Pressreleases / Communiqués / Pressemitteilungen 
(all in original language, en langue originale, in Originalsprache):



26.09.02: Restore our wetlands or face worse floods

WWF, the conservation organization, today called on the EU and national governments to do more to prevent future flooding and not to use the new "Solidarity Fund" to repeat the mistakes that have led to Europe's
recurring and intensifying floods. Otherwise, WWF warned, this trend will continue and possibly intensify in future.
WWF pointed out that policies for flood mitigation exist in the new EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).

19.09.02 : Les 15 et 17 octobre 2002, la 17ème Chambre correctionnelle du TGI de Paris jugera la plainte en diffamation déposée par la Lyonnaise des eaux contre Jean-Philippe Joseph, professeur d'économie et Radio France.

Jean-Philippe Joseph est poursuivi par Suez-Lyonnaise des eaux France pour "atteinte à l’honneur et à la réputation de la société".
Voici ses propos, tenus sur France Culture en mars 2001: "Vivendi a essentiellement utilisé toute une série d’outils stratégiques et juridiques, de corruption aussi, puisqu’un certain nombre d ’élus -pas seulement Vivendi, il y a aussi la Lyonnaise des Eaux et les autres -il y a un certain nombre d’élus qui ont dit que la corruption était au cœur de ces marchés-là. Alors quand on utilise la corruption pour avoir accès à des marchés on passe déjà par un
système qui est hors marché.Ca va être l’arrosage d’un club de foot, de financements etc. pour avoir accès à un marché. C’est la première chose. Deuxième chose, il va y avoir pompage des ressources de manière régulière. Ca va être faire surpayer les factures d’eau. A Avignon, l’eau était surfacturée de 3 francs. Autre cas, ça va être des entreprises qui vont faire payer des infrastructures deux fois alors que ce n’était pas nécessaire ; elles vont faire payer des frais de structure etc., etc., donc elles vont utiliser le contrat de l’eau et tout ce qui est autour de la gestion de l’eau pour récupérer toute une série de sommes qui vont leur permettre après à la fois de grossir et à la fois d’investir dans d’autres secteurs."

Les médias se sont faits largement l'écho de scandales, bien réels, de corruption de ce type depuis un certain nombre d'années. Les propos de J.Ph. Joseph reflètent une réalité connue du public. L'objectif de Suez à travers ce procès cache certainement une stratégie d'image, "policée" à outrance, et de musellement de toute mise en question, et en lumière, de ses agissements. Cette tentative d'intimidation, véritable atteinte à la liberté d'expression, n'est pas acceptable, l' équilibre des forces étant de plus fortement inégal dans le domaine de l'information et de la communication : TF1est une filiale de Bouygues (autrement dit Saur, dans le domaine de l'eau), Canal + Plus appartient à Vivendi (tout comme l'Express et l'Expansion) et M6 compte Suez dans ses actionnaires.

Un vaste mouvement de soutien à Jean-Philippe Joseph se met en place.
Pour en savoir plus : "eau et cours" en format pdf et contacter :
Aussi : ACME (Association pour le Contrat Mondial de l'Eau / e-mail : pour participer à des actions de soutien à J-Ph. Joseph.

