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08.10.05 : Bishop Ends Fast Over Brazil Irrigation Project

BRAZIL: October 7, 2005 CABROBO, Brazil - A militant bishop on Thursday ended a hunger strike staged in protest against a huge irrigation project for Brazil's impoverished northeast after a government envoy promised to open new discussions on the plan

"My fast is suspended in favor of life," Roman Catholic Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio said outside the small chapel on the banks of Sao Francisco River in Pernambuco state where he has fasted for the past 11 days.
Cappio had vowed to keep up his hunger strike until he died unless President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government canceled the $2 billion project to divert river water through a network of canals. He says it would harm the environment and help big business at the expense of the poor.
The 59-year-old leftist priest stopped his protest after five hours of talks with the government's political coordination minister, Jacques Wagner, and the Vatican's ambassador to Brazil, Lorenzo Baldiserri.
The head of the National Bishops Conference of Brazil, Odilo Scherer, said the Vatican had intervened in the case by asking the government to seek an accord with Cappio. But he criticized the bishop for using a hunger strike as a tactic.
Cappio said his decision was based on a government pledge to begin talking with concerned parties on other possibilities for the project before starting work.
The government also committed itself to pushing through Congress 300 million reais ($130 million) per year in funding for a 20-year plan to revitalize the polluted Sao Francisco River and protect the region's environment, he said.
The original budget for environmental aspects of the project -- which is still awaiting a final go-ahead from the state environmental watchdog Ibama -- had been meager.

The dispute was an uncomfortable one for Lula, who took office in 2003 as a champion of the poor and a campaigner for the environment. Cappio was an old ally of his during his rise from grass-roots politics.
The bishop, who has campaigned to save the river and worked with the rural poor for years, sang a hymn before announcing the agreement to call off the fast.
"The key was extending talks and debate before the beginning of the project," said Wagner, standing at his side.
Dozens of local people and supporters who have attended nightly Masses held by Cappio cheered the news. But others were skeptical.
The bishop's adviser, Adriano Martins, said that based on the Lula government's record, "I have all the reasons in the world to distrust these promises."
Cappio said he could go on hunger strike again if the deal was not honored.
The project was to pump water from the Sao Francisco River to 12 million people in drought-hit areas of the arid northeast, the poorest region in this vast country.
Engineers were to dig 440 miles (700 km) of canals and build pumps to transfer water from the river across four states. The 1,700-mile (2,700-km) river rises in Minas Gerais state and flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
In a letter delivered to Cappio, Lula reminded him of his own roots in a poor family in the northeast.
"When I was a boy I had to collect rainwater to drink and walk kilometers with a bucket on my head to get a little water for the house," Lula said.

But he added: "Twelve million people need water to live."
Story by Andrew Hay

07.10.05 : US : agreement to begin dredging New York's Hudson River to remove toxic waste.

WASHINGTON - The US government and General Electric Co. said Thursday they reached an agreement to begin dredging New York's Hudson River to remove toxic waste.
The effort to remove polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from a 43-mile stretch of the Hudson River is due to begin in 2007 under the terms of the agreement filed in federal court in Albany, New York.
GE said it has committed $111 million to the US Environmental Protection Agency for past costs and future oversight of the work. The EPA said GE has paid $37 million and the new pact calls for it to pay up to $78 million more.
"This is an important milestone in this complex environmental project that will result in a healthier river, providing vast economic and recreational opportunities," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said in a statement.
The government says GE released large quantities of PCBs into the river from two major electrical equipment manufacturing facilities along the river for about 30 years, ending in the 1970s.
PCBs were widely used for fire prevention and insulation in the manufacture of transformers because of their ability to withstand high temperatures. PCBs can accumulated in fish, posing a cancer risk to people who eat the fish.
The EPA has estimated the total cost to be $500 million to remove an estimated 150,000 pounds of PCBs.
In phase one of the project, GE will hire contractors to conduct the dredging and construct and operate a sediment processing facility and then transport the dried sediment for final disposal outside the Hudson Valley. Each week, up to 250 rail cars will transport sediment from the processing facility, said GE.
There will be an independent review of phase one, that aims to remove about 10 percent of the contaminated sediment, before further dredging is conducted.
Critics of the dredging have charged it could stir up contaminants and cause more harm than good.
"We will work with EPA, the State of New York and other stakeholders to ensure this project is conducted safely and in a way that addresses both PCBs in the river and the concerns of local communities that may be impacted by the project," said Stephen Ramsey, GE's vice president of corporate environmental programs.
GE, which had net income of $4.65 billion in its second quarter, did not comment on what impact, if any, it would have on its earnings.
The company Thursday raised its profit forecast for the year and its chief executive said the US economy was "pretty darn good," giving GE shares their biggest one-day percentage boost in 21 months.
GE closed up 2.8 percent at $33.59, its best one-day gain since January 2004.



