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17.10.02: Ilisu/Türkei: Deutschland sagt Hermes Kredite ab

Keine Deutsche Beteiligung Am Geplanten Mega Staudammprojekt Hasankeyf Inder Türkei

Wie die alte und neue Ministerin für Wirtschaftliche Zusamenarbeit (BMZ)vorzwei Tagen verbindlich erklärte, ist die neue Bundesregierung der festenAbsicht, sich nicht mit einer Hermes Bürgschaf am geplanten StaudammprojektHasankeyf zu beteiligen, durch dessen Vollzug Zehntausende von Menschenvertrieben und unersetzbare Kulturgüter zerstört worden wären.
Mit heutigem Brief an medico international teilt zudem der Petitionsausschußim Deutschen Bundestag mit, - dem zuvor einige Tausend Protestaufrufe inForm einer formellen Petition vorgelegt worden waren, - daß dasBundesministerium für Wirtschaft zu einer negativen Position in SachenHasankeyf sich gekommen sei. Ausdrücklich wird darauf verwiesen, daß diePetition bei der Bundesregierung, den Fraktionsführungen der Parteien undden zuständigen Ministerien außerordentliche Beachtung gefunden hätte. DerOriginalext der Mitteilung steht auf Wunsch per Fax zur Verfügung.
Der Entschluß der Bundesregierung dürfte ein sicheres AUS für alle weiterenStaudamm-Baupläne in Hasankeyf bedeuten. Unser Slogan "Save Hasankeyf" hatdamit nach zweijährigem harten Kampf einen Sieg erbracht.
Dank, großen Dank an alle, die so lange beteiligt waren. Und unsere bestenGrüße und Wünsche gehen mit dieser Message an den Bürgermeister und dieEinwohner von Hasankeyf - und nicht zuletzt an Arif Arslan.
Hans Branscheidt

16.10.02: Dams threaten Cambodia's "floods of fortune"

CHHNOK TROU, Cambodia - Flashing a broad, toothless grin, Loeng Yang Boi gazes out from the boat which has been his home for the last 40 years and indulges in the familiar daydream of the fisherman.

"It was this big," the 71-year-old said, his dark eyes lighting up and leathery arms stretching out to indicate the size of the giant cat-fish he once caught as a young man.
"But that was over 30 years ago, even before the Khmer Rouge came," he said, recalling the glory days of Cambodia's Tonle Sap, southeast Asia's biggest lake whose bountiful waters, ebbing and flowing with the seasons, support some 1.2 million fishermen.

"Now, the fish I catch are getting smaller and smaller. There are so many fishermen they catch fish faster than they breed," he said, pointing to the hundreds of little house-boats that make up this bustling floating village.

For thousands of years, the chocolate brown waters of the Tonle Sap, rising and falling in a unique annual cycle, have supported countless generations of fishermen, bringing fame and fortune to this small southeast Asian nation.

Legend has it the stunning temple complexes of Angkor, built by the mighty Khmer civilisation which ruled supreme in Indochina 1,000 years ago, were built on wealth netted from the lake.

Today, Cambodia, an impoverished international minnow of just 13 million people, lands over 400,000 tonnes of fresh-water fish a year, ranking it only behind China, India and Bangladesh.

Some two-thirds of this comes from the Tonle Sap, providing vital income and food for a nation slowly emerging from three decades of war.


For all the familiar doom and gloom of the fishermen, scientists fear the future of the lake, and in particular the annual floods so crucial to its fisheries, could be at risk.

Every spring, as glacial melt-waters from China and Tibet flow down the Mekong, the lake swells to five times its dry season size, covering some 15,000 sq km (5,800 sq mile) - nearly as big as Lake Ontario in North America.

Come November's dry season, the level of the mighty river falls back down and the lake slowly drains away again.

Fish follow these "floods of fortune", as locals call them, in their billions to feed in the rich waters of the mangrove swamps and inundated woodlands around the lake's shores.