18.09.02 : International Rivers Network Statement on the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg Summit Endorses Business as Usual for River Destroyers The outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development will do nothing to halt the rapid degradation of the world's rivers and impoverishment of the communities who directly depend on them. Rampant dam building, pollution, bad farming practices, channelization, deforestation, urban sprawl, and climate change are sickening the rivers of the world. The agreements made at the WSSD at best fail to rein in the forces destroying rivers, and at worst encourage them. Current patterns of energy consumption are the single major cause of global environmental problems. If there had been political will at the WSSD to reverse ecological degradation and improve energy supplies to the poor, the governments would have agreed a bold plan for shifting subsidies from fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro to energy efficiency, conservation and new renewable technologies such as solar and wind power. Instead, the so-called "Plan of Implementation" states that countries should "diversify energy supply by developing advanced, cleaner, more efficient, affordable and cost-effective energy technologies, including fossil fuel technologies and renewable energy technologies, hydro included . . " (Para 19(e)).
Encouraging the use of hydro and fossil fuels, which already make up more than 90% of the world's primary energy supply, will offer no diversification benefits and will only worsen environmental problems, including the destruction of rivers. Hydropower is not an advanced technology, having changed little since the 1930s. It is not clean, as it worsens water quality and destroys riverine biodiversity. Rotting organic matter in reservoirs, especially in the tropics, can emit high amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Large hydropower is rarely affordable and cost-effective: big dams are extremely expensive to build and often fail to meet their generation targets. Hydropower is highly vulnerable to the increased floods and droughts caused by global warming. Most hydropower plants are not renewable, as their reservoirs will ultimately fill with sediments. International Rivers Network believes that only small hydro plants that meet the requirements of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) should be defined as renewable. (IRN uses the common definition of "small hydro" as meaning plants that have an installed capacity not greater than 10 megawatts). Brazilian negotiators pushed for a target of 10% of the world's energy to be produced from renewables by 2010, with large hydro excluded from the definition. Norway supported this position.
The EU, which supported a target of 15%, wanted to include large hydro. India, China and Russia also strongly favored the definition of large hydro as renewable. Brazil put forward a compromise position that renewable energy could include dams that are WCD-compliant or which do not damage the environment. This position was also rejected. In the end, pressure from the US and OPEC ensured that no renewable targets were adopted in the Plan of Implementation. Many commentators have claimed that the Summit made important progress in the areas of water supply and sanitation.
IRN welcomes the agreement on goals for halving those without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Yet there is nothing in the "Plan of Implementation" or in the government and corporate rhetoric at the Summit to suggest that the necessary resources, commitment and approaches to meeting the targets will be forthcoming. It must be noted that the international community has repeatedly set itself ambitious goals on water and sanitation and failed to meet them. In 1981 the UN set a target to provide universal drinking water and sanitation by 1990. In 1990, the World Summit for Children called for universal coverage by 1995.
Agenda 21, agreed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, suggested that by 2000 all urban residents should have access to safe water and 75% of urban residents should have adequate sanitation. The Bush Administration has rightly been widely criticized as an environmental rogue nation and chief culprit for the Summit's failure. Yet many other governments and international bodies are also to blame for being driven by short-term self-interest, a lack of vision and subservience to corporate greed. A massive upsurge in pressure from the grassroots is needed to change the policies that are destroying rivers and entrenching the dead grip of poverty and environmental destruction upon our planet. There were however some rays of hope to shine out of Johannesburg.
IRN welcomes the joint declaration on renewable energy issued at the end of the summit by the EU, Brazil and other European and Latin American states. The brief declaration expresses the countries' strong commitment to renewables and states that the signatories "will work together to substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources . . . on the basis of clear and ambitious time bound targets . . ." The joint declaration does not define renewables. IRN will strive to ensure that it does not result in the promotion of large hydro.
IRN also welcomes the agreement between Brazilian and South African public water service provider organizations which seeks to improve provision of water and sanitation to the poor in Brazil and South Africa. The South African-Brazilian public-public partnership is also intended to help public water utilities elsewhere to improve their services, especially to the very poorest. International Rivers Network will strive to ensure that the only form of hydropower that receives subsidies aimed at mitigating climate change is small hydro compliant with the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams. We will also continue our efforts to strengthen and broaden the diverse and dynamic movement of grassroots groups fighting to save and restore rivers.

International Rivers Network Berkeley, California September 2002


17.09.02 : Germany to review river developments after floods.

GERMANY: September 17, 2002 The German government presented a package of measures on the weekend aimed at avoiding a repeat of last month's devastating floods. The recommendations include calling a halt to all construction projects designed to improve rivers for shipping traffic until the government has completed a review of the environmental consequences. The plan also proposes an end to building on flood plains and removing some dykes and flood defences so rivers can swell naturally, removing pressure downstream.

The five-point plan was presented at a national conference on floods in Berlin. Floods swept through eastern and southern Germany last month killing at least 16 people and caused 15 billion euros of damage. They were blamed in part on the fact there has been so much construction along rivers they have no room to flood without causing disaster. "Every building of flood defences increases the flood risk for those further downstream. That is why a national effort must give rivers back their natural flood plains in uninhabited areas...," the plan said. "In future, no new residential or commercial properties will be allowed on flood plains," it added. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's firm handling of the floods crisis is credited with helping to boost his Social Democrats in opinion polls a week before a general election.

