestone in
the History of Dams and Development : Commission finalises Global
Report, to be released by Nelson Mandela in London
After an intense and at times dramatic process of
reviewing the world's experience with large dams, the WCD announced
at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Amman, Jordan, that all
12 members of the Commission, representing public, private and civil
society perspectives have signed a unanimous report. The report due
to be released on November 16th will propose a new framework for decision
making in water and energy resources management.
The announcement concludes two years of worldwide
research and consultation, making the WCD the most comprehensive global
and independent assessment of dams ever undertaken. More than 45,000
large dams have been built to date which include some of the largest
infrastructure investments ever undertaken in a country. Through case
studies, peer reviews, impartial outreach, and rigorous independent
analysis the Commission has assessed their technical, financial, environmental
and social performance. Its work programme involved thousands of people
and hundreds of dams across the world, to learn the lessons of the
past and develop guidelines for future decision making.
In announcing the completion of its work the WCD has
succeeded in fulfilling a difficult mandate with a unanimous report
on time, and under budget.
The final moment of the WCD comes when it launches
the published Final Report with Nelson Mandela as patron and guest
of honour in London.
Complete pressrelease at : http://www.dams.org/press/pressrelease_63.htm
: "Hydro 2000": Swiss NGOs protest against large
At the occasion of the international "Hydro 2000"
conference in Berne, Swiss NGOs protest against the impacts of large
dams. The Berne Declaration and Kurdish organizations demand that
the problems of existing dams be resolved before new projects are
On 2-4 October "Hydro 2000", a major conference of
the international dams industry, takes place in Berne. At the occasion
of the conference, about 150 people protested against the impacts
of large dams in Berne. The demonstration was organized on Monday
evening by the Swiss advocacy group, the Berne Declaration, and by
FEKAR, the federation of Kurdish organizations in Switzerland.
At the demonstration, Peter Bosshard of the Berne
Declaration pointed out that large dams have flooded some of the most
fertile and biologically diverse lands on earth, and have forced at
least 30-60 million people from their homes. Bosshard said: "Many
large dams are monuments of mismanagement, vested interests and corruption.
Representatives of the dam industry claim to have learnt lessons from
past mistakes. Yet with ongoing projects such as Three Gorges in China
or the dams in India's Narmada valley, actual practice tells a different
The Swiss MP Ruth-Gaby Vermot pointed out that "the
Ilisu dam in Turkey is a telling example for the destructive impacts
of large dams". Vermot is a vice-president of the Swiss Social Democratic
Party, and a rapporteur to the European Council on the human rights
situation of Kurdish refugees in Turkey. At the demonstration, she
explained that up to 78'000 people will lose their homes or lands
due to the Ilisu reservoir. The new dam will flood the historically
important town of Hasankeyf, and will spread malaria in the region.
It is not cost-effective, and will heighten political tensions with
Iraq and Syria, the downstream countries on the Tigris.
The participants of the demonstration presented the
following demands to the "Hydro 2000" conference:
. Destructive dams such as Ilisu (Turkey), Three Gorges
(China), Sardar Sarovar and Maheshwar (India), Ralco (Chile), San
Roque (Philippines) and Bujagali Falls (Uganda) should be stopped.
Official export credit agencies should not provide any funding for
such projects. . The problems of existing dams must be resolved before
any new dams are planned in the same country or basin, e.g. by providing
reparations to the people who lost their livelihoods to previous dams.
. No dam projects should go ahead without the prior, free and informed
consent of the affected communities.
About 500 delegates of the dam industry from 45 countries
are presently convening for the "Hydro 2000" conference in Berne.
No representatives of human rights, environment or development organizations
have been invited to join the more than 100 speakers who address the
conference. During the demonstration, the organizers invited one representative
of the Berne Declaration to attend the conference as an observer.
The BD suggested that instead, representatives of dam-affected people
should be invited, and as speakers. "Frankly, we believe it is industry's
turn now to listen and observe", Peter Bosshard said. For more information:
Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration, email@example.com, www.evb.ch, +41
1 277 70 07
For more information on "Hydro 2000": www.hydropower-dams.com/hydro2000/
22.09.00 : UN agency blames
Mekong floods on deforestation
BANGKOK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - A United Nations agency
said on Friday deforestation was a major cause of the floods that
have devastated Indochina and the Mekong delta in the last month
The UN's Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP) said in a statement forests in most Asian countries had been
reduced to about 25 percent of land area in 1995 from 70 percent in
Other causes of the floods were a reduction in river channels and
drainage, reclamation of flood plains and wetlands and a rapid expansion
of urban and residential areas, ESCAP said
Heavy rain in the past month across Indochina and the Mekong delta
have killed hundreds of people and forced more than a million others
from their homes in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand
Water levels in Vietnam's Mekong Delta appeared to be stabilising
on Friday but the toll in the region's worst floods in decades rose
to at least 66, mostly children
The Laotian Ministry of Agriculture said the flooding, the worst in
the country since 1978, had affected 18,423 families and damaged 48,724
hectares (120,395 acres) of farmland nationwide
Flood waters that have caused misery in northern and northeastern
Thailand have begun to spill into the country's central plains, reaching
Ayutthaya, just 76 km (47 miles) north of Bangkok, officials said
Concerns have been raised over the safety of the Ayutthaya World Heritage
site, comprising ancient palaces, ruins and temples, some of which
were damaged by floods in 1995
A two-metre (6.6 feet) concrete flood wall was being built on the
banks of the Chao Phrya river to protect the historic city from floods
ESCAP said the intensity of flood disasters had increased in the region
during the past few years, causing increasingly serious social and
economic impact on the developing nations
An ESCAP regional survey showed the floods in 1998 caused nearly 7,000
deaths, damaged more than six million houses, and destroyed nearly
25 million hectares (61.8 million acres) of crops in Bangladesh, China,
India and Vietnam.
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following news report may not be republished or redistributed, in
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