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20.08.02: Pollution fears as floods continue

Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 06:32 GMT 07:32 UK

Germany fears chemicals will be washed into the Elbe.
Fears are growing that dangerous toxins may be seeping from a Czech chemical plant and washing north through Germany in the waters of the swollen River Elbe.
German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin is to visit the Spolana plant, 15 kilometres north of Prague, on Tuesday to seek information on the alleged leak of dioxins and mercury from facilities still under water.
Towns and villages along the German stretch of the river remain on a state of alert with thousands of people evacuated.

But the city of Magdeburg escaped the worst when waters peaked there overnight but did not breach the sandbag defences erected by volunteers.
The Czech authorities say there is no risk of an environmental catastrophe at the Spolana plant but admit that the situation is serious.
A cloud of deadly chlorine gas was released when the plant was swamped by the floods last week but it is believed to have been too small to have posed a threat.
Flood funds
The number of people killed in Germany has now reached 18 while across Europe more than 100 have perished in the floods.
The authorities are preparing for more destruction, as the floods - which have already devastated Prague and Dresden - head towards the North Sea.

As waters recede in the south, the damage becomes clear

In the state of Lower Saxony, initial evacuations in several towns are under way. In the town of Luechow-Dannenberg water levels have risen by 60 centimetres (23.6 inches) in the last 24 hours.
Four million Germans have already been affected, forcing well over 100,000 to flee their homes.
The German Government decided on Monday to delay for a year planned tax cuts to finance the cost of clean-up operations.
Spokesman Joerg Mueller said the decision would allow about 7.5 billion euros ($7.3bn) to be released.
European Commission President Romano Prodi has already promised EU aid for the four countries - Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - worst affected by the disaster.
Desperate efforts
In the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany, seven dykes burst around the town of Wittenberg alone, sending waters pouring into several villages.
At the nearby town of Prettin, a 200-metre (656 foot) stretch of dam was reported to have crumbled.
But the situation eased overnight as waters began to drop.
Upstream, the city of Magdeburg - home to more than 200,000 people - has woken to the news that the surge in waters hit the city in the early hours of the morning and that levels have begun to recede.
The waters peaked at 6.7 metres (22 feet), 20 centimetres (7.9 inches) below the sandbag dykes protecting the city.
In Dresden, the 30,000 people evacuated at the height of the floods are being allowed to return to all but one part of the city.
But there are warnings that ground water rising from beneath houses could still destabilise the foundations of many buildings.
Health fears
In the Czech Republic, the authorities have warned that debris left by the floods is a health risk.
There are fears that the summer heat will accelerate the decay of sewage and carcasses left by the receding waters.
Many sewage treatment plants in Prague were forced to halt operations and fears of disease and structural damage to buildings have kept many residents from returning to their homes.

Source: BBC News

19.08.02: European Floods Sweep North and East

Associated Press Writer
August 19, 2002, 7:58 AM EDT

BERLIN -- Flooding spread through eastern Germany on Monday, threatening to add to the misery of tens of thousands forced from their homes as the country faced its biggest relief effort since World War II.In Hungary, the Danube River peaked at a historic high in Budapest without causing major flooding after relief workers spent a frantic night bolstering dikes. The capital's high flood walls, built at the turn of the last century, held off the floodwater in the city center, though one barrier gave way in a northern suburb.
Europe is wrestling with the aftermath of violent storms that swept the continent two weeks ago. German authorities reported three more deaths Monday, bringing the Europewide toll to at least 109.
Forecasters predicted generally dry weather for Austria and Germany over the next few days, with scattered showers over western Hungary. No abundant rainfall was expected.
The floodwater has ebbed in Austria and the Czech Republic and begun to fall in Dresden, the biggest German city hit so far, allowing the start of a massive cleanup and rebuilding operation expected to cost some $20 billion Europe-wide.
Under sunny summer skies Monday, thousands of emergency workers, soldiers and volunteers were working round the clock to pile tons of sandbags onto sodden dikes along Germany's Elbe and Mulde rivers to protect smaller towns.
Sweeping toward the North Sea from the hills on the Czech border after record rainfall, the Elbe forced workers to retreat after bursting its banks in seven places Sunday near Wittenberg, the town where Martin Luther launched the Reformation in 1517. But officials said the old town was not under immediate threat.
Rescuers used boats and ropes to bring several people trapped in their homes to safety and were scouring nearby villages in the darkness to ensure everyone had been evacuated.
High water also threatened the city of Dessau, best known for its Bauhaus architecture school. Helicopters dumped sand on the dikes to strengthen them.
More than 80,000 people have been evacuated across the region. A government relief agency, the Technical Aid Service, said Monday that sand bags were running short. Denmark shipped 650,000 sandbags to Germany to help, and Italy, France, the Netherlands and other countries have also offered to help, the agency said.
In Bitterfeld, workers shored up dikes on the Mulde about a mile from one Europe's largest chemical industry complexes, grouping 350 companies.
Authorities played down concern that the chemical plants could be overwhelmed and release toxins into the water that has covered part of the town since Saturday.
In Dresden, where expensively restored monuments such as the Semper Opera and Zwinger Palace museum were partly flooded, officials said some residents may be allowed to return home on Sunday.
Further north, the city of Magdeburg began to move people out as the Elbe's crest surged toward the North Sea. The river is expected to threaten there in the next few days.
As the Danube River surged to a historic high around Budapest, authorities evacuated about 2,000 people in the area on Sunday. But they said the city would not see the devastation that befell other countries because of 33-foot-high walls running along the river banks throughout much of the city.
The river peaked at a height of 28.3 feet in Budapest early Monday, a touch over the previous record set in 1965, then began falling, said Tibor Dobson, a spokesman for Hungary's national disaster relief office.
"Our main concern now is to ensure that waste from the city's sewers does not cause any problems or enter the water supply," Dobson said.
Most evacuated towns lie north of Budapest. A few areas in the southern part of the capital also were evacuated -- areas where the flood walls don't rise as high as in the city center.
The government postponed an annual fireworks ceremony scheduled for Aug. 20, or St. Stephen's Day, which commemorates the king who founded Hungary 1,000 years ago.
"It would be unbecoming to celebrate with fireworks in a situation where tens of thousands are working on the dams," Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy said after the meeting.

Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press

17.08.02: European governments urged to adopt five-point plan against flooding (WWF)

Gland, Switzerland - On the eve of a summit on the floods hosted by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin with the expected presence of the premiers of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as European Union Commission President Romano Prodi, WWF is calling on the European leaders to adopt a five-point plan to minimize the impact of future flooding. WWF believes that cross-border rivers need to be managed cooperatively by all the countries in each river catchment to reduce the impacts of floods and maximise river health and clean water supplies. The conservation organization urges the European leaders to adopt the following measures:
1. Set a timeline at the World Summit for countries that share each transboundary river to cooperate to manage floods, water supplies and environmental health. 2. Allocate funds to accelerate implementation of the European Union's Water Framework Directive that requires European countries to sustainably manage their rivers. 3. Accelerate implementation of the agreements reached at the Danube Heads of State Summit in Bucharest in April 2001. 4. Allocate funds to restore functioning floodplains in the upper reaches of Europe's rivers, thus giving the rivers room to hold floodwaters naturally and safely. 5. Adopt a target to source 10 percent of energy from new renewable sources by 2010 at the World Summit, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, which appears to be exacerbating flooding globally. "We expect European governments to lead efforts to re-establish a target for cooperative management of each of the world's trans-national rivers at this month's World Summit on Sustainable Development," said Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF's Living Water Programme. "It is disgraceful that the world's governments axed a draft agreement to better manage transboundary rivers at the Summit's preparatory meeting in Bali in June." Flood damage is exacerbated when rivers are put in narrow straight-jackets of dams and dykes. According to the conservation organization, the European governments have previously agreed to work with nature rather than fighting these rivers, but have been too slow to implement action on the ground. On the Danube, Elbe and other rivers, WWF and our partners have started working with nature to restore floodplain areas to give rivers room to flood without damaging towns and cities. "Floods will be reduced if European governments cooperate to restore floodplains to give rivers room," Jamie Pittock added.
For further information: Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF International's Living Water Programme, tel.: +31 629 09 18 41 Olivier van Bogaert, Press Office, WWF International, tel.: +41 79 477 35 72

16.08.02: Record floods sweep Dresden

Higher water levels than the 1845 flood

The Elbe river in Germany has risen to levels never seen before, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes in the south-eastern city of Dresden.
Authorities are at a loss as to how to handle the mass of water, which broke the 157-year record high in the early hours of the morning, and continues to rise by about four centimetres (1.6 inches) per hour.
The waters are rising inexorably in Dresden

Only two bridges remain open in the city, and efforts to save historic buildings have been abandoned as emergency services concentrate on getting people out of the danger zone.
Evacuations also took place overnight in Dessau, Bitterfeld and Muehlberg, and other cities further downstream are braced for the surge of water heads their way from the Czech Republic.
Flood levels are slowly receding in the Czech capital Prague, but many areas are still too dangerous to allow people to return home.
Floodwaters in central Europe have killed about 100 people from Russia's Black Sea to Austria, destroying billions of dollars worth of property, infrastructure and crops.


In Dresden, the waters rose above the 1845 record high of 8.77 metres (28.8 feet) in the early hours of the morning and are now reported to have reached nine metres (29.5 feet).
The city's contingency plans were drawn up with maximum levels of 8.17 metres (26.8 feet) in mind and the authorities do not know how to handle such quantities of water.
Further rains overnight have only worsened the crisis.
Emergency teams tried in vain to protect the Semper Opera House and the Zwinger Gallery from a second inundation, but abandoned their efforts in the early hours.
Water flooded into the buildings' basements earlier this week, sparking a frantic effort to rescue precious artworks.