But experts who have studied old Mekong records from Laos - Cambodia's data was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge - are worried the ever-growing number of dams in the river's upper reaches are smoothing out the annual ebb and flow and reducing the floods.

"Not only are dams decreasing the water flow, they also cut off access for fish larvae to their spawning areas," said Nicolaas van Zalinge, a Mekong River Commission biologist who says the river level has dropped some 12 percent since the 1960s.

In China, one huge dam, soon to be joined by a second, already spans the Mekong and some 25,000 other minor irrigation projects, many of them built with U.S. aid in northeast Thailand during the Vietnam war, are dotted throught its watershed.

With more massive projects planned for coming years - including a cross-Mekong dam at Sambo in central Cambodia - van Zalinge urges politicians to pause for reflection.

"For a long time there has been a push for the building of dams and irrigation systems driven by the big banks," van Zalinge said. "Governments must consider their effects when investing in irrigation and other schemes."


Van Zalinge believes the lake's fisheries are sustainable at current levels of flooding and fishing - but only if the delicate ecosystem is protected from a host of other threats.

With the increased destruction of ancient rainforest across the region and the consequent rise in erosion, it is debatable whether the lake will be there at all in the long term, or whether it will have completely silted up.

"The level of siltation is very minimal but we should be concerned about the amount of deforestation upstream and around the lake," said Nao Thuok, director general of Cambodia's Department of Fisheries.

"Maybe in 100 years' time there will be one very shallow or two separate lakes," he said.

Doomsday predictions of the Tonle Sap disappearing within the next few decades are looking unlikely, but the Cambodian government and Asian Development Bank are sufficiently concerned to be investigating projects to reduce the effects of siltation.

Fishermen are also being urged to do their bit, by using larger mesh nets to allow young fish to escape and go off to breed, and to stop clearing mangrove swamps around the lake to make way for new rice fields in the dry season.

"One of my main concerns is the rampant clearing of the floodwater forests around the lake, which are the vital habitat of the fish," Nao Thuok said.

But for all the strong words, a lack of environmental education for fisheries officials combined with Cambodia's notoriously lax law enforcement does not suggest change will take place overnight.

Meanwhile, far away from the scientists' bar charts and satellite maps, the fishermen themselves are beginning to contemplate the beginning of the end of an ancient way of life.

"Nine years ago, all this used to be mangroves," said Ngyen Yang Chou, 58, with a broad sweep of his arm across the waves which have served as home to generations of his forebears.

"But it's all been cleared to make way for rice fields. I think maybe I will look into farming and send my children to the village. It is too difficult to make a living on the water."

Story by Ed Cropley


03.10.02 : Farmed salmon 'infect wild fish'

The strongest evidence so far that wild fish are being infected by farmed salmon is to be presented to a conference in Denmark on Thursday.
Scottish Executive scientists found large numbers of sea lice near the mouth of the River Shieldaig in the Western Highlands, where young trout emerge into the sea.
And their research indicates the devastating parasites came from nearby salmon cages.

But farmers say the sharp decline in wild salmon and sea trout along the Scottish coastline began long before they were there, and they are developing better techniques to control disease.
Conservation groups say wild salmon have declined by two-thirds in the past 30 years, and are increasingly susceptible to impacts from industry.
And, they claim, the rapid growth of salmon farming is one of the main threats to the wild fish.

'Working together'

The research suggested that every second year, when farms are at an early stage of breeding, numbers of sea lice fell.
Samples taken offshore also showed sea lice moving from cages to the shore - not the other way around.

But John Russell, whose firm Marine Harvest runs a fish farm on Lake Torridon, north-west Scotland, told the BBC sea lice were a problem for everyone.
He said: "What we have to do is look at how we can achieve the aims of the area management schemes we have running down this coast of Scotland.
"That is to minimalise the burden of sea lice on farm salmon and wild fish, and we have to work positively together to do that. "We are doing that in this area."
Salmon farmers around the North Atlantic produced 4,783 tonnes in 1980, and 658,735 tonnes in 2000.