The government recommended reviewing all river projects by early 2003 to assess their environmental consequences including those on the Elbe river that submerged historic Dresden and many other towns last month. The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said it agreed more attention should be paid to flood protection in planning new developments but said the proposals were too extreme. "The demand not to allow any more building on flood plains goes too far," the DIHK said in a statement. Werner Schnappauf, environment minister of Bavaria, the home state of conservative chancellor candidate Edmund Stoiber, said Sunday's conference was a "transparent election manoeuvre". "The flood is being misused for election purposes. It is shabby to make an election campaign with the suffering of flood victims," he said in a statement. "The flood conference is trying to compensate for years of inaction by the government."

more information on the 5 point plan are avaiable in german (pdf)


13.09.02 : UK: A water framework full of promise - but promises must be kept

from Edie News

Scientists across Europe must ensure politicians set proper ecological targets for the Water Framework Directive, says a panel of freshwater scientists. If ecologists don’t insist upon the inclusion of adequate protection, monitoring and restoration schemes, the directive will leave Europe with biologically poor waters. courtesy
The Water Framework Directive is one of the most important steps forward for water management for many decades, Environment Agency ecologist Geoff Phillips told an audience at the BA Science Festival. “This is an enormous advance, because now we have to measure success in the ecological quality of the environment.” The directive brings two new approaches to the way Europe must manage its waters. Countries must now assess the health of entire catchment areas, using River Basin Management Plans, and monitor biological as well as chemical content. Although the Agency already surveys some waters accordingly in the UK, the new directive will require many more to be monitored for a wide range of species and substances.

The second requirement, set out with a strict timetable, is for the majority of water bodies to be classified as of high, good, moderate, poor or bad quality. Those that are moderate or below will have to be brought up to good quality - meaning only slightly altered from their natural biological and chemical state. Although the directive is geared towards improving the ecology of waters, warning bells are already ringing and the first toll, says the panel, is for governments that are not seeing the full picture. “Water legislation has not kept pace with scientific understanding of how water systems work,” says Brian Moss, Professor of Botany. “The immediate step is to convince government that its approach to the directive is out-of-date in ecological terms.”

A recent report by the WWF (see related story) also argued that not only are most European waters of poor ecological quality, but many countries will fail meet the Directive’s criteria on restoring waters to good quality by 2015. So what is a ‘good quality’ status and how do you achieve it? Over the last decade, over a thousand scientists have been involved in the consultation process to reach agreed standards, and the Directive will specify the monitoring of a number of ‘indicator organisms’ such as fish, insects and phytoplankton species. But, says Roger Sweeting, Chief Executive of the Freshwater Biological Association, there are key species missing such as bacteria and introduced species of fish. Natural bacterial populations may be overwhelmed by those entering waters from sewage and run-off, but the directive won’t pick up on this, he argues. Introduced or invading species such as the Chinese mitten crab and American crayfish will also not be monitored for their effect on ‘natural’ populations. Under the directive, you could effectively name the cleanest water in the UK as that flowing through London pipes, but clean water doesn’t equal good quality water in the environment, says ecologist Simon Harrison. “When we monitor rivers we look for pollution-sensitive species such as the mayfly, but even if they return this doesn’t mean the river is fully restored. Other species like otter, kingfishers and dippers are an important part of the ecosystem but they need complex environments, so we have to preserve or restore the physical characteristics of rivers such as riffles, pools and meanders.
Different parts of a river breed different biota.” So how should rivers be restored? “Some rivers are very, very badly damaged, but this is not widely known,” continues Harrison. “The rivers have been drained, dredged and straightened, and there is very little natural habitat remaining.
The Environment Agency does try to restore some river systems but restoration methods are so small scale that they don’t really work. We need to have large scale rehabilitation that restores the structure of the river and protects margins and floodplains.” The panel, along with many other scientists and organisations, is calling for greater focus on the UK’s wetlands. “Wetlands should be restored to act once again as flood reservoirs and immobilisers of pollutants,” says Brian Moss. The panel was united in blaming poor land-use as a destroyer of rivers, with farming practices such as sheep grazing prone to altering a river’s structure as well as its chemical and biological balance. When cattle graze next to a river they erode its edges, sending soil – and thus pollutants and nutrients – into the water and making the river wider and shallower. Where the cattle are grazing on low porosity soil that is easily prone to oversaturation and flooding, the cattle trample the remaining porosity, forcing water, pollutants and nutrients out of the soil and creating a greater likelihood of flooding. In upland areas with steep slopes, says freshwater scientist Penny Johnes, grazing sheep are creating a cascade of loose soil that falls into lakes and rivers. “These are fragile environments that can’t cope,” she says.