02.10.05 : Sao Francisco River Diversion: Brazil bishop makes river protest

By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Sao Paulo
The Sao Francisco river also provides hydroelectric power

A Roman Catholic bishop in Brazil has gone on hunger strike and says he is
prepared to die unless a controversial environmental project is cancelled.
Luiz Flavio Cappio, 59, is protesting against plans to divert some of the
water from the Sao Francisco river.
The diverted water will be pumped into four arid states in the extreme
north-east of Brazil.
The bishop has said that he is putting his life in the hands of President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Bishop Cappio has been refusing food since Monday lunchtime.
He is drinking small amounts of water but has made it clear he is prepared
to die if his demands aren't met.
A written declaration even names the exact spot where his body is to be

Billion dollar plan
His protest is against one of Brazil's most ambitious but controversial
environmental projects.

It would see water from the 3,000-km (1,800-mile) Sao Francisco river
diverted via a series of canals and aqueducts to four drought-prone states
in north-eastern Brazil.

The project will cost more than $2bn.Opponents say the scheme will benefit only the wealthiest landowners in the north-east and reduce the capacity of dams on the Sao Francisco river to generate hydro-electric energy.
Bishop Cappio has called on President Lula to halt the project before final approval is granted by the country's environment agency. By coincidence, President Lula was visiting the bishop's home state of Bahia
on Wednesday. He has made no public comment but it is understood the presidential palace
is following the case closely.

Glenn Switkes
International Rivers Network, São Paulo
tel (+55) 11.3822.4157

[NOTE FROM IRN ON THIS PROJECT: This project to divert waters from the Sao Francisco River in northeastern Brazil will channel about 3% of the annual flow of the Sao Francisco through 500 km of canals to regional rivers for irrigation and urban water supplies, as well as for industry. Opponents of the project say there is insufficient flow in the Sao Francisco to guarantee adequate supplies for all users.] 

24.09.05 : Ilisu-Staudamm zu verkaufen (TAZ)

Selbst die Weltbank will mit dem Projekt nichts mehr zu tun haben: Seit Jahrzehnten protestieren die Kurden gegen den Ilisu-Staudamm am Tigris. Jetzt sucht Siemens einen Käufer für das umstrittene Projekt. Geplanter Baubeginn: schon im Oktober
Jahrelang haben die kurdischen Anwohner gegen den Ilisu-Staudamm im Südosten der Türkei gekämpft - jetzt entscheidet sich, wer ihr nächster Gegner ist. Das EU-Kartellamt hat Siemens vorgeschrieben, die Hydro-Sparte der VA-Tech zu verkaufen. Der geschätzte Preis von 300 Millionen Euro enthält auch den umstrittenen Ilisu-Staudamm.

Daniela Setton von der Nichtregierungsorganisation WEED ist überzeugt, dass der Damm sehr wichtig für den Deal ist: "Mit vollen Auftragsbüchern lässt sich die VA-Tech Hydro besser verkaufen." Das Bauvolumen beträgt rund 1,5 bis 2 Milliarden Dollar. Die VA-Tech Hydro habe ihren Kunden versichert, dass die Geschäfte "wie bisher" weiterlaufen.

Die jahrelangen internationalen Proteste schienen zunächst Erfolg zu haben: 2002 zogen sich alle Firmen aus dem Projekt zurück. Nur die VA-Tech hielt an dem Staudamm fest und gründete ein neues Baukonsortium, zu dem auch die deutsche Züblin AG gehört. Der Baubeginn ist nun für Oktober geplant, wie türkische Behörden mitteilten.

