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  • 16.10.01: Macedonia: the Disappearance of Dojran Lake
  • 13.10.01: German Federal and Regional Ministers of Environment against new Czech dams.
    13.10.01: Deutschland: Umweltminister gegen neue Elbe-Staudämme in Tschechien.
  • 12.10.01: Power plant resettlement scheme heats up in Vietnam
  • 09.10.01: Water sources for China Yellow River dry up
  • 09.10.01 :The Commission on Environment of the European Parliament approves the amendment against the Spanish National Hydrological Plan.
    09.10.01 : La Commission à l'Environnement du Parlement Européen vote l'amendement contre le Plan Hydrologique National espagnol.

  • 04.10.01: A new strategy for the bulgarian danube islands will ensure the protection of natural floodplain forests
  • 03.10.01: New Pacific Institute Report Examines Water Flow in Colorado River Delta Region
  • 03.10.01: NGOs united to denounce the project of Ilisu dam, arguing that it could be in breach of European Human Rights Act
    03.10.01: Ilisu/Türkei : Internationales Bündnis von Nichtregierungsorganisationen analysiert

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16.10.01: Macedonia: the Disappearance of Dojran Lake

SKOPJE, Macedonia, By Natasha Dokovska - Dojran Lake is dying. Situated in the southeastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, the lake is shared in almost equal parts between Macedonia and the Greece. Today with a serious drought in the region, Dojran Lake is evaporating.
Once characterized by the highest fish growth rate in Europe, Dojran Lake has rapidly shrunk to a third of its former size. In the middle of the lake, more than 50 islands have appeared as severe drought has caused a steep drop in the water level.
The citizens in the little town of Dojran on the shore of the lake are in a panic over this situation and frightened for their survival. They say that in the past, two or three islands may have appeared in the middle of the lake during dry years, but this phenomena did not endanger the existence of the lake. In the past, the situation grew worse every year, but now the lake is visibly drying up every day.

Dojran Lake fish are still caught in an old fashioned way using cormorants. From wooden huts on stakes situated in the water, fishermen use the trained birds to drive schools of fish into a trap. The huts are now on dry land, and a unique way of fishing is vanishing.
Of the total number of streams feeding the Dojran Lake from the surrounding watershed, 67 percent belong to Greece and 33 percent toMacedonia. Any activity disturbing the water balance in this basin also has a negative impact on the lake.
Due to exploitation of the water in Dojran Lake and the streams feeding it, the lake level has dropped 2.5 meters (eight feet) below the minimum water level stipulated in the 1956 bilateral agreement with Greece.
Dojran Lake has a surface area of 42.5 square kilometers (16.4 square miles). On October 1, when officials from Macedonia's Environment Ministry measured the lake's depth, it was 348 centimeters (11.4 feet) below the optimal level. The Macedonian Environment Minister Vladimir Dzabirski says this is largest retreat of the lake ever.
With an average depth of 1.5 meters (4.8 feet) and a three meter (9.7 foot) maximum depth, the lake is turning into a swamp. The plants and animals are dying out, and various diseases infect the fish.
A group of experts from the Biology Institute, having followed the life of Dojran Lake for over 50 years, say it is unlikely that the lake will ever grow back to its original size.
Some experts recommend a change in the course of the nearby Anska River in order to stop further disappearance of the lake.
The person responsible for the project, Kaja Sukova from the Environment Ministry, says that it would take more than five million German marks to divert the river. To date, the Environment Ministry has received five million German marks towards this project, but according Sukova that is not enough.
International public pressure is necessary to provide the support for a solution to this ecological problem.
Meanwhile, the absence of joint action by the local government and Macedonian authorities, and lack of cooperative action between Macedonia and Greece, could soon result in the disappearance Dojran Lake from the world map.
Source : ENS

13.10.01: German Federal and Regional Ministers of Environment against new Czech dams.

ERN - In Germany, the regional Minister of Environment from Saxony as well as the Federal Minister of Environment have strongly criticized the Czech dam project on the Elbe river just next to the German border. These dams meant to improve shipping would be built close to two national parks.
In a 9 pages documents, the Federal Minister of Environment (M. Treetin, Green party) criticized the impact assessment that was presented by the Czech Republic. In this text, he declares that the present state of the Elbe has not been taken into account and that the assessment does not specify if there will be a trans-boundary impact*. M. Trettin also declared that a meeting of international experts should be organized.
The Minister of Environment of Saxony (M. Flath, CDU (right-wing party)) also criticized the project, arguing that it was not economically viable.
* the two countries are signatories of the ESPOO convention regulating projects having (or that can have) an impact on several countries.