Johnes and her colleagues urge the UK government to rethink agricultural policy, even to the point of asking farmers to move cattle and crops to regions more suitable for that type of farming, or switch from stock to land management. “We already have set aside, but it hasn’t been used in a targeted way,” argues Johnes. Diffuse sources of pollution are also increasingly problematic. “We now have evidence of extensive nitrogen pollution in upland waters,” says Johnes. “And in some places atmospheric deposition accounts for 50% of the nitrogen entering the water.” In other words, a growing fondness for cars across Europe is sending more nitrous oxides into the atmosphere, which in turn are making their way into rivers and lakes. More than three-quarters of the UK’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest are showing signs of eutrophication. “My biggest concern is the timescales,” Geoff Phillips told edie. Over the next two years the UK will have to classify its waters according to one of the five criteria, and pick sites that are borderline good/moderate and high/good for comparison with other countries.

Agreements between countries with similar types of water will be used to set universal criteria for the different quality levels. “There is an urgent need to select sample sites that lie close to the boundaries. The directive requires these sites to be identified during 2003. But by 2003 the UK and most other member states will still be developing their various approaches to the directive,” says Phillips. By 2004 the UK will have to have characterised and carried out risk assessments on all its waters. By 2006 it will need to have set up monitoring programmes. And by 2009 the first River Basin management Plans will have to be published, setting the final objectives to be achieved by 2015. It is left to Roger Sweeting to remind scientists and the public to take part in the consultation exercise. “You can’t apply the directive without good underlying science,” he warns. But Sweeting, who has been actively involved in shaping the directive, is less than optimistic. “If our government, in translating the directive, does it properly, then we will have a powerful weapon to alleviate pollution problems. My concern is that the government will not do that. It has a history of not implementing legislation properly. Unless politicians and legislators put their teeth into the directive it will go the same way as the urban waste water directive [see related story], where we only paid lip service to it until we were threatened with a £65 million fine.”

from Edie News


12.09.02 : Snake River Dams to Be Improved, Not Breached

PORTLAND, Oregon, September 12, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to improve fish passages at four dams on the lower Snake River, rather than removing the dams entirely, to boost the survival of dwindling salmon populations. The decision comes on the heels of a new study suggesting that dam removal would create jobs and leave the Northwestern economy unharmed.

Fourteen Pacific Northwest populations of salmon and steelhead, like this chinook salmon, are listed as threatened. (Photo courtesy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
The Corps announced this week it has chosen major system improvements, now called "adaptive migration," as the selected alternative in its study of improving salmon passage through the four lower Snake River dams. Brigadier General David Fastabend, the Corps' Northwestern Division commander, signed the Record of Decision on September 9.

Full article :

For more information on the Corps' Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon Migration Feasibility Study, visit:

12.09.02 : China : Giant dam could cause geological disasters

BEIJING - A 600-km (365-mile) reservoir that will start filling behind China's giant Three Gorges dam next year could cause geological disasters in the surrounding area, state media said yesterday.

The government had set aside four billion yuan ($480 million) to prevent landslides and other disasters at almost 2,500 dangerous sites identified around the reservoir, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a top official as saying.
The area around the dam on the Yangtze River would be "prone to geological disasters after the project is completed in 2009", Xinhua quoted Shou Jiahua, vice minister of land and resources, as saying.

"The increase of water level is likely to break the original geological stability," he said.

The 185-metre (607-foot) dam, the largest water control project in the world, has been plagued by reports of shoddy construction, rampant corruption and criticism from environmental experts and human rights groups.

A senior Chinese official said earlier this year that cracks had appeared in the dam, which requires the relocation of 1.13 million people to make way for the lake.