Sale ban

The Atlantic Salmon Federation, Greenpeace and the global environment campaign, WWF, are calling for "fish-farming free zones" to protect rivers and bays.
They also want commercial wild salmon fisheries on migratory feeding grounds in the Faroes and West Greenland to close.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Executive has banned the sale of salmon and sea trout caught by rod and line in an attempt to conserve wild fish stocks.
Deputy rural development minister Allan Wilson said the ban had "overwhelming" support from the individuals and organisations consulted.
"In many of our rivers, anglers are being encouraged to release salmon and sea trout they have caught.
"And increasing numbers of them are doing this.
"It is unacceptable that sport fishermen try to catch as many as possible so they can sell them."

Source: BBC News

04.10.02 Des Marches "al Mediterraneo" démarrent des bassins de l'Ebre, du Jucar et du Segura en Espagne et du bassin du Rhône en France, pour converger le 23 novembre à Valencia lors de la Convention Ramsar. in english

La "Marcha al Mediterraneo" part le 30 octobre du bassin de l'Ebre, à Reinosa (source de l'Ebre en Cantabria), mais 2 autres Marches doivent démarrer, l'une du bassin du Jucar, l'autre du bassin du Segura.

Toutes convergeront le dimanche 24 novembre à Valencia pour une grande manifestation (pour mémoire, la dernière manifestation en date du 10 mars 02, a réuni plus de 400 000 personnes à Barcelone). Le départ de cette manifestation pour la Nouvelle Culture de l'Eau et contre le PHN aura lieu à 12h00, Plaza de San Agustin.

Du 15 au 26 novembre, se tient en Espagne, à Valencia, la 8ème convention RAMSAR des Nations Unies pour la protection des zones humides, qui réunit les représentants des Ministères de l'Environnement de 130 pays.

Cette rencontre internationale donne l'occasion aux opposants du PHN de se faire entendre : "Nous devons nous dépêcher, presse l'un des représentants du mouvement. Le Parti Populaire (de M. Aznar) veut convaincre tout le monde que le transfert de la rivière Ebro est quelque chose de déjà établi et qu'il n'y a plus besoin d'argumenter ni de discuter. Il est clair que nous ne pouvons pas les laisser gagner ce round... !!!"
"Ce n'est pas une lutte contre les autres communautés qui attendent de recevoir l'eau de l'Ebre, a expliqué l'un des porte-paroles, mais une opportunuité de communiquer à tous nos préoccupations et notre choix en faveur d'une Nouvelle Culture de l'Eau".

Le Rhône est visé également par le PHN : son transfert vers Barcelone est utilisé comme alternative compensatrice au transfert de l'Ebre vers le sud. L'idée est donc, pour les défenseurs de l'environnement et des rivières du côté français, de se joindre au mouvement général espagnol et d'en profiter pour informer sur le PHN, les transferts de l'Ebre et du Rhône.

E.R.N. organise une caravane d'information, qui débutera le 11 novembre à Nîmes (siège de la B.R.L. société d'aménagement mixte promotrice du projet de transfert du Rhône à Barcelone) et passera par Montpellier le 12 nov, Narbonne le 13, Perpignan le 14, pour atteindre la frontière espagnole à la Jonquera le 15 novembre (nuit à Girona). La marche continue en arrivant le 16 à Barcelone, avec étape le soir pour dormir à Xerta. Le 17, arrivée dans le Delta de l'Ebro, à Tortosa. Le 18, arrivée dans le petit port de pêche de Sant Carles de la Rapita. Pour les autres jours, la marche française continue de suivre la Marcha al Mediterraneo de l'Ebre...