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13.10.01: Deutschland: Umweltminister gegen neue Elbe-Staudämme in Tschechien.

Der deutsche Bundesumweltminister Trettin (Grüne) sowie der sächsische Umweltminister Flath (CDU) haben grundsätzliche Bedenken gegen die zwei geplanten Staustufen in der tschechischen Elbe nahe der Grenze geäussert. Mit dem Staustufenbau soll ein bessere Befahrbarkeit der Elbe gewährleistet werden. In einem 9 seitigen Brief an die tschechische Regierung kritisierte Trettin die Ergebnisse der von der tschechischen Regierung vorgelegten Umweltverträglichkeitsstudie. Der Istzustand der Elbe sei ebenso mangelhaft dargestellt wie die möglichen Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt. Der tschechischen Regierung sei es somit nicht gelungen nachzuweisen, dass grenzüberschreitende Auswirkungen durch den Staustufenbau auszuschliessen sind. Der Bundesminister soll zudem das tschechische Umweltministerium gebeten, ein Expertentreffen einzuberufen.
Der sächsiche Umweltminister seinerseits hatte wiederholt auf die Unwirtschaftlichkeit des Projektes hingewiesen und darauf hingewiesen, dass Wasserqualität, Fauna und Flora durch den Staufenbau gefährdet würden
ERN, sowie die Allianz zur Erhaltung der Elbe in Sachsen und Böhmen sowie die Bürgeriniative Naturnahe Elbe führen ihre Kampagnegegen das unsinnige Projekt weiter.

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12.10.01: Power plant resettlement scheme heats up in Vietnam

Deutsche Presse-Agentur - Planned relocations of tens of thousands of families in Vietnam's remote northwest have hit a snag as squatters have claimed land set aside for the resettlement, officials said Friday.
Forty households have taken up residence in Lai Chau province's Ban Dong area, where officials had planned to resettle up to 200 families in a two-year pilot project beginning this month to make way for the massive Son La hydroelectric dam. The squatters, ethnic Hmong from a nearby commune, have been allowed by authorities to stay. "We have found another place and will let these people stay there," said Vu Duc Thin of power monopoly Electricity of Vietnam. The developments, while on a small scale, portend a potential clash between authorities intent on providing new homes for the displaced and local ethnic groups seeking arable lands in the region.
The Son La dam, Vietnam's largest infrastructure project, has already been approved in principle by communist leaders, but its dimensions have yet to be finalised.
In the planning stages for years, the dam's reservoir will flood up to 44,700 hectares of land in Son La and Lai Chau, and require resettlement of 100,000 people, mostly ethnic minorities, by the time it is completed in 2015.
The government has earmarked 660 million U.S. dollars for resettlement.
But the plan has drawn fire from local officials as well as foreign diplomats concerned over how Vietnam intends to foot the 3-5 billion U.S. dollar bill for the project, given the reluctance of Western donors to support schemes that force large-scale displacement of people.

09.10.01: Water sources for China Yellow River dry up

BEIJING - More than 2,000 lakes that nurture China's once ferocious Yellow River in the western province of Qinghai are disappearing and causing water shortages for the local people, state-run Xinhua said on the weekend.
Dubbed "China's Sorrow" for its disastrous floods over the centuries, the nation's second-longest Yellow River waterway has been dying over the years, harmed by excessive water use and pollution.
Global warming had also taken its toll, putting pressure on the Yellow River's water supply for several consecutive years, Xinhua news agency said.
Over half of the ground rivers and lakes in Qinghai's Madoi county - formerly known as a "county of thousands of lakes" - had already disappeared, making 30 percent of the county's grassland vanish and harming grazing activities, it said.
Drought this summer had deprived local livestock of sufficient food and dried up more than 120 of the county's sources of drinking water, it said.
Although now tame, China has fought a long battle to control the unpredictable Yellow River.
Meticulous reports of the river's torment have been kept since the 7th century B.C. and flooding along its densely-populated lower reaches became so rampant in the 17th and 18th centuries the Qing dynasty emperor created a high-ranking government post to address the problem.
Source : Planetark

09.10.01 :The Commission on Environment of the European Parliament approves the amendment against the Spanish National Hydrological Plan.