'National catastrophe'

About 10,000 people were evacuated from Dresden overnight, leaving parts of the city completely abandoned, the Interior Ministry for the Saxony region said.
Across the region, almost 30,000 people have been moved from their homes since the flooding began.
The army is building a tent city to accommodate them and military helicopters delivered bread to cut-off residents.
The evacuation of another 30,000 people from the towns of Pirna and Heidenau is also being prepared. Across the region nine people have been killed in the floods.
Many of Prague's landmarks are still submerged
Downstream, Magdeburg, Brandenburg and even Hamburg on the North Sea coast are braced for the onslaught of the floods.
The federal government made 100m euros available for the stricken regions on Friday - just the first tranche of what is expected to be a huge bill for the effects of the floods.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has described the situation as a national catastrophe, saying four million people have been affected.
The BBC's James Coomerasamy in Dresden says that with elections being held in September, it is important that Mr Schroeder is seen to unblock funds to the disaster zones quickly.

Czech collapse

In Prague, the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, will see for himself the devastation caused to the Czech capital.
The EU has said it will try to provide aid to the country's battered by the floods.
Prague authorities are turning back many people who are trying to return home to districts of the city which remain badly flooded.
In one residential area, a building collapsed and many others remain in a precarious condition.
In neighbouring Slovakia, the river Danube is still rising in the capital Bratislava and is expected to peak in the coming hours.
Emergency services say they do not expect the water to rise too high for them to cope, and the kind of floods that Czechs and Germans have suffered are not anticipated.
The Danube has already wrought havoc in Austria and southern Bavaria, where some cleaning-up efforts have already begun as the waters recede.

Source: BBC news

15.08.02 : Elbe Vulnerable as Czech Chemical Factory Floods

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, August 15, 2002 - Floods have inundated two dioxin contaminated buildings at the Spolana chemical factory outside Prague, creating the potential for hazardous chemicals to wash into the Elbe River, a Greenpeace observation team said today. Ninety percent of the company sites are under water and the mercury contaminated area has been flooded since yesterday. This afternoon a chlorine cloud at the factory forced local residents to seek safety indoors. The Greenpeace team had earlier observed smoke coming from the the factory site. Overnight a small explosion occurred inside the factory.
more Information on ENS Website

13.08.02: Dams Strain to Hold Back Danube

Associated Press Writer
August 13, 2002, 9:31 AM EDT

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The Vltava River spilled its banks and threatened medieval archetectural treasures in the Czech capital Tuesday, as the prime minister declared a state of emergency and thousands of Prague residents fled to higher ground. Floods roared through many European cities after near-record summer rains.
About 1,200 soldiers were deployed to the historic capital as Mayor Igor Nemec ordered 40,000 residents of low-lying parts of the city to leave their homes because of Prague's worst flooding since 1954.
More than a dozen bridges were destroyed or declared impassable, and emergency workers cleared hundreds of spectators gathered on bridges to watch the rising waters.
Water engulfed the historic Kampa island, flooding Hapsburg-era palaces and villas. The island is Prague's old town, but is somewhat separate from the main square, where the city's architectural gems have escaped flooding for decades.
At least seven Czechs have died in 10 days of flooding. Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla declared a state of emergency in Prague and the regions of South Bohemia, Central Bohemia, Plzen and Karlovy Vary.
Stores and offices shut down after losing power by mid-afternoon. Hundreds hurried through the streets, rushing to get home before all transportation links were shut down. Subway passengers were told in Czech and English not to return to flooded areas.
"It's bad," Jiri Zboril, a 41-year-old bookstore owner, said as he moved volumes to the upper floors of his building. "We're in one of the lowest places of Prague."
Sandbags protected the entrance to his building and hundreds of others in downtown Prague.
Workers moved books and important documents to higher floors in the National Library and the Senate, and some zoo animals were taken to higher ground.
Across much of Europe, the heavy rains unleashed some of the worst flooding in decades. The death toll rose to at least 76, including at least 58 deaths in Russia, where thousands of Russian tourists vacationing on the Black Sea were ambushed by flood waters that swept cars and tents out to sea.
As many as 4,000 tourists were still trapped in Shirokaya Balka, a scenic coastal village that was devastated by the flooding, the Interfax news agency reported.
The flooding also has killed four people and damaged thousands of homes in Romania.
In Austria, rain fell in wind-whipped sheets overnight in Vienna, bringing dams in villages west of the Austrian capital to their breaking point. Firefighters frantically stacked sandbags Tuesday to shore up those weakening dams.
However, the menacing dark brown Danube punched through dams in the town of Ybbs in Lower Austria province, and emergency workers in hip boots gingerly waded along railroad tracks, pulling out debris.
More than 1,000 buildings in Salzburg were under water, Austrian radio reported.
In Germany, where firefighters and soldiers were stacking sandbags to reinforce strained river banks, a 71-year-old man drowned Monday night in flooding in Dresden, and German authorities said two others adults and a child were missing after being swept away by a cascade of mud and water.
Four other people also were reported missing in Saxony state, where floodwaters lapped at the sides of the renowned Semper Oper opera house and flooded part of the main train station. Authorities said they evacuated a hospital with 620 patients overnight and were poised to clear another if the Elbe River rises further.
Up to 10,000 people were being evacuated across the state as the Elbe rose 23 feet above normal.
Numerous dams were in danger of breaking in towns along the Danube near Passau, a city on the Austrian border whose old town was completely submerged early Tuesday.
The floods claimed their fourth casualty in Austria on Tuesday. A 61-year-old firefighter drowned after his car skidded off a road into a flooded field and sank in Upper Austria province. The flood claimed three victims on Monday, including a 48-year-old man crushed in a landslide near the village of Kirchheim in Upper Austria.
"The scene is catastrophic," Wilfried Weissgaerber, the national fire brigade commander for the neighboring province of Lower Austria, told Austrian radio as he described collapsed houses and washed-out railway tracks.
More than 3,000 firefighters aided by thousands of soldiers were involved in rescue and salvage operations. Many were deployed in Lower Austria, where the Kamp River spilled over, causing the worst flooding since records began being kept in 1896. In Upper Austria, about 48 stranded motorists were rescued from their cars overnight near the western city of Linz.
In the Upper Austria town of Grein, the Danube rose to 43 feet early Tuesday -- twice as high as normal.
Shipping on the Danube was halted Monday because of the river's rapid rise, Austria's navigation authority said. Nationwide, hundreds of people were homeless, numerous highways were under water and mail delivery was seriously hampered by the flooding.
About 50 miles of train tracks were under water Tuesday in Austria, causing headaches for travelers and freight haulers, the national railway said.
Officials in Upper Austria urged companies not to fire employees who could not make it to work.
"Employees can't be expected to swim to work," the provincial chamber of commerce said.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press

