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  • 12.11.01: "River Basin Development: A Negotiated Approach" project seeks partners
  • 08.11.01: Bombing of Afghan Hydro Plant Could Cause Disaster, says UN
  • 07.11.01: Morocco's water resources threaten by cereals output
  • 07.11.01: Hudson river cleaning itself, but still needs help
  • 05.11.01: IUCN launches new strategy - global action to improve dams
  • 05.11.01: Guyana: Army on standby as dam bursts flooding village in east
  • 05.11.01: UK rivers runs cleaner but spoiled by rubbish
  • 02.11.01: Sudan embarks on gigantic hydroelectric dam project
  • 02.11.01: Interesting new link to Eurocat Project website ("Catchment basins changes and their impact on the cost")
  • 01.11.01: Dams And Development Project Established
  • 01.11.01: US bombs hit largest Afghan dam
  • 01.11.01: Commission gives new impetus to environmental co-operation in The Danube - Black Sea region

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12.11.01: "River Basin Development: A Negotiated Approach" project seeks partners

Both ENDS and Gomukh seeks civil society groups, local authorities, and private institutions to join the project River Basin Development: A Negotiated Approach
River Basin Development: A Negotiated Approach is a three year project jointly co-ordinated by the NGO's Gomukh (India) and Both ENDS (the Netherlands) and funded by DGIS/Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overall project objective is: To develop, discuss and promote alternative - bottom-up - strategies for the restoration and development of river basin ecosystems towards sustainable livelihoods, based on participatory, negotiated decision-making and appropriate technologies.
The project distinguishes itself from other water management studies by simultaneously focusing on sustainable local livelihoods and management strategies on river basin levels. It responds to the fact that significant geographic areas, and the needs and demands of local actors are often not considered by conventional centralised river basin management practices. These conventional approaches often even cause the unsustainable use of large parts of the basin, intensifying ecological deterioration with dire consequences for the livelihood practices of communities that depend on it.
The project sets out to document and analyse six case studies of decentralised river basin management and to develop these into alternative (competitive) approaches to river basin management in rural and urban areas. These six cases will be chosen from different geographical regions to reflect the diversity of local, cultural, and political conditions, as well as river ecosystems and land use systems. The project will present approaches which can be scaled-up to the river basin level and include larger geographic areas and more complex socio-political institutions. The overall aim is to develop principles for sustainable river basin management.
Gomukh and Both ENDS seek collaboration with organisations with experience in river basin development and management and who have the capacity to develop a case study that will help us meet the challenges of this project.
The following criteria will be used to select potential project partners: . involvement in land and water initiatives which have the potential to cover a river basin . initiative is in the operative phase . actively seeking to develop strong linkages with other -local and basin level- institutions . a participatory approach, based on negotiation between different actors at local and basin level . subscribe to scientific research and analysis . the organisation has a well-developed communications strategy . can commit itself to a three-year project . willingness and ability to share regularly experiences with project partners and the overall project . interest and ability to participate actively in information exchange by attending local, national, and international meetings and conferences
What this project offers potential partners: . opportunities to exchange first hand experience and expertise . access to relevant networks and international fora . modest financial support and assistance with fund raising . an interactive, analytical framework to identify approaches and strategies . liaison with donors, multilateral agencies, research centres, and other centres of expertise
How to apply: Please respond by sending us the following information before 1st of December 2001: . contact details of your organisation (phone, fax, e-mail, and contact person) . description of the type of organisation (NGO, local government, private, research, university, etc.) . brief description of your organisation and its involvement with river basin management and development . what role your organisation can play in achieving the objectives of this project . the local, basin level and national institutional linkages that your organisation has developed through its work on land and water management