E.R.N. compte sur les initiatives locales pour animer les étapes de cette Marche d'information sur le transfert du Rhône.
Des Catalans de la P.O.T. Plataforma d'Oposicion als Transvasments (Girona) seront présents lors de la Marche côté français. Ils témoigneront que la Catalogne a suffisamment d'eau à sa disposition, qu'elle a plutôt un problème de gestion à résoudre qui ne passera pas par une dépendance accrue.

Pour plus d'infos (français, english, espagol):

03.10.02 English and Welsh rivers 'improving'

By Alex Kirby BBC News Online environment correspondent
English and Welsh rivers are cleaner than at any time since records began, the Environment Agency says. It says urban rivers have started catching up with rural ones. Its annual survey of over 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles) of rivers and canals says the substantial improvements since 1990 have been sustained. River quality is one of the UK Government's 15 headline indicators of sustainable development.
In 2001, 95% of rivers (or 38,567 km) in England and Wales were found to be of good or fair chemical quality, 1% more than in 2000 and 10% up on 1990. The number of rivers classed as chemically "bad" dropped to 0.3%, 133 km (0.4% in 2000 and 2.4% in 1990). Otters return Urban rivers were historically polluted by industry, sewage overflows, road run-off, and domestic plumbing misconnections. But the agency says they are showing "something of a renaissance", although figures still show that around one in eight is categorised as "poor" or "bad".
The agency says the decline of industry over the last two decades, and tighter regulations since 1990, have resulted in "vast" improvements in river quality. In 2001, nearly 87% of urban rivers were found to have good or fair water quality, compared with 80% in 2000 and 57% in 1990. The River Tyne in north-east England is now recording the best salmon catch statistics for England and Wales. Signs of otters are being found in urban catchments in the English Midlands, as rivers become clean enough to support sustainable fish populations and thus top predators. Vulnerable zones Salford Quays in Manchester - once so polluted that no fish survived - was the venue of the long-distance swimming leg of the 2002 Commonwealth Games triathlon.

The agency also says phosphate levels in rivers, which help to cause eutrophication, or unlimited growth of water plants, have fallen since 1990. In 2001, 54% of all surveyed rivers were found to have high concentrations of phosphates, 10% fewer than in the first survey in 1990. The agency says the reduction is likely to result in part from more stringent treatment carried out at sewage works by water companies, as well as changes in the chemical make-up of detergents. Nitrate levels - which have not declined in the same way as phosphates - have been found in high concentrations in 30% of all rivers since 1995. To address this, the government says it will announce new nitrate vulnerable zones shortly in affected areas to reduce nitrate pollution from farming land. Farming changes Levels of key nutrients, such as phosphate and nitrate, are highest in the Midlands, East and South of the country where population density is highest and farming methods the most intense. Sir John Harman, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: "The improvement to urban rivers is good news, but more work needs to be done. "Clearly all urban rivers are still not as clean as they could be. We are working hard to persuade planners and developers to use sustainable urban drainage systems, which collect and treat urban run-off before it reaches rivers." Researchers addressing the British Association's science festival in Leicester last month said a new directive from Brussels could lead to radical changes in the way agricultural land was managed across Europe, with some types of farming being scaled back or even abandoned in some of their traditional areas.
The Water Framework Directive will require all rivers, lakes and canals to be returned to "good ecological quality" within 15 years - and the measure of quality will be far tougher than it is now. Scientists at the festival said that to comply with this new regime, pollution - such as from the leaching of fertilisers from fields - would have to be more tightly controlled than it is now.