12.08.02: Russian Flood Death Toll Reaches 58

Associated Press Writer

August 12, 2002, 4:46 AM EDT

MOSCOW -- Giant cranes hoisted ruined cars and other debris out of the Black Sea on Monday, as the death toll from torrential flooding that hit the Russian resort region rose to 58.
Cleanup crews, working under sunny skies, scoured the normally crowded coastal beaches, searching for more bodies among the wreckage, said Irina Andriyanova, spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow. She said that 44,000 square feet of coastline had been inspected.
Russia suffered most from the floodwaters that swept across Europe this past week, killing a total of 68 people, destroying homes and washing away roads and bridges.
Thousands of Russian tourists who had descended on the Black Sea Coast for their summer vacations were caught up in the surprise flooding. Many remain stranded, their cars swept out to sea by a wall of water that came rushing down from the mountains.
The Interfax news agency reported that as many as 4,000 tourists were still trapped in Shirokaya Balka, a scenic coastal village that was devastated by the flooding.
Ivan Aristov, deputy chief of the administration of the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, said that all would be offered the chance to return home. But Russia's NTV reported Monday that many tourists were choosing to stay, saying that they had already paid for their vacations.
In Germany, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg states both declared emergencies as weekend rains washed out roads, caused landslides and flooded homes.
Worst hit was the southeastern portion of Baden-Wuerttemberg. In the city of Reutlingen, south of Stuttgart, roads and buildings were completely under water, causing electrical systems to short-circuit and spark fires.
In the southern Bavarian town of Moosach, residents had to be evacuated from their homes by boat, and in nearby Glonn, water was as high as the windows of many houses.
The only storm-related fatality, however, was reported in Lower Saxony when a 31-year-old man was killed when he lost control of the Red Cross van he was driving and hit a tree.
In Austria, a dam burst Sunday night in the town of Zwettl, submerging 50 to 60 houses, the Austria Press Agency reported. Homeowners were frantically piling sandbags to protect threatened houses and businesses.
Elsewhere in the province of Lower Austria, an afternoon deluge raised water levels in the Kamp River by 5 feet, Austrian radio reported. The river was rising so quickly that authorities were considering evacuating thousands of homeowners.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press

09.08.02 : Four feared dead in Czech floods, 2,000 evacuated

CZECH REPUBLIC: August 9, 2002 CESKE BUDEJOVICE, Czech Republic
Flooding in the south of the Czech Republic killed several people and forced over 2,000 others to evacuate their homes on Thursday after heavy rains swelled rivers in the region. The rising water, which disrupted railway routes and electricity in some areas, was slowly moving north on the Vltava river toward the central European country's capital Prague, as the tide forced dams on the river to open their gates.
more informations on Planet Ark (Reuters)


Experts are scratching their heads in concern and confusion over what has happened to Rome's Tiber river where tons of dead fish have floated to the surface and algae have spread like the plague. Environmentalists say the
phenomenon may have wiped out two-thirds of the fauna in a five-kilometre (three-mile) stretch of the river that runs through the heart of the city.Tonnes of dead fish have floated to the surface since July 15, leaving a stench hanging over the city centre. Even eels, the Tiber's hardiest denizens, have leapt onto the banks to escape the water. "It's an apocalypse, I've never seen anything like it," said Carmen Di Penta, director of Marevivo, an environmental group that has monitored the Tiber for 12 years.
More at
Source: Reuters News / Planet Ark