The Commission of Environment of the European Parliament has approved today the amendment presented by Laura GONZÁLEZ ÁLVAREZ, María SORNOSA MARTÍNEZ and Alexander de ROO against the Spanish National Hydroelectric Plan in the in the context of the report "Rating Policy for a Development of a Sustainable Water Management". " We are very satisfied with the approval of this amendment " - Alexander de Roo declares. " It is a very important signal that the Parliament wants to transmit today to Spanish authorities and European Commission. This Plan does not take into account the necessity to develop a rating policy of water according to sustainability criteria. If in addition we consider that this Plan is develop in a context of a policy of privatization of water on the part of the Spanish government, we can doubt that sustainability of the water resource has been taken into account ".
Text of the approved amendment: "Is deeply worried about the precedent set by proposals for the development of unsustainable water management schemes across Europe, such as the Spanish National Hydrological Plan (NHP), adopted by the Spanish Senate on 20 June 2001 and which includes proposals to build up to 118 new dams and widespread irrigation infrastructure, as they do not address the issue of sustainable water use through pricing mechanisms and other water conservation measures"
More information on the National Hydrological Plan

09.10.01 : La Commission à l'Environnement du Parlement Européen vote l'amendement contre le Plan Hydrologique National espagnol.

Avec 29 voix pour et 19 contre, la Commission à l'Environnement du Parlement Européen a approuvé aujourd'hui l'amendement présenté par Laura GONZÁLEZ ÁLVAREZ, María SORNOSA MARTÍNEZ et Alexander de ROO contre le Plan Hydrologique National dans le cadre du rapport " Politique de tarification pour un développement d'une gestion durable des ressources en eau ". Alexander de Roo se dit satisfait de ce vote : " C'est un message important que la Commission à l'Environnement fait passer aux autorités espagnoles et à la Commission Européenne. Ce Plan ne contient pas de politique de tarification et un usage non rationnel des ressources fait augmenter la demande. Et lorsque l'on voit que ce Plan se fait dans le cadre d'une privatisation de l'eau en Espagne, on ne peut que douter que les objectifs d'une gestion durable de la ressource aient été pris en compte.
Voici le texte de l'amendement : " Exprime son inquiétude quant aux récentes séries de propositions de gestion non durable de l'eau en Europe, tel le Plan Hydrologique National espagnol qui propose la construction de 118 nouveaux barrages et le développement d'une importante infrastructure d'irrigation. Ces propositions en effet n'abordent pas la question d'un usage et d'une gestion raisonnés de l'eau à travers des mécanismes de tarification ou d'autres moyens de sauvegarde de la ressources. "

Plus d'information sur le Plan Hydrologique National

04.10.01: A new strategy for the bulgarian danube islands will ensure the protection of natural floodplain forests

The Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the Ministry of Environment and Water adopted a Strategy for the protection and restoration of natural floodplain forests on the Bulgarian Danube islands. The strategy was developed in cooperation between the two ministries, the Danube-Carpathian Programme of WWF-International and Bulgarian environmental NGOs.
On 2 October 2001, the strategy and the new ministerial policy for sustainable management of the island forests was jointly presented to the media by Mrs. Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Mrs. Fatme Iliaz, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water, and Mr. Philip Weller, Director of the Danube Carpathian Programme of WWF-International.
The new policy for the protection of the floodplain forests on the Danube islands is a contribution of our country to the creation of the Lower Danube Green Corridor of wetlands and floodplain habitats, based on the Declaration signed in June 2000 by the Ministers of Environment of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldavia. The Lower Danube is one of the world's richest ecological regions. The floodplain forests on the Bulgarian Danube islands are unique natural habitats with essential environmental functions, supporting rare and globally threatened species of animals and plants. According to the legislation of the European Union, these habitats have to be placed under special protection.
The strategy provides for the stopping of the logging and conversion of floodplain forests to poplar plantations on the Danube islands, restoration of forests of native species in selected sites, where this is feasible and ecologically justified, as well as strengthening of the protected areas network on the islands. The strategy also envisages the implementation of measures for the mitigation of possible negative economic consequences from the reduced production of poplar timber, such as improvement of the management within the already existing poplar plantations to achieve higher profits, instead of their further extension.
The specific steps for the implementation of the strategy and their financial estimates will be elaborated in an Action Plan for the Protection and Restoration of Floodplain Forests on the Bulgarian Danube Islands, which is currently under preparation. The Action Plan will also provide a comparative economic analysis of alternative land use options on the Danube islands.
According to Mr. Weller, "the Strategy for the Protection and Restoration of Floodplain Forests on the Bulgarian Danube Islands is an impressive example of cooperation among the institutions, as well as for the leading role of the forestry sector for the sustainable management of the natural heritage of Bulgaria". WWF International welcomes Bulgaria's "Strategy for the Protection and Restoration of the Danube Islands" which provides important lessons and contributes to WWF's global strategy on forest landscape restoration.