BBC News

01.10.02: Rainfall Research To Aid Flood Control

Researchers at the University of Essex, working with partners in Italy, Germany, Denmark and other UK organisations, have discovered a new method of measuring rainfall that could help to improve flood control. The recent floods that devastated much of Central Europe have highlighted the need for accurate rainfall forecasting. The new technique, which uses dual-frequency microwave links, will now be tested in the Irwell Valley in NW England, in the mountains of Italy, and in the Ruhr region of Germany as part of the MANTISSA project, funded under the EU's Fifth Framework Programme. Read more here
source : CORDIS RTD-NEWS, via European Water Management News

01.10.02 : U.S. wants to flood Canyon to save native fish

The Arizona Republic October 1, 2002 By Shaun McKinnon

Federal officials want to flood the Grand Canyon and evict thousands of non-native fish from the Colorado River next year in a repeat of a controversial 1996 experiment that produced inconclusive results and temporary benefits. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will present its proposal at public briefing sessions this week in Phoenix and Flagstaff, outlining a plan scientists hope will begin to mend an ecosystem bruised more than 40 years ago by the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. The two-year experiment calls for artificial floods similar to one staged in 1996 aimed at rebuilding some of the riverbanks and beach habitats along the canyon floor. Scientists also would remove as many as 20,000 non-native rainbow and brown trout from the river in an effort to improve conditions for endangered native fish such as the humpback chub, whose numbers have dwindled from 8,000 to about 2,000 since the mid-1990s. The trout are thought to prey on the chub.
The experiments are part of a long-term goal of correcting problems created by the dam, including the loss of natural sediment, a drop in water temperature and the introduction of non-native fish. The floods, for example, attempt to mimic temporarily the natural behavior of the river, whose flows once fluctuated significantly over a year's time. A 1996 flood, presided over by former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, then-Interior secretary, appeared to shore up some of the damaged beaches with few of the side effects predicted by critics. Later studies suggested the flood's effects were short-lived and did little to help the endangered fish. Several environmental groups say the latest plan is too little too late, especially for the chub and other species struggling to survive in their altered environment.
Owen Lammers, executive director of Living Rivers, called the proposal "the latest act in a six-year-long charade" by the bureau and water and power interests whose inattention has threatened the river's ecosystem. "They just want to tell the public, 'we tried,' and then go back to operating the dam however they wish once the fish are extinct," Lammers said. He said the experiments fail to reintroduce any new sediments and nutrients critical for native fish habitat and don't address the need to raise water temperatures below the dam. Native fish struggle to survive in the colder river, while the non-native predators thrive.

Nikolai Ramsey, program officer for Flagstaff-based Grand Canyon Trust, said the experiments will produce benefits, but delays in their start have compromised the overall goals. Changes in the river's flow should have begun in early September to properly prepare the river for a full-scale artificial flood, Ramsey said. He also worries that the government has lost sight of the endangered fish, which continue to die. "We should be putting our efforts more strongly into saving the chub," Ramsey said. "This is a fish that has lived in the Colorado River and only the Colorado River for 2 million years and now is close to extinction because of what we've done to the river." Ramsey predicts stiff opposition to the government's plan from both environmentalists and others with a stake in the river, including sport fishery groups. The timing and scale of the experiments will hinge in part on weather conditions in the coming months. Drought choked summer runoff from the Paria River, a tributary of the Colorado that in normal years would have shifted sand and sediment downstream into position for the artificial floods. Scientists don't yet know if there's enough to stage a flood by January.

Randy Peterson, manager of the bureau's upper-Colorado environmental resources division, said that plans allow scientists to adjust the schedule for the larger floods, which send water gushing through Glen Canyon Dam's rarely used bypass tubes. Those floods would take place as soon as the Paria delivers enough sand and sediment. The fish relocation could begin as early as January, when above-normal flows from the dam would be used to disrupt spawning. Later in the year, biologists would use electrical charges to stun the fish at various spots along the river. The non-native fish would be removed and relocated, while native species would be left in the river.

Source: The Arizona Republic October 1, 2002 By Shaun McKinnon
Electronic Information Services PO BOX 466 Moab, UT 84532 Tel: 435.259.1063 Fax: 435.259.7612 PO BOX 1589 Scottsdale, AZ 85252 Tel: 480.990.7839 Fax: 480.990.2662

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