Some 646,000 of those had already been removed from the reservoir basin, which would be closed off in June 2003, the China Daily quoted Guo Shuyan, director of the cabinet's Three Gorges Construction Committee, as saying.

Guo said the dam, now 70 percent complete, had stood up well to swollen waters on the Yangtze after torrential rains over the summer.

"The dam's design is absolutely safe and, when it is completed, it will be able to control floods effectively," he said.

"Having been severely tested by floods this summer, the completed sections of the dam have reassured people."

China says the dam, begun in 1993 and expected to cost 200 billion yuan ($25 billion), is needed to contain the Yangtze's devastating annual floods and to meet future power demand.

Critics say the project, first planned decades ago, is not a practical solution to either problem and could cause severe pollution and silting by slowing the river's flow.


10.09.02 : China to list dam company, raise over $360 mln

BEIJING - China hopes to raise at least $360 million when it lists the firm building the world's biggest dam on the domestic stock market next year, the official China Daily newspaper said yesterday.

The China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corp, which is building the massive hydroelectric power plant, is expected to set up a spin-off company this month to handle the listing, it said.
The subsidiary, China Yangtze Electric Power Corp, will be a shareholding firm worth $920 million, it quoted director of the parent company's restructuring office Kou Riming as saying.
"The listing will provide us with a platform for continuous acquisitions for expansion," Kou said.
Construction of the dam began in 1993 and is scheduled for completion in 2009. It was expected to cost 204 billion yuan ($24.65 billion), but unofficial estimates put the cost as high as $75 billion, the newspaper said.
The newspaper said the generators would cost $1.1-2.1 billion, a third of which would be raised by the stock listing and the remaining portion by bonds and loans.
The first four generators, with combined capacity of 2.8 million kw, are due to be up and running by between August and November next year and the remaining 22 generators would be on line in seven years time, it said.
China says the dam is needed to contain the Yangtze's devastating annual floods and to meet future power demand.
Critics say the project, first planned decades ago, is not a practical solution to either problem and could cause severe pollution and silting by slowing the river's flow.

09.09.02 : Des intempéries d'une ampleur sans précédent provoquent des inondations dévastatrices dans le sud-est de la France, et principalement dans le département du Gard.

Les 8 et 9 septembre 2002, le sud-est de la France a connu les précipitations les plus importantes jamais enregistrées depuis l'ouverture des stations météorologiques. Le phénomène bien connu des "pluies cévenoles" revient chaque année, entre septembre et octobre, frapper la région. Des courants d'air chaud et humide provenant de la Méditerranée remontent vers l'intérieur du pays, rencontrent des masses d'air froid venant du Nord et se bloquent en situation de nuées d'orages sur les contreforts des Cévennes, où ils se déversent violemment.

Mais la durée, l'intensité et l'étendue géographique de cette mousson méditerranéenne ont dépassé toutes les prévisions et l'historique connu. Les précipitations ont atteint plus de 670 mm à Anduze et de 500 à 600 mm dans la région d'Alès, soit la valeur des précipitations annuelles de Paris.

Les cours d'eau du Gardon, du Vidourle et du Vistre ont débordé, provoquant la désolation. Le Gardon a submergé ses digues, l'eau atteignant jusqu'à 3 m de hauteur dans le village de 3 600 habitants d'Aramont et l'isolant au milieu d'une véritable mer intérieure. La ville de Sommières, construite depuis le Moyen-Age dans le lit du Vidourle et grande habituée des inondations, a été dévastée. La caserne des pompiers avait été construite en février de cette année en zone inondable.

Le mode d'urbanisation est rendu responsable de la gravité accrue des dégâts et du nombre des victimes.
Ainsi, la pression immobilière exercée sur les maires des communes pour construire en zones inondables, le développement des lotissements sur d'anciennes zones d'extension et de ralentissement des crues, le flux important de nouveaux habitants dans les départements du Midi, contribuent à placer sur le trajet des inondations toujours plus de biens et de victimes potentielles. Depuis 1995, la loi impose aux Maires d'inclure dans les Plans Locaux d'Urbanisme (PLU), permettant de délivrer les permis de construire, des Plans de Préventions de Risques (PPR) qui définissent les périmètres où les constructions sont hors danger. Dans certains cas, ces PPR peuvent aboutir à des mesures d'expropriation dans des zones à risque.

