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    "Newer" news

  • 24.05.01: More Than One in Four Polluters Seriously Violating Clean Water Act Permits
  • 23.05.01: USA: Water and Environmental Experts Directory Launched by Water Strategist Community (
  • 21.05.01: European Bathing Water Cleaner Again Last Year
  • 21.05.01: Eastern Siberia Floods Worst In 100 Years
  • 18.05.01: Marshlands Of The Tigris-Euphrates Delta 90 Percent Gone
  • 16.05.01: Elbe river: Germany's Highest Court Fails to Halt Airbus Destruction of Protected Wetland Habitat
  • 13.05.01: Dam Decommissioning in Czechia
  • 12.05.01: North America: Salmon protection reinforced in the Columbia river basin
  • 12.05.01: Towards the Rio+10 and Beyond : E-Conference Invitation
  • 11.05.01: Chinese dams are threatening 100 millions people
  • 11.05.01 : USA: Federal Energy Commission reaches for control of hydropower licensing
  • 09.05.01 : Balfour Beatty faces dam clash
  • 01.05.01: Pak Mun Dam Gates to Open

    Older news

Text :

24.05.01: More Than One in Four Polluters Seriously Violating Clean Water Act Permits

From U.S. Public Interest Research Group
More than one in four (26%) of the nation's largest industrial, municipal, and federal facilities were in serious violation of the Clean Water Act at least once during a recent 15-month period, according to a report released today by U.S. PIRG. "Polluters' Playground: How the Government Permits Pollution" describes many shortcomings in the monitoring of water pollution and efforts to deter polluters, at the same time that the Bush Administration has proposed cutting the EPA's budget for enforcement.
Full article

23.05.01: USA: Water and Environmental Experts Directory Launched by Water Strategist Community (

From Water Strategist
How would you assemble a team of experts in water law, engineering, and valuation with expertise in water quality in your state? The Water Strategist Community suggests you start by clicking on a category of "water experts" at
The Water Strategist Community ( today launched an on-line directory of water experts in the fields of water appraisal and water brokering, water and environmental law, engineering, water development, consulting, and research. The Water Strategist Community, sponsored primarily by Stratecon, Inc., is a virtual water newsroom and discussion forum that brings together timely water news from over 250 government, corporate, water agency, and environmental sources.
Full article

21.05.01: European Bathing Water Cleaner Again Last Year

Brussels, Belgium, May 21, 2001 (ENS) - Coastal and freshwater bathing water quality in the European Union continued to improve last year, according to EU-wide sampling results for the 2000 bathing season released today by the European Commission.
For full text and graphics visit:

21.05.01: Eastern Siberia Floods Worst In 100 Years²

YAKUTSK, Russia, May 21, 2001 (ENS) - Two people are dead and thousands
have been evacuated from towns in Eastern Siberia as a massive snow melt in
the Sayany Mountains has resulted in the worst spring flooding in a century.
For full text and graphics visit:

18.05.01: Marshlands Of The Tigris-Euphrates Delta 90 Percent Gone

Washington, DC, May 18, 2001 (ENS) - The once fertile crescent created by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is rapidly drying up. Drainage and damming has destroyed close to 90 percent of these Mesopotamian marshlands, according to thousands of previously unpublished satellite images donated today by the United States government to the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP.
For full text and graphics visit:

16.05.01: Elbe: Germany's Highest Court Fails to Halt Airbus Destruction of Protected Wetland Habitat

From International Fund for Animal Welfare
Environmentalists worldwide today decried an announcement by Germany's highest court - the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) that it would not grant an injunction to stop the filling of Mühlenberger Loch, Europe's largest freshwater tidal mudflat, for the construction of an Airbus Industrie A380 production factory.
"What seemed unthinkable now appears inevitable," said IFAW President, Fred O'Regan following the court's decision. "The unique eco-gem of Mühlenberger Loch , home to thousands of wetland birds, will continue to be filled. A rare and globally important habitat will be sacrificed for short-term profit.," O'Regan said.
Read full article
For more information, contact: Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell, Communications Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare. Email : Web site:

13.05.01: Dam Decommissioning in Czechia

In South Moravia,(SE part of CR) between 1969 and 1989 a complex of three dams was completed - so called Nove Mlyny Dams. Although the dams were only 2 - 9 metres high, due to the fact that they were built on flat plains, 3200 hectares were covered by water. Broder area including dams is in the list of Ramsar sites A major campaign was launched in 1991 with a big demonstration for decommissioning of two of the dams (3 000 participants). After three years of negotiation between state authorities and environmentals NGOs it was decided that the two reservoirs would be partially drained. The water level was lowered by 85 cm, and it was determined that the situation would be re-evaluated in approximately 5 years. This year the situation is crucial because state organization Povodi Moravy (a water management company) want to raise the water to the former level ( 85 cm higher). - There is big straggle about competence dealing with water law between MoE and Ministry of Agriculture and situation is very unclear. If the water level will be raised, 50 hectares of young forest and other habitats will be destroyed.
RNDr. Mojmir Vlasin , Ekologicky institut Veronica Panska 9 , CZ-60200 Brno , tel. 420 5 42218351

12.05.01: North America: Salmon protection reinforced in the Columbia river basin.

Funding was approved Thursday for 11 projects to bolster the salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River Basin while at the same time, U.S. environmentalists and timber executives were joining forces to put limits on logging in British Columbia.
Full article

12.05.01: Towards the Rio+10 and Beyond : E-Conference Invitation

This e-conference dialogue is being organised to solicit additional contributions on "Land-related issues" to contribute to the finalisation of the report to go forward to the CSD Secretariat and to the participatory process and events leading up to Rio+10.
It is organised by FAO (The Agriculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), responsible for reporting to the Commission on Sustainable Development on "Land, Agriculture and Desertification" and maybe relevant for people concerned with water (irrigation problems).
It will be held from May 3 to 20, 2001 and is open to all individuals and institutions,Civil Society Organizations, Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, the Private Sector and International Institutions.
Additional information can be found on the FAO web page at: Rio+10 land site "Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources: Reporting on Progress for chapter 10 of Agenda 21" at

11.05.01: Chinese dams are threatening 100 millions people

(Michael Sheridan, Bangkok) A giant Chinese project to build up to nine dams on the Mekong River poses a threat to people, wildlife and water systems across southeast Asia, according to a draft report prepared for the Asian Development Bank.
Governments down-river in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are said to be too fearful of China to make any public protest over the plans. The draft report gives a warning that the Chinese dams could cause intensified flooding, wreck fisheries, damage the environment and disrupt transport links. The Mekong supports more than 100m people on its course from the Tibetan plateau to the South China Sea. Floods claimed more than 500 lives last year, a toll which experts say is certain to rise as the water flow changes.
Witoon Permpongsacharoen, director of the Bangkok-based environmental lobby group Terra, said recently: "This is the lifeblood, the life source, for millions of people. You simply cannot afford to make any big mistakes with the Mekong."
For full article :

11.05.01 : USA: Federal Energy Commission reaches for control of hydropower licensing

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has proposed to centralize all authority for licensing of hydropower installations, now dispersed amongst several federal and state agencies, in its own hands. The move has drawn objections from environmental groups and praise from the electric power industry.
"The licensing process requires a balance between producing power and protecting the environment at hundreds of private hydropower dams," said Andrew Fahlund, chair of the Hydropower Reform Coalition,
FERC issues and oversees operating licenses for approximately 2,500 privately owned hydropower dams across the country. Over the next decade, the licenses for more than 400 dams affecting 130 different rivers will expire. During the relicensing process, Federal and State resource agencies have the opportunity to set minimum protections for water quality, flow, fish passage and land protection and temperature standards.
For further information :
For copies of the GAO Report "Licensing Hydropower Projects: Better Time and Cost Data to Reach Informed Decisions about Process Reforms:"
For copies of the May 2001 FERC Report:
Articles :

09.05.01 : Balfour Beatty faces dam clash

Financial Times (London) May 2, 2001
By Kevin Brown.
Balfour Beatty will risk a confrontation with environmental and human rights campaigners today by advising shareholders to reject a resolution forcing it to accept stringent guidelines on involvement in dam-building contracts.
The construction group confirmed last night that it would advise shareholders to vote against the resolution, tabled by Friends of the Earth, which has acquired a Pounds 30,000 shareholding to put its case at the annual meeting.
Charles Secrett, executive director of FoE, warned the company that it would "continue to suffer serious damage to its reputation" if it did not accept the resolution. Balfour Beatty said it was "evaluating the wider implications" of the guidelines, drawn up in a report by the World Commission on Dams, set up by the World Bank and an international conservation group in 1997.
The company said the guidelines were not intended to be applied rigidly. However, they would probably force it to withdraw from a Swiss-led consortium seeking to build a controversial dam at Ilisu, on the Tigris river in Turkey.
Campaigners claim the dam would lead to mass deportation of the part-Kurdish local population, environmental degradation, flooding of important historical areas and even a regional war over water shortages.
All these claims are denied by Turkey, which says the dam is needed for electricity generation.