Ilisu ist ein Teil des 32 Milliarden Dollar teuren Südostanatolien-Projektes GAP (Güney Anadolu Projesi). Insgesamt besteht es aus 22 Staudämmen und 19 Wasserkraftwerken. Die Pläne gehen auf die 50er-Jahre zurück, Baubeginn war 1977. Bislang wurden sechs Staudämme errichtet. Mit verheerenden Konsequenzen: In den Nachbarstaaten Syrien und Irak wird das Wasser knapp, die Böden versalzen, durch die Mücken auf den künstlichen Seen breiten sich Tropenkrankheiten aus. Hunderttausende der Bewohner wurden vertrieben, oft ohne entsprechende Entschädigung. Selbst die Weltbank sah ihre Standards nicht mehr gewährleistet und stieg 1984 aus dem Projekt aus.

Nun sollen weitere 78.000 Menschen umgesiedelt und 7 Millionen Hektar fruchtbares Ackerland überflutet werden. Versinken würde auch die 12.000 Jahre alte Stadt Hasankeyf. Die Vertriebenen seien oft "schwer traumatisiert", berichtet Handan Coskun vom Projekt Dikasum in Diyarbakir, das zwangsumgesiedelte Frauen betreut: "Die Selbstmordrate war zeitweise extrem hoch."

Die türkische Regierung hat angekündigt, den Staudamm nur zu genehmigen, wenn verbesserte Umwelt- und Umsiedlungspläne vorliegen. Inzwischen wurde eine Firma aus Ankara beauftragt, die Bewohner zu befragen. Ercan Ayboga von der kritischen Ilisu-Plattform hält diese Umfragen für "Augenwischerei", denn "die entscheidenden Fragen werden nicht gestellt". Die Bewohner dürften sich nicht zu dem Staudammprojekt selbst äußern, stattdessen würden sie etwa nach Essensvorlieben gefragt. "Außerdem sind die Umsiedlungspläne immer noch nicht veröffentlicht, obwohl der Bau im Oktober beginnen soll."

Für VA-Tech Hydro interessiert sich auch der österreichische Industrielle Mirko Kovats - auch bekannt als "Mister Top Deal". Seine Firma nimmt keine Stellung zu dem Damm: "Wir haben lediglich prinzipielles Interesse am Kauf." Auch Siemens erklärt: "Ilisu hat keinen wesentlichen Einfluss auf den Verkaufspreis der VA-Tech Hydro."

WEED hingegen hält es für "äußerst unwahrscheinlich", dass ein Großauftrag wie Ilisu unbedeutend sein soll für eine Verkaufsentscheidung. Zumal nicht ausgeschlossen ist, dass die Bundesregierung den Bau mit einer Hermes-Bürgschaft absichert. "Ein Antrag auf Deckung des Projektes durch die Exportkreditversicherungen der beteiligten Länder ist beabsichtigt", bestätigt Ulrich Weinmann, Geschäftsführer der Züblin International GmbH.

Die ökologischen und sozialen Probleme dürften die Bundesregierung nicht abhalten, sich beim Ilisu-Staudamm zu engagieren. Das International Rivers Network kritisiert: "Deutschland und Österreich sind in der OECD die einzigen europäischen Länder, die verschärfte Standards für Staudämme blockieren."

taz Nr. 7777 vom 24.9.2005, Seite 8, 129 Zeilen (TAZ-Bericht), ARIANE BRENSSELL,1


23.09.05 : Doubts about value of large international water meetings

Two water experts call for a reappraisal of global water conferences. In a discussion note, Peter Gleick and Jon Lane express ''significant doubts about the added value of additional global conferences unless they are carefully designed, limited in scope, and focused in effort''. They suggest that future global conferences stick to global issues, while smaller and cheaper regional or sectoral meetings would be better at achieving practical results. They also recommend that ministerial meetings should be organised by the United Nations or national governments, not as parts of mega-conferences like the World Water Forums organised by the World Water Council (WWC).

Find the article abstraction here :

source: IRC Source Weekly via EWMN


22.09.05 : Inauguration of the South West Wastewater Treatment Plant in St Petersburg - an important step towards an improved environment in the Baltic Sea

Today the St Petersburg South West Wastewater Treatment Plant has been put into operation in the presence of President Putin and Mrs Valentina Matvienko, Governor of the City. This new treatment plant will biologically clean the wastewaters of a 720,000 population equivalent. It will help to meet the Helsinki Commission Recommendations and EU standards of water treatment, contributing significantly to the upgrading of water quality in the Baltic Sea and thus benefiting all neighbouring Baltic Sea countries.

source : EIE , via EWMN

15.09.05 : Announcement: WCD+5: Implementing the Recommendations of the World Commission on Dams. (Expert Workshop, Panel Discussion and Media Conference in Berlin, November 15) , organized by IRN (International Rivers Network)

WCD+5 celebrates the fifth anniversary of the launch of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) report. WCD+5 will bring together experts, government representatives and activists with experience in working toward the implementation of the WCD recommendations. The conference’s two specific objectives will be:

To showcase the broad public support for the WCD report, and share knowledge about how it has been utilized. Five years after the launch of the report, many governments, financial institutions and international organizations are utilizing the report in their efforts to improve decision-making processes related to large dams and water and energy projects.