Le bilan, établi le 17 septembre, fait état de 22 victimes et 3 disparus. Les autorités déplorent que la majorité des morts survenues durant les inondations soit due à l'imprudence. La population manque de "culture du risque" et oublie des principes élémentaires comme rester chez soi et écouter la radio, en cas de diffusion de bulletins d'alerte ou de conditions climatiques violentes.
L'annonce des crues doit être de son côté améliorée. C'est le maire d'Aramont qui a demandé au curé de sonner le tocsin pour prévenir la population de l'inondation imminente.

En ce qui concerne la prévention et l'appréciation de ce phénomène, le radar météorologique Aramis d'Opoul (Pyrénnées Orientales) a vocation de détecter les "pluies cévenoles", depuis sa mise en service en 2000.
L' ouverture, prévue en 2003, à Toulouse, d'un centre hydro-météorologique national permettra une meilleure connexion entre services météo et hydrologiques, afin de comprendre "comment la pluie se transforme en débit", et une mise en commun des bases de données concernant les précipitations, les reliefs et le niveau des eaux des rivières.

Source : articles parus dans Le Monde du 12 septembre 2002.
"Les inondations ont semé la désolation dans le Gard" de Robert Belleret.
"Mme Bachelot veut réformer le service des annonces des crues" de Benoît Hopquin.
"L'ampleur des précipitations a surpris les prévisionnistes" de Hervé Morin.
"Le mode d'urbanisation aggrave les conséquences des intempéries" de Françoise Chirot.

Site web du journal "Le Monde" pour d'autres articles sur ce sujet.


05.09.02 : EU Commission propose scientifique support for flood warning system

In a communication responding to the devastating floods across Europe during August, the European Commission has pledged to provide scientific support for a European flood warning system. The flooding in central Europe reached unprecedented levels. Dozens of people lost their lives, the socio-economic infrastructure of entire regions was disrupted and natural and cultural heritage was damaged. Preliminary estimates indicate damage amounting to 15 billion euro in Germany, two billion in Austria, between two and three billion in the Czech Republic and up to 35 million in Slovakia. The European flood warning system will provide information on the main European basins with real time access to medium term meteorological forecasts. In the longer term, the Commission believes that the floods should initiate reflection in Europe on whether human intervention contributed to these exceptional climatic conditions, in particular through high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and inadequate land use and water management policies.

Source: Cordis,



Le 4 septembre 2002, une centaine de militants de la P.D.E. (Plateforme de Défense de l'Ebro) ont remis 39000 pétitions, rangées dans 20 caisses, à l'Agence Catalane de l'Eau (A.C.A.) à Barcelone. Des 3900 pétitions, 33825 proviennent de particuliers des communes de l'Ebre, un millier de la coordination COAGRET, et le reste de diverses associations écologistes et politiques.
Le porte parole de la P.D.E., Manolo Tomàs, a dénoncé la présentation du projet de la connexion en plein mois d'août. Les membres de la PDE et des groupes écologistes ont rencontré la directrice de l'Agence de l'Eau, Marta Lacambra, à qui ils ont demandé d'élargir le délai de présentation des pétitions : "Si nous avions plus de temps, nous pourrions en recueillir 60 000".
En plus des pétitions de particuliers, d'autres, plus techniques, ont porté sur les aspects concrets du projet. Elles expliquent que les ouvrages d'agrandissement projetés doteraient le mini-transvasement de la capacité nécessaire pour atteindre les 190 hm/3 par an prévus par le PHN. Le plan exige la réalisation d'une étude d'impact globale du transvasement, mais pour le projet de canalisation jusqu'à Barcelone, seule une étude sur le 1er tronçon a été effectuée, alors que l'ouvrage en compte six.
La coordination anti-transvasement dénonce aussi que l'analyse du coût réel pour le consommateur n'a pas été réalisée, et que la qualité de l'eau de l'Ebre est si mauvaise qu'elle ne peut remplir les conditions exigées pour l'eau potable.