02.08.02 : "The Politics of Restoring American Rivers," forthcoming book
In his forthcoming book, "The Politics of Restoring American Rivers," William Lowry explores the increased willingness of US policymakers to consider new approaches to river management. These include the removal of dams on the Neuse and Kennebec rivers, the failed attempt to restore salmon runs on the Snake, the ongoing effort to simulate seasonal flows on the Colorado, and the long debate over how to manage the Missouri River to provide more natural conditions. As US Senator Byron Dorgan noted in a July statement, the Army Corps of Engineers manages the Missouri River using a master plan originally published in 1962, which is based on assumptions that do not reflect the current conditions in the Missouri River Basin "Navigation interests yield about $7 million in economic benefits annually, while the recreation and tourism benefits yield about $80 million annually," Dorgan said. "Recreation and tourism are increasing, while barge traffic continues to decline." Dorgan called for the Bush Administration to stop its delay tactics and get on with issuing the master plan.
For an online version of this news release, with pictures, please visit:
Additional background on Lowry and his research is available at his homepage:

(AScribe Newswire, "Expert on Politics of American Rivers Discusses July 10 U.S. Senate Hearings on Missouri River," 12 July 2002.) via IRN

01.08.02 : "Watershed: the Undamming of America" a book review "Watershed: the Undamming of America," by Elizabeth Grossman explores restoration of America's rivers by removing dams.
Although none of the more than a dozen dams examined in the book are in Utah, one does impact the state: Lake Powell's Glen Canyon Dam. One of the book's 11 chapters is given over entirely to the Colorado River and the Glen Canyon Dam -- a picture of which is featured on the cover. If Grossman's facts are correct, this water blockade may be wasting more water than it saves. Grossman writes that the Navajo sandstone around the lake bed is like a sponge, and that one estimate is the water lost to seepage may be enough to supply Los Angeles for a year. "America has spent most of its first two centuries turning its rivers into highways, ditches and power plants. Now, slowly, we are relearning what a river is and how to live with one," Grossman writes. "With dams, we have tried to mold rivers to suit human purposes. We are learning -- at great cost -- that rivers don't work that way. Rivers reach farther and last longer than perhaps we can imagine."
Elizabeth Grossman will read from her book at the Ecology Center in Berkeley (2530 San Pablo Avenue) on September 17 at 7pm.
For more information, contact The Berkeley Ecology Center at 510.548.2220 ext. 233.
For more information about the book, contact Cary Goldstein at Counterpoint Press at 212-340-8151 or at Learn more about campaigns to restore Glen Canyon, visit Living Rivers' campaign at, and the Glen Canyon Institute at (Arave, Lynn, "Author urges removing dams to restore rivers," The Deseret News, 12 July 2002.) Source IRN

29.07.02 : La société publique "TRASAGUA" remet son mémoire sur le transfert de l'Ebre aux administrations affectées par le projet : 600 millions d'euros supplémentaires.
La société d'Etat des Infrastructures du Transvasement (TRASAGUA), créée pour réaliser le transfert de l'Ebre jusqu'au Levant, a terminé son mémoire sur le projet et le remettra aux administrations et aux experts pour être analysé courant septembre. Elle élaborera ensuite l'Etude d'Impact.
Le coût initial des ouvrages de 3 700 millions d'euros a été revu à la hausse : le transvasement de l'Ebre coûterait 600 millions d'euros supplémentaires.
Le document présente plusieurs tracés, sans définir un choix précis, comme le demande la loi afin d'ouvrir le champ aux alternatives possibles. Quelque soit l'option choisie, il faudra prévoir de l'énergie électrique pour pomper l'eau de l'Ebre de 10m à la prise d'eau jusqu'à 145m de haut et plus.
Le transfert se divise en deux branches distinctes : une section d'une longueur de 162 km qui remonte au nord, en direction de Barcelone, une autre section d'une longueur de 750 km qui descend au sud de l'Espagne, jusqu'à Almeria.Soit au total 912 km de conduites, dont 480 km seront nouvellement construites.
Le débit du canal de Xerta (Xerta étant la prise d'eau sur l'Ebre la plus probable) serait relévé de 19 m3/s à 50 m3/s.