To bring together interested experts from all over the world to share experiences with the implementation of the WCD recommendations. The conference is meant to support discussions about good models for the implementation of the WCD guidelines. Participants will be encouraged to discuss challenges to implementation and solutions.

-for program an more informations : please visite IRN Website :

-for more information on the WCD: visite the RiverNet Webpages


08.09.05 : Drome River Project Wins International Thiess Riverprize

By Coastal Cooperative Research Centre

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA ­ The Drome River Valley in southern France has won the prestigious 2005
International Thiess Riverprize for its restoration and management efforts.

The AUD$150,000 International Thiess Riverprize was awarded at a gala function on 7 September
during the 8th International Riversymposium in Brisbane, involving more than 450 delegates from
30 countries. This is the richest river prize in the world.

The Drome river, once too polluted for swimming and sucked dry by agricultural irrigation, has
seen significant improvement in its water quality, wetland biology and flood risks.

“The restoration of the Drome River Valley is an excellent example of a collaborative partnership
of local governments working through the Communaute de Communes du Val de Drome (CCVD)
with local stakeholders to produce a model for European river management,” said Professor Paul
Greenfield, chair of the international judging panel.

“The panel was particularly impressed with the achievements and progress over a 20-year period
to monitor river flows and upgrade sewage treatment facilities. The actions of the CCVD
have ensured sustainable development of the Drome River Valley.”

A delegation of French water experts is visiting Brisbane to participate in the symposium and receive the award.

Other international finalists for the International Thiess Riverprize were the
Kissimmee River Restoration Project (USA), the St. Croix International Waterway project
(Canada), the Sha River Restoration project (China) and the Hudson River Estuary project (USA).

In Australia, the Bulimba Creek Catchment Association won the $50,000 National Thiess
Riverprize for restoration, revegetation and clean-up efforts of a large Brisbane urban creek.

French water managers from the Drome River restoration project are available for interviews in Brisbane, 6-9 September.

By Coastal Cooperative Research Centre
Contact Information

Jean Louis Hilaire
President, CCVD France
+33 6715 30456

Magalie Vieux-Melchior
+33 4752 54382

Jenni Metcalfe
+ 61 408 55166

Don Alcock
+ 61 418 882 063

Web site:


Delta's marshes, islands form buffers against storm surges, scientists say

(Glen Martin, Chronicle Environment Writer)
The catastrophic flooding of New Orleans was long predicted by scientists, and researchers are now promoting a way to avoid similar disasters in the future -- a Manhattan Project-style effort to restore the barrier islands and vast marshes that once protected the city from the sea and storms.

Scientists note that over a period of 7,000 years, the Mississippi River created a huge delta that sheltered the region now supporting New Orleans from storm surges.

But the delta -- and its wetlands and islands -- have been steadily shrinking since 1930, thanks to river diversion projects that have prevented the river from depositing silt and sand at its mouth. Instead, the sediment has been directed further offshore, beyond the continental shelf.

To ensure that a catastrophe like Katrina won't be repeated, say scientists, a significant portion of the old system must be reconstructed.

"New Orleans won't be safe from another storm like Katrina until we restore this hurricane buffer," said Robert Twilley, a professor of wetland science at Louisiana State University and the leader of a team overseeing a $2 billion marshland rehabilitation project in the state.

"But protecting New Orleans will take a lot more than $2 billion," said Twilley.

"A very rough estimate is $14 billion," he said.

Prior to the European settlement of the area, about 3.6 million acres of marsh and an extensive system of sandy offshore islands surrounded the mouth of the Mississippi River, protecting inland areas from the worst effects of storm surges and waves, said Twilley.

These marshes and islands were the direct handiwork of the river, which continually dumped sediment into its delta, Twilley said.