Résumé article de Lalli Cambra, paru le 05.09.02 dans El Pais. Copyright DIARIO EL PAIS, S.L

02.09.02: World Bank to examin dam projects on Bio Bio river

Envoys To Investigate Ralco Dam Project


The World Bank will send investigators next October to assess the complaints made by the Pehuenche indigenous groups about the construction of the controversial Pangue and Ralco dams.
The team will determine whether the Spanish-Chilean energy giant, Endesa, and its affiliates have fulfilled legal conditions to build the dams on the Bio Bio River in Region VIII.
The envoys will come from the Bank's Office of the Ombudsman and will look into the controversy over the construction of the dam - planned to meet future growth in the country's electricity needs Cristian Opazo, a representative of the Bio Bio Action Group, said the World Bank envoys are responding to complaints filed by 43 Pehuenche and 33 other locals at the start of July.
The group wants to prevent Endesa or any of its affiliates from receiving funds from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank.
The Bio Bio Action Group justified its complaint on the grounds that Endesa had failed its contracts with the indigenous communities in the region, and that building the dam would work against the culture and way of life of the Pehuenches.
The Bank Ombudsman will assess the Pehuenches' complaints so that the bank can respond in a "just, objective and constructive manner".
The Pehuenche have taken part in extensive court battles over the dam, arguing that their forced relocation would disrupt their seasonal migration between higher altitudes in the summer and the riverside's warmer climate in the winter.
They also claim the dams will lead to the destruction of tribal burial grounds and impede the natural flow of the river, itself holding cultural and spiritual significance for the Pehuenche.
But recent court rulings went against the Pehuenche, and work on the US$500 million dam has continued.
The campaigners then turned to the World Bank.
The IFC has intervened in construction of the Bio Bio dams in the past.
In May 1996 the World Bank submitted a report comparing the company's activities with the agreement drawn up between the IFC and Pangue that strongly criticized the Pehuen Foundation, a body created by Endesa after building the Pangue dam.
The IFC then refused to guarantee further loans to the dam.
The campaign against the dam has taken many forms over the last two years.
In June, a bomb exploded in Santiago outside an office of Endesa subsidiary Chilectra, scattering pamphlets with the message "Enersis get out of Pehuenche territories" across the area.
A number of law suits have also slowed the dam's construction.
A suit presented by the indigenous rights activists Berta and Nicolasa Quintreman, aimed at halting construction of the Ralco hydroelectric plant, was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court and the issue has received extensive coverage in both the print and television media.
The Quintreman sisters filed a suit in January 2000 claiming they would be adversely affected by the dam's construction and operation.
The lawsuit alleged that former Economy Minister Jorge Leiva illegally granted the Endesa electricity company the rights to build the Ralco dam.
Leiva's decree was based on the 1982 General Law on Electric Services.
A team from the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) also visited the region in 1997 to study the situation of Pehuenche who face displacement by the Ralco hydroelectric plant.
And so the controversy continues.
Chile's national media has granted special attention to the protests, although many activists say they misrepresent the indigenous peoples, portraying them as violent terrorists.
Source: CHIP News

La plataforma de entidades satura de recursos la Agencia Catalana del Agua
Articulo de Lalli Cambra, el 05.09.02 en el periodico "El Pais"

30.08.02 : EU said it hopes to set upa distaster relief fund of up to one billion Euros after floods caused havoc Germany, AUstria, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Officials will also work on freeing up billions of euros in aid from reshuffling budgets to help Germany meet the costs of cleaning up after the disaster. The floods in central Europe in August caused deaths, forced evacuations of homes and left widespread damage in historical cities such as Prague and Dresden. The decision to form a disaster fund was taken to provide fast relief in the wake of any catastrophe.

Source: Reuters News Service via Planet

29.08.02 :Turkey may be selling fresh water to Israel but it is extremely short of water itself

Turkey sells water to Israel 29.08.02 Planet Ark : Turkey may be selling fresh water to Israel but it is extremely short of water itself and must invest $1 billion a year on building new dams, the chief of the country's water authority said this week. Turkey earlier this month agreed to sell 50 million cubic metres (1.77 billion cu ft) of water annually to Israel from the outflow of the Manavgat river into the Mediterranean Sea. "The Manavgat has a capacity of 186 million cubic metres. We can provide water for any country that asks. Not because Turkey has excess water but because we want to share water we cannot use with our neighbours," State Water Works Director Mumtaz Turfan told reporters. "Turkey is not water-rich, in fact it is a country that could soon hit a water crisis," he said.