03.10.01: New Pacific Institute Report Examines Water Flow in Colorado River Delta Region

The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security is pleased to announce the release of Missing Water: The Uses and Flows of Water in the Colorado River Delta Region.
This new study describes the fate of the millions of acre-feet of water diverted from the Colorado River at and below Imperial Dam, and the total inflows to and outflows from the Colorado River delta region more generally.
This study uses the classic hydrologic boundaries of the delta region described by Godfrey Sykes in 1937, encompassing some 3,325 square miles (8,611 km2) in the states of Arizona, Baja California, California, and Sonora, including the Imperial, Mexicali, and San Luis valleys, Yuma Project lands, and the lower Coachella Valley. The study period examines the flows and uses of water in the years 1991-1998, divided into Flood and Non-Flood years to reflect the tremendous variability of mainstem Colorado River flows.
Missing Water compiles flow data along the mainstem and along diversions within the delta region, the first time such data has been compiled for the region as a whole. The study also reports consumptive uses of water in the agricultural and urban sectors, and estimates such use by the environment. Agricultural use is also reported for the major crops in the region, both by acreage and by water use.
Missing Water may be downloaded from the Pacific Institute website at:
Hard copies of the report may be purchased by sending a check or money order for $10 ($8 for academics and non-profits) payable to the Pacific Institute. Please send to:
Pacific Institute - Missing Water 654 13th Street Oakland CA 94612
A Spanish-language version will be available shortly.
Also available online is:
MJ Cohen, C Henges-Jeck, and G Castillo-Moreno. 2001. A preliminary water balance for the Colorado River delta, 1992-1998. Journal of Arid Environments 49:35-48.
This article provides a more detailed analysis of the flows of water within the remnant portion of the delta in Mexico.

03.10.01: Ilisu/Türkei : Internationales Bündnis von Nichtregierungsorganisationen analysiert

Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung für türkischen Ilisu-Staudamm Pressemitteilung Ein internationales Bündnis aus acht Nichtregierungsorganisationen stellt heute ihre Antwort auf die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung für den türkischen Ilisu-Staudamm vor. Dieser soll mit Lieferbürgschaften abgesichert werden. Ihre Entscheidung über eine Hermesbürgschaft will die Bundesregierung von der Auswertung der Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung abhängig machen. Damit ist der Ilisu-Staudamm ein bedeutender Testfall für die neuen Hermes-Leitlinien.
Der Ilisu-Staudamm soll den Tigris kurz vor der Grenze zu Syrien und dem Irak aufstauen. Kritiker warnen seit langem, dass Tausende von Kurden und Kurdinnen vertrieben, bedeutende Kulturgüter unwiederbringlich zerstört und der Wasserkonflikt in Nahost verschärft würden. Im Juli diesen Jahres wurde nach langer Verzögerung die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung (UVP) für den Staudamm veröffentlicht. Ein Bündnis von Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NRO) hat diese einer kritischen Prüfung unterzogen.
"In weiten Passagen ist die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung oberflächlich, lückenhaft und voreingenommen". "Trotz entgegengesetzter Beteuerungen werden internationale Standards für UVPs bei weitem nicht erfüllt." Die UVP enthalte weder einen Umsiedlungsplan, noch werde das Gebiet identifiziert, das im Falle eines Dammbruchs durch einen Unfall oder kriegerischen Akt betroffen wäre. Die Prüfung von Alternativprojekten sei einseitig zugunsten der Wasserenergie verzerrt. In der Südosttürkei herrscht nach wie vor Notstandsgesetzgebung. Dessen Auswirkungen auf die Umsiedlung und den Kulturgüterschutz fänden in der UVP nicht einmal Erwähnung. "Die beschönigende Darstellung der Repressionen gegenüber der kurdischen Bevölkerung lässt Zweifel an der Unabhängigkeit der UVP aufkommen". Ein von den NRO beauftragtes Gutachten zeigt zudem, dass der Staudamm mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit den Tigris vergiften und zu großen Gesundheitsgefährdungen der Bevölkerung führen würde. Die in der UVP enthaltenen Zahlen lassen darauf schließen, dass in trockenen Jahren der Weiterfluss des Tigris in die Nachbarländer möglicherweise völlig unterbrochen wird
"Die Zeit ist reif, diesem unsinnigen Staudamm mit seinen potenziellen negativen Auswirkungen auf die regionalen Konflikte sowie auf die angespannte soziale und ökologische Situation in der Region jegliche öffentliche finanzielle Unterstützung zu verwehren". "Ministerien und Abgeordnete sollten intensiv prüfen, inwieweit sie diese UVP mit ihren massiven Unzulänglichkeiten überhaupt als Entscheidungsgrundlage für eine Bürgschaftsvergabe akzeptieren können."
Source : Medico International relayed by ERN
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03.10.01: NGOs united to denounce the project of Ilisu dam, arguing that it could be in breach of European Human Rights Act

The Ilisu Dam Campaign and seven other international groups, have released a 200-page response to the environmental impact assessment report (EIAR) on the proposed Ilisu Dam in Turkey, which itself confirmed that an ancient city will be submerged and thousands of citizens displaced, and told the Turkish Government to meet certain criteria before the project can be approved The UK government will decide whether to support the dam with US$200 million (£135 million) of export credit guarantees within the next month, based on the EIAR, public comments and expert advice. However, campaigners say they have strong reason to believe that UK support for Ilisu would be contravene the European Human Rights Act, as it would "bring about human rights violations in Turkey".
"Support from the UK for the project runs contrary to the Act regarding citizens' rights to information, receiving just treatment and on settlement," the Ilisu Dam Campaign's Kate Geary said. "The legal advice we have been given is that support by the UK Government could run contrary to Britain's obligation under the Act," she said, adding that she could not go into specific detail at this stage, in case of court action being necessary to stop the project.
Turkey also has a duty to comply : Article 8 of the Act could be breached, as being forcibly resettled is contrary to the "right to quiet enjoyment of your property," and insufficient consultation about life-changing plans would also be in breach of the Act. There are also questions surrounding the environmental impact assessment and more international rules on the environment and cultural heritage which could be contravened..
Among the findings of the response are: planners do not yet know exactly how many people will be affected and have not said where and how they will be resettled, but that previous official estimates put the number of those affected at 78,000 people, the majority of them Kurds; on resettlement issues alone, the dam would break 15 international guidelines on 75 counts; even with proposed water treatment plants, there is still a high risk that the dam will lead to the poisoning of the Tigris River, risking the health of the local population; independent analysis of the EIAR's own figures reveal that the dam threatens to cut off downstream water flows to Syria and Iraq in periods of drought; and each of the UK Government's five self-imposed conditions for supporting the dam have still to be met. The campaigners' submission to five of the governments considering support for Ilisu, including the UK, US, Italy, Switzerland and Germany,covers the resettlement, cultural heritage, hydrological, and water quality impacts of the dam; and a critique of the environmental report's analysis of alternatives to the dam. The submission also includes a plea from Southeast Turkey's Diyarbakir Bar Association to reject the dam.
"The environmental report, on which the government will base its decision, is so bad as to be embarrassing," commented Nicholas Hildyard of the Ilisu Dam Campaign. "It is contradictory, incomplete, partial and in many places wildly inaccurate. In some areas - especially those that touch on the security situation in the Ilisu region - we question whether the report has been censored by Turkish authorities. On the basis of this EIA, the UK government cannot - morally or legally- support this dam."
Source : Medico International relayed by ERN
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For more information, remarks or propositions, send us a message !.