29.07.02 : Le Ministère de l'Environnement Espagnol a remis sa réponse aux questions posées par la Commission Européenne sur le PHN.
Par un document de 137 pages et 17 annexes, le Ministre de l'Environnement espagnol maintient que le transfert de l'Ebre est viable, malgré le changement climatique et même si les barrages prévus dans le Pacte de l'Eau de l'Aragon n'étaient pas construits. Ce Pacte de l'Eau avait été adopté en 1992 à l'unanimité par les groupes parlementaires régionaux et comporte une liste exhaustive d'ouvrages hydrauliques, dont la plupart étaient prévus depuis le début du siècle dernier. Le Gouvernement espagnol avait inclus le Pacte dans la Loi du PHN avec la garantie que le transfert de l'Ebre ne pouvait être entrepris sans que les ouvrages du Pacte ne soient commencés.
Il semble que maintenant le Ministère de l'Environnement espagnol souhaite délier le Pacte de l'Eau du transfert de l'Ebro car, selon lui, le Pacte de l'Eau n'aurait besoin d'aucune réglementation supplémentaire, les retenues qui doivent être construites en Aragon étant comprises dans le plan de bassin de l'Ebre afin de satisfaire exclusivement les besoins propres de ce bassin.
Au sujet du changement climatique, le Ministère de l'Environnement espagnol a remis à la Commission Européenne une étude pluviométrique et assure que les prévisions sur les débits de l'Ebre ont été élaborées selon l'hypothèse la plus défavorable, en prenant compte d'un doublement du CO2 dans l'atmosphère.
En ce qui concerne le mélange des eaux des différents bassins, une étude du Ministère de l'Environnement démontrerait qu'il n'existe pas de grandes différences entre le bassin cédant et les bassins récepteurs, et qu'en de nombreux cas, "le mélange est favorable pour les zones réceptrices".

An international forum for the exchange of experiences, research works and information on the conservation and rehabilitation of dams. Topics: --preparatory work and regular maintenance, --improved dam capacity and functioning of drainage system, --Improved stability and impermeability For more information, visit

15.07.02 : DECLARATION OF POSADAS (expressed as the conclusion of the Third Meeting of the Latin American Network against Dams and for Rivers,their Communities, and Water, held in Posadas, Misiones province,(Argentina) on 11, 12 and 13 July, 2002

Mega dams, a history of destruction which repeats itself The organizations participating in the Third Meeting of the Latin America Network against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities and Water (organizations of indigenous peoples, traditional communities, small farmers, fisherfolk, labor unions, environmentalists, human rights groups, alternative development organizations, confesionales) held in Posadas, Misiones province, (Argentina) on 11, 12 and 13 July, 2002, following an intense discussion regarding the anti-dam movement, the economic and energy model in effect in the region, the international financial institutions and their role in the construction of megaprojects, the conditions for sustainability, and regarding legal and institutional tools which may be used in defense of the rights of communities and peoples, assembled in plenary session, hereby declare:
1) Dams are an instrument in the serious process of loss of sovereignty by communities and nations and in the appropriation of the wealth of peoples, which accumulates illegally and illegitimately in the centers of political and economic power.
2) Dams constitute an open door to the militarization of their zones of influence, under the pretext of threats to security.
3) Mega dams have caused serious damages to ecosystems, to national economies, and to the means of life and health of local communities, generating enormous additional costs which have been assumed by the affected communities and by the national states, without incorporating the true costs of these unsustainable projects. Based upon these facts, we hereby resolve:
1) To strengthen the process of constructing the Latinamerican Network against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities, and Water.
2) To repudiate and to denounce the systematic violence against leaders of organizations of dam-affected people and their family members; the death of hundreds of activists of the anti-dam movement and of members of affected communities; the persecution against civil society organizations which fight against dams in Latin America; to be in solidarity with the victims of this persecution and their family members; to demand of governments total clarification of the crimes committed and to hold them responsible for complete guarantees for the defense of fundamental human rights which have been violated.
3) To demand absolute respect for the NO to the construction of the binational Corpus dam, as expressed in the plebiscite of 1996 in the province of Misiones, Argentina; and inviting the peoples of the province, and of all of Argentina and Paraguay to struggle to have this legally binding decision respected, ratifying the democratic decision of the great majority of the citizens of Missiones, to reject any such project on the upper Paraná River; to demand an investigation regarding the legality of using funds of the Binational Yacyretá Entity (EBY) to finance and to carry out the feasibility studies for Corpus, and to hold those responsible for corresponding crimes.