08.11.01: Bombing of Afghan Hydro Plant Could Cause Disaster, says UN

Source: International Rivers Network Berkeley, California

UN Warns of "Disaster of Tremendous Proportions" after Bombs Hit Afghan Hydro Plant Urgent need for safety assessment and remedial action
US bombs have destroyed a hydroelectric plant next to Afghanistan's largest dam, according to UN sources. The London newspaper, The Independent, reports that the dam itself does not appear to have been hit but that the loss of power has incapacitated gates regulating water discharges from the reservoir.
If long-awaited rains arrive and the dam's electric-powered gates cannot be opened there is a risk that the reservoir could overflow. This could in turn cause the dam to burst resulting in what UN officials describe as a "disaster of tremendous proportions". UN officials also fear that further air raids risk destroying the dam.
"If the dam collapses the whole Helmand valley would be flooded, risking the life of tens of thousands of people," states an internal report prepared by the UN's regional coordinator for Southern Afghanistan and made available to The Independent. "It is crucial to have the situation at the Kajaki dam/power plant assessed," says the UN report.
International Rivers Network is alarmed to learn of the situation at the Kajaki dam. "There is an urgent need for the US government to work with the international community to ensure that the safety of Kajaki dam is secured and the power supply to its gates restored," says Patrick McCully, Campaigns Coordinator for International Rivers Network. Emergency evacuation plans also need to be made for downstream communities.
The deliberate or accidental destruction of a dam, like that of a nuclear power plant, can have catastrophic consequences. Targeting dams and nuclear plants is prohibited under a 1977 Protocol to the Geneva Convention "if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population".
The Independent quotes Pakistan sources as saying that a contingent of Arab troops of Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida group had been based at a military post close to the Kajaki dam. It is not clear if they were present when the bombing took place, whether the damage to the hydroelectric plant was inflicted deliberately, or whether it was due to inaccurate targeting.
The Independent reports that the 48-year-old dam on the Helmand River is 300ft high, 900ft long, and holds back 1.85 million cubic meters of water in a 32-mile long reservoir. The dam, built by US engineers and equipped with US-built turbines, is reported to have a generating capacity of 33 megawatts.
The Kajaki dam, designed by US engineers and equipped with US-built turbines, provides irrigation water to lands supplying food for around a million people, according to the UN. If this water supply is disrupted due to the cutting of the power supply to the dam's sluice gates there will be further severe damage to the harvest in a region already threatened by food shortages.
The Independent explains that too little water from the dam now would make it impossible to plant winter wheat. Too much water released now would deplete the reservoir, causing the wheat crop to shrivel in the spring. "In addition, in the case of the long-awaited rain arriving, the dam risks bursting without a proper functioning control/regulatory mechanism in place," says the UN report. "Needless to say, the regulatory mechanism is powered by electricity."
The dam provided electricity to around 500,000 people and to several hospitals and industries. The powerlines to the city of Kandahar, 60 miles south-east, were rehabilitated by the Taliban earlier this year after being destroyed during the nation's civil war. Chinese contractors were adding a further 16.5 MW of generating capacity to the dam when the US bombing campaign began.
Kajaki dam has been at the center of a long-running diplomatic dispute between Afghanistan and Iran which lies downstream of the dam. Iran claims that the diversion of water for irrigation at Kajaki deprives a fertile Iranian farming region of water. Iranians living along the Helmand may also be at risk in the event of Kajaki dam collapsing.
Environmentalists say that the dam has contributed to the desiccation of a lake and wetlands ecosystem on the Iranian-Afghani border which provides waterfowl habitat of international significance.
IRN is a California-based environment and human rights organization which supports the rights of communities facing the impacts of destructive water projects and advocates for sustainable and equitable water and energy management.

07.11.01: Morocco's water resources threaten by cereals output

MARRAKESH, Morocco - Water resources in Morocco are expected to shrink by up to 35 percent in the next 20 years, leading to a sharp fall in cereals output, an official said yesterday.
Faouzi Senhaji of state-run National Agricultural Researches Institute (INRA) told Reuters: "This should result in a 10-50 percent fall in cereals output productivity per hectare depending on the regions where the cereals are cultivated."
Senhaji was speaking in the southern city of Marrakesh on the sidelines of U.N. talks aimed at sealing a climate change treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.
Morocco consumes an average six million tonnes of cereals each year.
"By 2020, we will be 35 million (population), requiring 8.5 million tonnes of cereals for our national consumption," he added.
Participants at the two-week conference, which started on October 29, were welcomed by a heatwave in a period which normally sees heavy rainfall.
Morocco is seeking to ensure minimum cereals production of six million tonnes per year.
But drought has hit output in the last two campaigns, resulting in total cereals output of 1.8 million and 4.5 million tonnes, respectively.