Full story at
Source: Reuters News Service via Planet Ark


28.08.02 : Rencontre-Débat sur le transfert du Rhône à Barcelone le 28 septembre 2002 à Girona (Espagne)

"Nous voulons une nouvelle Culture de l'Eau

La Plateforme d'Opposition aux Transferts (POT) et le Réseau pour une Nouvelle Culture de l'Eau
vous invitent à participer à un débat sur le projet du transfert du Rhône en Catalogne.
(devant l'Hôpital de Santa Caterina)
de 16h00 à 21h00

Pour établir la coordination entre les associations catalanes et françaises,
plusieurs axes de réflexion seront proposés :

- Premier transfert transnational d'eau potable, précurseur des " grandes autoroutes " de l'eau à péage, dans toute l'Europe,
- Stimulation de la demande de l'eau et des grands projets d'urbanisation.
- Extension des risques de contamination entre bassins hydrologiques.
- Etc...

Pour confirmer votre présence, merci de prendre contact au :
00.34. 972.75.80.01. ou 00.34.972.75.75.36.


La Plataforma de Oposicion a los Trasvases (POT) y la Red para una Nueva Cultura del Agua os invitan a participar en un debate sobre el proyecto del trasvase del Rodano a Catalunya.
(delante del Hospital de Santa Caterina)
de 16h00 a 21h00

Para establecer la coordinacion entre las asociaciones catalanas y francesas, proponemos unas lineas de reflexion:

- Es el primer trasvase transnacional de agua potable, precursor de las " grandes autopistas de peage " del agua en Europa,
- Estimula la demanda de agua y de los grandes proyectos de urbanizacion.
- Extiende los riesgos de contaminacion entre cuencas hidrologicas.
- Etc...

Rogamos confirmeis vuestra assistencia : 972.75.80.01. y 972.75.75.36.

20.08.02: Giant Chinese Lake Threatens to Flood Millions

Last Updated: August 20, 2002 08:47 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - Fast-rising waters in a huge lake in southern China have swollen above flood warning marks, threatening to engulf millions of people as a tropical storm dumps rain on the region, state media and local residents said Tuesday.
Water levels at Dongting, China's second largest freshwater lake and a giant overflow for the flood-prone Yangtze river, had risen more than 5 feet over the 105-foot warning mark in the past two days, state television said.
Waters on the lake in Hunan province reached 110 feet Tuesday, the highest level in nearly three years, and were expected to rise further in the next few days, it said.
"A flood wave on the Yangtze river will enter Hunan within the coming days," it said. "Local people are preparing for a water level of 35 meters."
The lake hit a historical high 118 feet in 1998 when some of China's worst floods in decades killed 4,000 people, many in the south.
Tropical storm Vongfong was expected to dump torrential rain on parts of Hunan and to swell the Xiangjiang river -- one of four feeding into Dongting lake -- well beyond danger levels Tuesday night, one Hunan provincial official said.
"Vongfong will affect the Xiangjiang river, so it will impact the Dongting lake system," he said.


The official China Daily newspaper said the lake could burst its banks, unleashing the worst floods yet this year.
Thousands had been mobilized to reinforce embankments around the lake that shield more than 10 million people and 1.6 million acres of fertile farmland, the daily said.
The television news said the lake had hit warning levels along some 560 miles of embankments.
China's summer floods, which began early this year, have already killed more than 900 people, prompting warnings from government officials that it could be more deadly than 1998.
However, some people in Yueyang, a major city on the banks of Dongting lake, appeared sanguine.
The rain had stopped for the moment, a hotel worker told Reuters by telephone.
"The water is slightly higher than in previous years, but no one is talking about floods. The authorities take measures every year," she said.
Meanwhile, floods and landslides in the southwestern province of Yunnan this month killed 231 people and caused $435 million of damage, the semi-official China News Service said on its Web Site
Deluges that struck the eastern province of Jiangsu since July helped unleash a landslide Monday that cut traffic on a railway line linking Beijing with Hong Kong, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Few provinces have escaped the wrath of the summer rains. Other recent victims included Zhejiang, where 21 people were killed and eight reported missing after mountain torrents swept through dozens of villages this month.

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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 !.