4) To petition the parliaments of the republics of Argentina and Paraguay, to abrogate the international documents by which agreements were reached to build Corpus dam.
5) To support the campaign "NO more damages at Yacyretá", demanding that the reservoir level remain definitively at cota 76 m. Above sea level, so that neither the population nor the environment suffer more irreparable damages; and that all economic, social, and environmental damages caused by the dam and by the reservoir at this level be restored; that cost overruns in the construction of the dam be investigated as well as irregularities in the application of funds destined for its construction, as well as the current situation regarding management of the reservoir at 76 meters and the destiny of the additional energy being produced, with the joint intervention of the General Accounting Offices of Argentina and Paraguay; and that the benefits produced by the sale of electricity be redirected toward programs of sustainable development for the region.
6) To totally support the inspection panel case presented by groups of people affected by Yacyretá dam from Itapúa and Misiones (Paraguay) to the World Bank Inspection Panel and the Interamerican Development Bank's Independent Investigation Mechanism, on all points raised, which are only a part of the un-compensated losses caused by the Yacyretá Binational Entity (EBY), whose handling of the project violates the policies of both International Financial Institutions.
7) To press the governments of Argentina and Paraguay and local authorities in both countries for the declaration as a Ramsar site of the only remaining canyon in the upper Paraná, between Itacuá and Itaipú, together with all the lateral canyons of the tributaries on both banks, along this stretch of the river.
8) To sound a alert regarding the role of dams in the planetary loss of fresh water.
9) To incorporate universities in the lists of contact for dissemination of information produced within the process of the Latinamerican Network, among those professors and students who are being "trained" to be functionaires in the unsustainable and anti-democratic initiatives of the current development model.
10) To use the information instruments available on dams and their impacts, such as the report of the World Commission on Dams, sharing them with communities and widely disseminating them to all sectors of civil society. 1
1) To strengthen reciprocal and cooperative agreements between the organizations participating in the Posadas meeting, regarding all related to the experiences of applying and complying with legal requirements, socio-environmental information, information regarding transnational corporations that promote megaprojects, and for the formation and development of independent inspection panels at Multilateral Development Banks, specialist panels, and other autonomous mechanisms for investigation.
12) To promote international campaigns to denounce the role of dambuilding companies who appropriate water, ecosystems, and the lives of people.
13) To ratify and apply the rights and responsibilities which result from the principles of precaution, solidarity, social and intergenerational equality, and social sustainability.
14) To demand of governments the immediate compliance with rights of access to land, to housing, and to dignified jobs for those affected by construction of dams and other megaprojects.
15) To emphatically reject the imposition of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, as well as its political and economic basis, inviting our people to take common action to avoid its establishment, and to promote and support the initiative for a continental plebiscite on the FTAA.
16) To take strong action against the actions of International Financial Institutions, and their support for unsustainable development megaprojects.
17) To demand respect for the rights of indigenous nations and other communities and traditional peoples; to demand and to struggle against ethnocide, and to demand the compliance, in all countries, of Convention 169 of the ILO, and to demand the integration of the resolutions of this convention in documentions of the Conventions on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, of the Fight against Desertification, and others.
18) To develop coordinated actions each year on March 14, as the world day AGAINST dams.
19) To repeat and to disseminate the demand "No more dams int he world", "No more monocultures on our lands, fields, and forests", and to disseminate the role of dams in the disappearance of species, in the destruction of local communities and milenary cultures and communities who sustainably use biological diversity.
20) To reject the Puebla-Panamá Plan as an unsustainable project, destined to strengthen the implantation of the neoliberal development model, and the free market favoring transnational corporations in Central America.
21) To reject the diversion of water from the Iguazú River basin into the Uruguay River, in the province of Misiones, Argentina.
22) To invite all organizations participating in the meeting in Posadas, to promote the exercise of sovereignty among the peoples of Latin America, for a true exercise of democracy and sovereignty, and to work for the respect of biological and cultural diversity in their communities and territories. FREE RIVERS! LIVING RIVERS!