07.11.01: Hudson river cleaning itself, but still needs help

BOSTON, Massachusetts, November 7, 2001 (ENS) - Nature may be slowly scrubbing the lower portion of the Hudson River free of pollution.
Researchers have found that dangerous toxins in polluted sediments are being stirred up and gradually washed out to sea as part of the river's natural cycle.
For full text and graphics visit:

05.11.01: IUCN launches new strategy - global action to improve dams

The current IUCN Programme provides a good basis for acting proactively in support of the WCD recommendations. The IUCN Programme provides a clear mandate to make full use of the WCD report through KRA 1 (Effective management and restoration of ecosystems), KRA 2 (Institutions, agreements, processes and policies), KRA 4 (Equitable sharing of the costs and benefits), KRA 5 (Assessment of biodiversity and of related social and economic factors), and KRA 6 (Information management and communication systems). IUCN has many years of experience in ecosystem rehabilitation and participatory management and more specifically in field level activities, policy interventions, tools for equitable sharing, and species data collection and dissemination. Thus, the required expertise is available in the IUCN secretariat, especially from the global and regional Wetlands and Water Resources Programmes and within some IUCN Commissions and IUCN members.

Furthermore, the new IUCN Water and Nature Initiative provides a good framework for further work on dam issues. This Initiative aims to demonstrate how the ecosystem approach to water management should be implemented through a new portfolio of 30 projects around the world. Existing (or planned) dams (will) play a major role in the management of downstream ecosystems at many of the current and future project sites selected for the Initiative. At these sites, IUCN will play an important role in fostering implementation, adaptation and testing of the WCD recommendations by working with the main dam stakeholders, several IUCN Commissions, a large diversity of members and the secretariat.

For more information :

05.11.01: Guyana: Army on standby as dam bursts flooding village in east

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 5, 2001
Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) news agency Georgetown, Guyana, 3 November: A breech in a huge water conservatory dam in Guyana's east-coast Demerara area early on Saturday morning [3 November] has resulted in the flooding of a village of at least 8, 000 residents. Farmers have been forced to prematurely harvest some of their vegetable crops while other residents have had to rescue their livestock [by putting them] in the upper levels of their homes.
The bottom sections of many homes were flooded and neighbours have been forced to seek refuge in the upper flats or homes of nearby residents. The Guyana Defence Force on Saturday afternoon conducted an aerial inspection of the conservatory dam and affected village. A senior defence force official told CMC that the army is on standby to provide support in case the need for evacuation arises as well as to provide medical assistance if residents become affected by water-borne diseases.
A local privately owned civil engineering firm is assisting in sealing the breech. The east coast Demerara Water Conservatory is used to provide water to nearby farms and is a source of drinking water for residents in the capital, Georgetown.
Agriculture Minister Naven Chanderpaul and Local Government Minister Harry Persaud-Nokta visited the affected area early on Saturday. President Baharrat Jagdeo is scheduled to make a visit to the affected village later today (Saturday).
Source: Caribbean Media Corporation news agency, Bridgetown, in English 1929 gmt 3 Nov 01 /BBC Monitoring/ © BBC.
Monti Aguirre Latin American Campaigns International Rivers Network

05.11.01: UK rivers runs cleaner but spoiled by rubbish

ENS - Rivers and canals in England and Wales are cleaner than they have been since before the Industrial Revolution according to the latest survey by the government's Environment Agency, released today. Even so, one third of the rivers tested were rated "poor" or "bad" in their "aesthetic quality" the survey found.
For full text and graphics visit:

02.11.01: Sudan embarks on gigantic hydroelectric dam project

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - Sudan has signed a 150-million-dollar loan agreement with the United Arab Emirates-based Arab Fund for Socio-economic Development to co-finance the first phase of the Merowe Dam Project, finance minister el Zubair Ahmed Hassan said in Khartoum. Hassan said he also signed on Thursday another loan agreement with the Kuwaiti Development Fund covering 100 million dollars to co-finance phase one of the Merowe Dam Project, located 600km north of Khartoum. He said the Sudanese government would next week sign pacts with the Saudi Development Fund and the Abu Dhabi Fund whereby each will provide 150 million dollars loans, also for the first phase of the dam which would hopefully make the country self-sufficient in electric power. The first phase of the project, whose tenders have already been called in Khartoum and in London, targets the construction of the dam's concrete body. Sources at the ministry of irrigation put the dam's overall cost at 2000 million dollars, to be paid from the government's coffer and loans from foreign lending institutions. Upon completion, the dam is expected to provide 1000-1500 megawatts of electricity. Sudan's current power production is estimated at 500 megawatts drawn from two hydroelectric power stations and several thermal stations. Abdulhameed el Naglai, who signed for the Arab Fund for Socio-Economic Development, said electric power to be generated from the dam "will constitute a U-turn in the life of Sudanese".