01.05.01: Pak Mun Dam Gates to Open

From World Rivers Review
By Aviva Imhof,
In a victory for villagers affected by Pak Mun Dam in Thailand, the new Prime Minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, has agreed to open the Pak Mun Dam gates for 4 months this year to conduct studies on fisheries and social impacts. In exchange, the Assembly of the Poor has ended their marathon protest outside Government House, where several hundred people had been camping since last July.
Under the terms of the agreement, the gates of Pak Mun Dam on the Mun River in Ubon Ratchathani Province will be opened from May to August while fisheries and social studies are conducted. A decision will then be made on whether to allow an indefinite opening of the dam gates. The exact dates of the spillway opening, and the Terms of Reference for the studies, have been delegated to a committee composed of a number of Thai academics. The committee was to make its recommendations as this issue went to press.
The Pak Mun Dam was completed in 1994 with $24 million in funding from the World Bank. From the outset, the project was highly controversial due to the predicted impacts on the rich and productive fisheries of the Mun River, the largest tributary of the Mekong River. As a direct result of the dam, more than 20,000 people have been affected by drastic reductions in fish populations upstream of the dam, and other changes to their livelihoods. Since 1999, villagers have been living in a makeshift protest village at the dam site, demanding that the dam gates be permanently opened and the river restored.
Villagers affected by the dam are cautiously optimistic about their prospects for the future. Said Mrs. Charoen Kongsuk, "We are happy with the decision made by the government, but the government is composed of politicians, who do not always keep their promises. Therefore, we are waiting to see if the government complies with the agreement and opens the dam gates for four months this rainy season. We hope that this will be the first step towards permanent opening of the dam gates and restoration of the Mun River."
Villagers say they will stay at Ban Mae Mun Man Yuen 1 (Long-lasting Mun River Village 1), the protest village at the dam site, until the dam gates are permanently opened and reparations have been made to affected communities. About 500 people are currently living there.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the owner and operator of the dam, has attacked the government's decision. EGAT claims that opening the dam gates would result in an economic loss of about 600 million baht ($15 million), and that Thailand cannot afford to forego the power that would be generated by the dam. This is despite the fact that Thailand currently has a power surplus of around 40%.
In addition, EGAT claims that opening the dam gates will destroy the fish cages they have established in the reservoir. The World Commission on Dams, however, found that reservoir fisheries at Pak Mun had been a failure, and that the actual fish catch in the reservoir and upstream is 60-80 percent less than in the pre-dam era, resulting in an economic loss to villagers of about US$1.4 million per year. The WCD recorded that 169 out of 265 species of fish in the Mun River were affected by the construction of the dam. Of these, 56 species have completely disappeared.
Pak Mun was one of several decisions made by the Cabinet concerning dam projects in Thailand. The government will appoint a panel to search for plots of land of 15 rai each (2.4 hectares) as new homes for over 400 families affected by the construction of Sirindhorn Dam, completed in 1969. These families were never given compensation for their lost land, and have been squatting on government-owned land for the past 30 years. Tests will be conducted to measure the volume of dust particles in the air in communities around Lam Ta Khong Dam in the wake of rock blasting. The government has also agreed to suspend construction on Hua Na Dam in Si Sa Ket Province, and has established joint committees to consider complaints on other dams.
Ms. Wanida Tantiwittayapitak, Advisor to Assembly of the Poor, said the warm treatment that the villagers had received from the Thaksin Shinawatra government was a stark contrast to the cold-shoulder given by the Chuan Leekpai administration. Last year, after a series of protests on the dam and at government house, the Chuan government opened the dam gates for two months during the rainy season, but made no commitment for the future.
Chuan's main concession to Assembly of the Poor was an order to open the gates at Rasi Salai, a dam further upstream of Pak Mun along the Mun River. The gates have been opened since last July and studies are currently being conducted which will determine whether the gates will be permanently opened. The villagers at Rasi Salai have already witnessed a dramatic increase in fisheries since the dam gates were opened. They are able to harvest foods such as mushrooms, vegetables and herbs from the former reservoir, and some are preparing their formerly flooded lands for cultivation of cash crops and vegetables.
Aviva Imhof Director, Southeast Asia Program International Rivers Network 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley CA 94703 USA Tel: + 1 510 848 1155 (ext. 312), Fax: + 1 510 848 1008 Email:, Web: *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*

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