The Mississippi's outlet would shift over time, from east to west and back again, constantly building up new islands and wetlands with the sand and silt harvested during the river's course through North America.

"Wetland loss was part of the process, but it was always accompanied by wetland gain," Twilley said.

But this ecological dynamic began changing in the 1900s, Twilley said.

Levees were built around New Orleans after a disastrous 1927 flood, and an extensive canal and levee system was dug throughout the delta to accommodate navigation and oil development through the 1940s. The Mississippi River was basically channelized, and its sediment load directed off the continental shelf.

The wetlands and barrier islands began withering away. More than 1 million acres have been lost since 1930. Scientists predict another 300,000 acres will disappear by 2050 if the trend isn't reversed. And with each acre lost, said Twilley, the threat to New Orleans is increased.

The consequences of wetland and barrier island loss have been clear to scientists for some time. Detailed scenarios of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans -- many eerily similar to what transpired with Katrina -- have been published in both the popular and scientific presses at least since the early 1990s.

"By the early 1970s, we knew the diagnostics of how the system was changing," Twilley said.

Now, Twilley said, scientists are ready with a "prescription" to reverse the trend: reconnecting the river to its historic delta, removing some canals and other artificial structures, distributing dredge spoils so that wetlands and barrier islands once again emerge from the gulf waters.

Such a restoration would have benefits other than surge control, scientists say. Specifically, it should bolster the region's important seafood industry. Gulf wetlands are critical nursery areas for a wide range of commercially important marine species, including shrimp, blue crab, oysters, redfish, menhaden and weakfish.

Some research indicates that storm surge in adjacent inland areas is reduced by 1 foot for every square mile -- 640 acres -- of wetland that is restored. Gregory Stone, the James P. Morgan professor of coastal geology at Louisiana State University, said a sufficiently ambitious project would have a dramatic effect on New Orleans and its environs.

"We've undertaken lots of storm surge computer simulation during the last five years, and we've proven the effect of (restored islands and marshes) in retarding storm waves and surges," Stone said.

"We also have data that conclusively shows the Louisiana coast becoming more vulnerable every year if we don't bolster marshes and islands," he said.

Restoration could be challenging from an engineering standpoint, Stone acknowledged. The Mississippi Delta is a dynamic and complex environment, and it remains unclear if sufficient raw materials are at hand.

Most pointedly, the Mississippi is no longer the Big Muddy of yesteryear. Upstream diversions, development and channelization have greatly reduced the amount of sand and silt carried by the river.

"We can use diversion structures to redirect sediment (coming down the river) that is now going off the continental shelf," said Scott Faber, a water resources specialist with Environmental Defense, an environmental group active in Gulf of Mexico wetland restoration.

"Unfortunately, the amount of sediment carried by the river is less than 50 percent of (historic) levels," he said.

Jim Tripp, the general counsel for Environmental Defense, said the use of diversion structures could be augmented in the short term with sand dredged from offshore areas. But scientists caution that it is unclear just how much sand is available.

"We're not sure of the amount of sand resources off our coast (that can be exploited)," Stone said, "and that's a critical issue. This isn't just a beach-replenishment project. This would be a complete restoration of these barrier islands, a matter of substantially increasing their three-dimensional geometry so they can really do something to retard surge and erosion."

Researchers must also figure out how to accomplish the restoration without affecting local industry, Twilley said.

"We have to do this in the context of sustaining economic activities -- oil and gas, commercial fishing, shipping, fresh water deliveries," he said. "It won't be an easy task."

Currently, Twilley and other scientists are involved in a limited island and marsh restoration project in Louisiana. Bills are now before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to continue funding the project -- which has been in place for a decade -- for an additional 30 years at the current rate of $50 million annually.

But to accomplish the degree of restoration needed to truly protect New Orleans, Stone said, an exponential increase in funding would be required -- about $500 million annually for the 30-year period.

Faber compared such an effort to the Manhattan Project or to putting a man on the moon, and urged for approval of the accelerated funding.

"Congress hadn't planned on providing funds to resolve all the scientific uncertainties this year," Faber said. "But if we don't want to see a repeat of this disaster, the restorations we thought might take decades must now be completed in years."

source: Glen Martin, Chronicle Environment Writer
via International Rivers Network

31.08.05 : Work with nature, not against it to reduce risk of floods in Europe, says WWF

Brussels, Belgium - As the European Commission is preparing a new EU
Directive on Flood Risk Management, WWF asks that lessons be learnt from the
repeated catastrophic flood events across Europe.