02.11.01: Interesting new link to Eurocat Project website ("Catchment basins changes and their impact on the cost")

The overall goal of the EUROCAT project is the achievement of an integrated catchment management and sustainable use of water resources at a catchment scale. The project aims to integrate natural and social science to link the impacts affecting the coastal sea to the human activities developed along the catchments. Using the unifying framework of Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR), the response of the coastal zone to changing material fluxes is connected back to the individual socio-economic drivers at the catchment scale. The results of the study will then be useful to develop better management solutions and strategies in some of the main river basins in Europe.
The pressures affecting catchment-coastal zone systems vary across Europe because of differences in geography as well as in economic and social conditions. In order to identify these differences and their relevancefor a better management strategy at the catchment level, the EUROCAT regional studies focus on three coastal seas (Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, North Sea) and six associated catchments characterised by relevant environmental and management issues (Vistula River, Elbe River, Rhine River, Humber River, Po River and Axios River).

01.11.01: Dams And Development Project Established

Support for national and local multi-stakeholder dialogue to address the issues raised by the World Commission on Dams
On 1 November 2001, the Dams and Development Project (DDP) started operation. The DDP promotes and supports inclusive and informed multi-stakeholder dialogue on the issues raised by the World Commission on Dams report at local, national and global levels to achieve sustainable development in the water and energy sectors. It is a project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation .

The objectives of the DDP are to:
· support the widespread dissemination of the WCD report and related products;
· support country-level, regional and global dialogues on the report and the issues it addresses;
· strengthen interaction and networking among participants in the dams debate with the aim of engaging all stakeholders in the dialogue; and
· facilitate the flow of information and advice concerning initiatives relevant to the WCD report.

The DDP website, is under construction and should be up and running by 10 November. It will include dissemination material, national and local reactions to the report, follow-on developments within various regions and institutions, and specific examples of emerging good practice. The existing WCD site, will be kept running for several years as a record of the work of the World Commission on Dams.

Steering Committee membership (as of 31 October 2001) :

Category, Organisation, Representative:

Multilateral agencies, World Bank, A. Palmieri
International NGO, IUCN, G. Bergkamp
Government (policy level), National Water Agency, Brazil,B. Braga
Government (project/basin level), Lesotho Highlands Development Project, R. Mochebelele
International NGO (advocacy), International Rivers Network, P. McCully
Affected peoples organisation, Narmada Bachao Andolan, India, S. Dharmadhikary
Industry/private sector, Montgomery Watson Harza, R. Abdel-Malek
Indigenous peoples,Tebtebba Foundation, Philippines , J. Carino
Bilateral agencies, BMZ, Germany, M. Konukiewitz
Host organisation ,UNEP ,D. Kaniaru

Categories for which a nomination process has been initiated:
Utilities, owners, operators
Professional associations (international)
Research organisations
Organisations working on options

Contact :
Tel: 21-426 4000
Fax: 21-426 0036

01.11.01: US bombs hit largest Afghan dam

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 1, 2001
US warplanes on Wednesday evening bombed the Kajaki dam and power station, in southwestern Helmand Province, Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency reported on Thursday.
A Taleban spokesman, Mola Amir Khan Motaqi, was quoted as saying the bombing inflicted heavy damage on the dam and cut off the electricity supply.
"Water has not started to gush out yet, but if it starts to flow thousands of people will face the threat of death," he added.
According to Motaqi, the Kajaki dam is the largest in Afghanistan, generating 150,000 kW/h of electricity. It has a storage capacity of 2-3bn cubic metres, occupies 150,000 ha of land and supplies 75,000 families with water, including their crops and animals.
The spokesman warned that if more bombs were dropped on the dam, thousands of people would lose their lives and a large area would be damaged, the agency added.
Source: Afghan Islamic Press news agency, Peshawar, in Pashto 0812 gmt 1 Nov 01
See also

01.11.01: The European Commission today adopted a Communication on environmental co-operation in the Danube - Black Sea Region.