Special Additional Declarations In light of the Declaration of Posadas expressed as the conclusion of the Third Meeting of the Latin American Network against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities, and Water, held in Posadas, Misiones province, (Argentina) on 11, 12 and 13 July, 2002, And considering that during the development of discussions, diverse problems, conflicts, and evaluations were presented, regarding the situation of a number of cases involving hydroelectric dams being planned, in construction, or already completed, which are causing a number of impacts and social, economic, and environmental problems of extreme seriousness, the Plenary of the meeting resolved to issue the following resolutions on specific realities:
1- To express our solidarity and support for Latin American movements against dams (Usumacinta in Guatemala-Mexico, La Maroma in El Salvador, Susuma in Honduras, El Tigre on the border between El Salvador- Honduras, Chalillo in Belize, Bayano and Tabasará in Panama, Guaigui in the Dominican Republic, Boruca in Cosa Rica, among others. 2- To express our support for those affected by Cana Brava dam on the Tocantins river, Brazil, and the Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB) in their request for an independent investigation by the Independent Investigation Mechanism of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The project, of the Belgian company Tractebel, subsidiary of the French conglomerate Suez, S.A., has impacted thousands of families and the IDB has failed to adequately monitor the company's actions, especially in their not offering compensation to all these families, and in their violation of the families' human rights.
3- To reject plans for construction of Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River, Brazil, which with an installed capacity of 11,000 MW would be the world's third largest. This project is part of a complex of five mega-dams planned which would flood more than 10,000 sq mi of tropical rainforests, affecting the territories of diverse ethnic groups, which is sufficient reason to abandon this project which will not bring sustainable development to the region and will produce one of the largest environmental disasters on the planet.
4- To express our solidarity and support for the Aisén community of the Patagonia region of Chile, in the defense of their Reserve for Life facing the concrete threat posed by the Alumysa megaproject, which will mean the death of three rivers and their basins and a synergy of impacts on the Aisén fjord and a social, economic, cultural, and environmental system of great fragility. The exceptional environmental and cultural qualities of this region are motive to prioritize its conservation since it is one of the last pristine places on this planet. Aisén deserves to continue to live and its population and the world's people should recognize this reality and be part of the opposition to this project and in support of the well-being of our people.
5- Taking into account the value of developing alternative and sustainable policies, particularly in the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile and the need for the application of the precaution and prevention principles within the socio-environmental context, the construction of hydroelectric dams in remote places on the continent are hereby rejected, in favor of clean electrical energy generation sources, such as wind and solar energy.
6- To call intention to the complex reality of the Uruguay River and new initiatives to deepen its damming, particularly in the lower basin, to accompany unsustainable industrial projects, such as the highly contaminating cellulose plant of the Spanish company ENCE (severely criticized by residents of Pontevedra and Huelva, Spain), planned for Fray Bentos. This will provide yet another impulse to the destructive forestry policy of Uruguay, which is causing serious social, economic, and environmental damages, in promoting plantations of monocultures of eucalyptus and other non-native species. We ratify our support for the law of Entre Ríos province, Argentina, which declares the Uruguay and Paraná rivers within its territory to be a dam-free region.
7- To call on the States of the La Plata basin to deepen their policies and legislation to prevent greater destructive exploitation of fish resources on the Uruguay, Paraná, and Paraguay rivers, particularly of the sábalo species, which is being massacred by companies which are causing irreversible damages to ecosystems and their populations, especially fisherfolk, small businesspeople, and for tourism in its diverse forms.
8- To express our particular support for the initiative incorporated within the Declaration of Posadas, referring to the need to declare the Paraná canyon, in the Argentine and Paraguayan provinces of Misiones, as a Ramsar Site. The Paraná River has been transformed into a nearly-uninterrupted sucession of dams in its principal course and its tributaries. The only dam-free stretch in the upper Paraná is just downstream from Itaipú dam and upstream from Yacyretá dam. In this region, the Guaraní indigenous people and riverbank dwellers have developed their lives for generations, which has inspired hundreds of works of literature and poetry. This stretch includes the last continuous stretch of the Paranaense forest in the world, and a biological corridor of great importance for the basin.
Signed by all organizations present: Argentina: ADOYAPREBYA, Asociación de Oleros y Afectados por la represa binacional de Yacyretá, Misiones. APAM, Asociación Productores Agrarios Misioneros Asociación de Trabajadores del Río - Entre Ríos CEDHA, Centro de Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente - Córdoba Comunidad del Limay - Río Negro, Patagonia Cuña Pirú - Misiones Eco La Paz - Entre Ríos Eco Urbano - Entre Ríos EMIPA, Equipo Misionero de Pastoral Aborigen. ENDEPA, Equipo Nacional de Pastoral Aborigen Federación Amigos de la Tierra Argentina Foro Ecologista de Paraná - Entre Ríos Fundación Proteger - Santa Fe IERP, Iglesia Evangélica del Río de la Plata - Misiones INCUPO, Instituto de Cultura Popular - Santa Fe MAM, Movimiento Agrario Misionero. Mboreby, Misiones MU.CO.RE, Multisectorial Contra las Represas, Misiones Pastoral Social de Iguazú - Productores Cuenca Batel Batelito - Corrientes RAE, Red de Asociaciones Ecologistas de Misiones RAOM, Red de Agricultores Orgánicos de Misiones Reserva Yaguarundí - Taller Ecologista - Santa Fe - Yaguareté - Salta Bolivia: FOBOMADE, Foro Boliviano sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Brasil: IBISS - MAB, Movimiento de Afectados por Represas - Posgraduado en Energía, Universidad Federal de San Pablo- Rede Brasil Chile: CODEFF, Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de Fauna y Flora, Amigos de la Tierra Chile. Colombia: ASPROCIG, Asociación de Campesinos y Pescadores para el Desarrollo Comunitario de La Cienaga Grande de Lorica y sus Humedales. Guatemala: Frente Petenero contra las Represas ASCRA, Asociación Campesina Río Negro Rabinal Achi Foro Mesoamericano por la Vida Honduras: COPINH, - Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras Paraguay: Asociación Civil de Afectados por Yacyretá. Encarnación. Itapúa Asociación de pescadores del Brazo Aña Cua. Ayolas. Misiones CECTEC, Centro de Capacitación y Tecnología Campesina. Coordinadora Social de San Patricio. Misiones FEDAYIM, Federación de Afectados por Yacyreta de Itapúa y Misiones Foro Social Mundial, capítulo paraguayo Organización Campesina de Misiones. Mesa Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas. MCNOC Red de Organizaciones Ambientalistas del Paraguay SITRANDE, Sindicato de trabajadores de ANDE SOBREVIVENCIA, Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay Uruguay: MO.VI.T.DE.S, Movimiento por la Vida el Trabajo y un Desarrollo Sustentable. - Red Uruguaya de Organizaciones Ambientalistas. International: Coalición Ríos Vivos , IRN, International Rivers Network Indigenous nations: Pueblo Mbya Guarani. Comunidades de Misiones, Argentina Pueblo Maya-Q'eqchi de Guatemala - Pueblo Maya-Achi de Guatemala - Pueblo Lenca de Honduras

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