While only 20 per cent of Europe's natural floodplains are estimated to be
still functional and thus able to store water, the global conservation
organisation says that the only sustainable solution to reduce the risk of
further devastating floods is to work with nature, rather than against it.

Parts of Europe were flooded once more this summer and WWF deeply regrets
the suffering this has caused, in particular in the Alps and the lower
Danube region. Floods are a natural phenomenon that cannot be avoided, but
their frequency and intensity is growing due to global warming and climate
change. Still, the damage they inflict can be limited, but traditional
old-fashioned, engineering solutions for flood protection have proven not to
work without additional measures.

"The latest events clearly demonstrate that we cannot control floods of such
magnitude with technical means alone", says Tatjana Brombach, ecoregional
leader at WWF European Alpine Programme. "Building in areas at flood risk
just increases the danger of future flooding as even recent flood defence
engineering works, such as the Pflach dam in the Austrian Alps that broke
this summer, have been shown to be alarmingly vulnerable. The only long-term
solution is to reconsider the value of nature to help dealing with
torrential rains."

Land and water have a "natural" role to play in flood risk management via,
for example, water retention by floodplains and wetlands. These can act as
sponges, absorbing and retaining floodwaters to slowly release them
afterwards. However, having been disconnected from their rivers, drained and
in many cases used intensively by humans, floodplains and wetlands do not
play this role anymore. Broad riverbeds can absorb high water flows, but
rivers are now narrower because they have been turned into canals.
Consequently, flooding impacts are exacerbated, as floodwaters have nowhere
to go and rise above the level of artificial riverbanks and/or break through
dykes, causing enormous damage.

For years now, WWF has called on the EU and its Member States to change
their strategy for flood risk management and work with nature. The EU
already has laws that could promote natural flood risk reduction, in
particular the 2000 Water Framework Directive. Its implementation requires
the joint management of all land and waters making up a river basin,
including in cross-border regions, to improve upon its ecological condition.
This would demand improved land-use and forest management, providing more
space for riverbeds and making upland wetlands and lowland floodplains
functional again, thus reducing flooding.

Now the European Commission is developing a Directive dealing specifically
with the risks of flooding. "But natural flood control will not be promoted
unless new flood risk reduction measures are part of the Water Framework
Directive river basin management plans", says Eva Royo Gelabert, WWF
European Water Policy Officer. "Unfortunately, preparatory documents
indicate that this level of integration between the two Directives is not
foreseen, there is not even compatibility in their implementation
timetables. WWF asks the Commission to reconsider this in order to ensure
legal consistency between these Directives, avoid doubling administrative
efforts, save money and then effectively protect people."

Furthermore, WWF calls for EU financial support to the affected regions
through, for example, the EU Solidarity and Rural Development Funds to also
ensure long-term solutions to resolve the inadequate land-use and water
management policies that have contributed to these terrible flood events.

For further information:
- Eva Royo Gelabert, Senior European Water Policy Officer, WWF European Policy
Office, Tel. 02-7438814, email
- Claudia Delpero, Communications Manager, WWF European Policy Office, Tel.
+32-2-7400925, Mobile +32 497 406381, email
- Sergio Savoia, Communications Officer, WWF European Alpine Programme, Tel.
+41 (0)91 820 60 82, email

Notes to editors

· According to the European Commission, since 1998 floods have
caused some 700 deaths, the displacement of about half a million people and
over 25 billion Euro in ensured economic losses across Europe. This does not
include casualties and economic losses from this summer, when parts of
Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania and Switzerland have been affected by
flooding events.

· Link to the European Commission's Flood Risk Management Action
Programme aiming at reducing flood risk for people, property and the
environment: This
is a package including a Directive, which requires Member States to develop
flood risk reduction targets but leaves up to the meaures to reach them. The
public consultation process is ongoing and will end on September 14. For
further information

· The EU Water Framework Directive has been in force since 2000 and
aims to protect all European waters (inland surface waters, estuaries,
coastal waters and groundwater). Under the Directive, Member States are
obliged to prevent further deterioration and to enhance and restore the
status of aquatic ecosystems as well as terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands
that directly depend on aquatic ecosystems. The purpose is to improve
current unsustainable water management practices in order to achieve "good
ecological and chemical status" by 2015.


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