The Communication gives an overview of the present environmental situation and co-operation in the Danube - Black Sea region and highlights the priority actions that are needed to improve the state of the environment of the region. The Communication calls for an increased involvement of the EU and its Member States in environmental co-operation with the region, including the co-ordinated action by all relevant sources of Community financial assistance. This will be a key element for the long-term stability and prosperity of the Danube - Black Sea region.
In environmental and health terms, the Danube - Black Sea region suffers from very acute problems. The Danube is subject to increasing pressure affecting the supply of drinking water, irrigation, industry, fishing, tourism, power generation and navigation. All too often it is also the final destination of wastewater disposal.
These intensive uses have created severe problems of water quality and quantity and drastically reduced biodiversity in the basin. EU's Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström says: "The popular image of the "Blue" Danube is sadly inaccurate. The Danube today is heavily affected by pollution from agriculture, industry and cities. The pollution ends up in the Black Sea and affects a very large area. This is why the EU is taking the initiative to make the countries of the region work closer together and to step up its own involvement in remedying the situation"
The Commission Communication describes the long-term and intermediate goals for the environmental rehabilitation of the region. The main aim is to reduce the nutrient discharges entering the Black Sea in order to allow the sea to recover. The Communication also underlines the important objectives of the EC Water Framework Directive: the application of a River Basin approach, which is the natural geographical and hydrological unit, rather than according to administrative or political boundaries, can assist the countries of the region in their efforts.
Co-operation crucial The Danube - Black Sea region constitutes an axis of increasing geo-political importance in the enlarging European Union. The environmental degradation of the Danube and Black Sea region requires urgent attention and has to be tackled through a joint effort, conducted at regional level. Only this way will it be possible to promote and then secure the sustainable development of the region.
The institutional framework for environmental regional co-operation in the Danube - Black Sea Region already exists (see Background), but the co-ordination of the different initiatives and their implementation lag behind. It is therefore necessary to improve the efficiency of the assistance to the existing regional environmental structures and to the individual countries of the Region.The European Community should take a more pro-active role and become the driving force in this much-required co-ordinated assistance. The Commission proposes the establishment of a Task Force (The DABLAS Task Force), with the aim of creating a platform for co-operation. Apart from the countries of the Region, the Task Force would consist of the European Commission, interested EU Member States, the international financing institutions and bilateral donors.
EU assists The Communication stresses the long-term goal of reducing the levels of nutrient and other hazardous substances in order to allow the ecosystems of the region to recover and lists several ways in which the European Commission will strive for better co-ordinated assistance to the Danube and the Black Sea region.
While already providing important technical and financial support to the regional environmental projects - since 1990 the EU has provided more than ? 40 million for technical assistance in the Danube and ? 10 million for the Black Sea - The European Commission will further improve the coherence and co-ordination of this assistance.
It will also ensure that, in the future, all relevant EC funded projects in the Danube and Black Sea Region take into account the priorities set out in the Danube and Black Sea Strategic Environmental Action Plans. Furthermore the European Commission will explore and pursue the possibility of extending LIFE Third Countries, a Commission funding programme dedicated to environmental projects in third countries, to include all countries of the region. It wants to make sure that other policy areas, such as research or agriculture, contribute to the overall goal of environmental protection in the region.
T he Commission calls on the EU Member States to include the Danube and Black Sea Region in their priorities for bilateral support. It will work actively to increase investments by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and bilateral donors in the region.
In the last decade national and international environmental initiatives have tried to remedy the environmental degradation of the Danube and the Black Sea. Different instruments for environmental co-operation have been set up in the region, namely the Danube River Protection Convention (DRPC) and the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (Black Sea Convention).
Under the two conventions, environment programmes have been drawn up defining strategies and identifying hot spots for which investment interventions were needed to address transboundary concerns. However, so far there has been limited investment in the priority projects identified in the two frameworks and the actions and initiatives undertaken have, until now, proved to be insufficient to reverse the environmental degradation and health problems in the region.
SOURCE: European Water Management - News


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