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08.10.06 : UK - Save The Rain™' Campaigns for widespread usage of rainwater harvesting

The campaign's vision is to make Rainwater Harvesting a commonplace option in UK homes - saving precious water resources by capturing millions of gallons of a freely available resource.

Save the Rain aims to engender a greater personal sense of responsibility for water saving measures through an intensive public awareness campaign. The campaign is being launched in association with British Water, and is sponsored by Hydro International, the UK leader in sustainable water management solutions.

'Waterwise welcomes the Save the Rain campaign. Careful and safe use of rainwater can significantly reduce a building's water consumption. With the right legislation and promotion, rainwater reuse can help ensure sustainable resources for the future. Saving water makes good economic sense and has environmental and social benefits too.' says Jacob Tompkins, Director of Waterwise.

Save the Rain is committed to achieving changes in regulations to make Rainwater Harvesting compulsory on all new buildings within three years. Save the Rain will also push for a system of grants to be available for householders to install collection systems.

Through the public awareness campaign, Save the Rain aims to generate growing public support and interest in water saving measures and increase pressure to push rain saving initiatives up the political agenda.

Says Chris Williams, Managing Director of Hydro International: "Hydro has decided to sponsor this campaign because we feel it is time to raise the profile of water saving and the potential of rainwater collection to help manage our water resource challenge which is likely to stay with us for many years to come.

"Water saving is yet to become a matter of personal environmental conscience in the same way as, say, paper and waste recycling, in many homes. If even ten per cent of homes and businesses used Rainwater Harvesting systems there would be a huge decrease in the demand on the UK's water resources. There would also be improvements to the sustainability of urban drainage networks, because these systems would help to hold back rainwater during peak storm events.

"Water availability per person is lower in the UK than for most other comparable European countries and is particularly acute in the South East," says Williams. "The demand for water has been growing by 1% per year for the past 75 years and now every person uses 150L/day on average. 30% of this water is used to flush toilets and a properly installed rainwater collection system could save all this water."

The Save the Rain campaign will provide a central source of information for housebuilders and installers requiring detailed and accurate information about the correct installation of Rainwater Harvesting systems.

For more information or a copy of the Save the Rain booklet visit or call 0800 294 0105.

For further information please email Hydro International

source : Edie News


04.10.06 : India : Sardar Sarovar Dam Work Begins in Total Violation of People's Rights

Press Release 4th October 2006 (NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN)

• Gujarat begins the work at Sardar Sarovar dam …
• In total violation of the Legal and Human Rights of 35,000 families.
• Without adjudication on Shunglu Committee Reports.
• With no progress on rehabilitation.

The killer wave has started flowing into the river valley of Narmada again. It is to wipe out a large chunk of the oldest of the world’s civilization, the habitats of the adivasis and the first farmers of Asia, the fish workers and boatmen with rights and leases granted by the kings before centuries… the artisans, laborers and traders, who continue to reside in the original villages on the bank of the mother river. They are the living communities, populated villages even townships today, there will be none tomorrow. No rehabilitation with an alternative source of livelihood, land to fisheries, is yet ensured, nor is it in sight by the governments. All the promises made by them during the 40 days long struggle in Delhi, believed by the Apex Court, are thrown to the winds.

It is proved once again. The governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP ruled states are dictating the terms for Sardar Sarovar in contempt of the court, in violation of the legal rights of the dam-affected, and the Government of Maharashtra as well as the Union of India Supports without monitoring rehabilitation, with no representation of, nor protection for adivasis and farmers. The work at Sardar Sarovar dam is commenced at 119 mts to raise the height to 122mts, by December 2006, as claimed by Gujarat. This is done without the Supreme Court hearing the parties on the Shunglu Committee Report with methodological flaws, manipulation of data, some conclusions against the mandate, yet many findings and recommendations indicating incomplete rehabilitation and violation of the legal rights of the thousands of Project Affected Families.

The Prime Minister, in his letter to the Court, promised a review of rehabilitation in the first half of October before the construction would commence, which has not been carried out as yet. No monitoring agency, either R&R sub group or NCA has visited the affected areas to assess the R&R status. The court cases are not settled and the detailed data in the affidavits not replied to by the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat as the parties. Can this happen? Will the Court listen to the aggrieved, the damned? Will the Prime Minister intervene, even at this hour? All the questions are in limbo.

It’s more than proved today that the Governments that promised to complete rehabilitation of all the affected families up to 122 mts by June or August 2006 have failed to do so. Whether M.P. or Maharashtra, they have not located land for allotment to the oustees where MP is all out to distribute cash in lieu of land against legal provision for land-based rehabilitation to the severely affected agriculturalists. Gujarat has been ruthlessly denying any balance number of families yet to be rehabilitated when there are hundreds suffering due to land or no land.

What is already witnessed is that the dam, stopped at 119mts, submerged the lands and houses of hundreds of adivasi families in hilly areas of each of the tribal districts- Nandurbar (Maharashtra), Jhabua and Badwani (M.P) during this monsoon. All of them are without land and entitlement as per the rehabilitation policy. They continued to stay put and supported only by the Andolan and its supporters, but the governments remained almost absent even in the worst of crisis and absence of food, health, transport and other services. The much trumpeted relief proved to be a drama. Thousands of other families in large villages and townships like Dharampuri did not face submergence although a large majority of them do reside in the 119 mts affected area zone and all together 35,000 families continue to stay in the 122 mts affected area. Their houses and fields remained threatened but got saved this year due to no highest rainfall and the heavy rains mostly occurring in parts of the valley, at different points of time.

With the floods devastating Gujarat, the government didn’t release dam-water into canal for most of the monsoon period and even today, very little water is in the canals and hence the raised height and filled reservoir hasn’t came to be used. Much water is still flowing into the sea…unused. The drinking water could be supplied to all the thirsty villages at 110 mts. But this has not happened. Nor is there any need to take distant Narmada water to areas where rivers overflowed this year and the reservoirs are still full. The Kutchis have had to go to the Supreme Court to seek justice in water distribution so there is no question of the promise to provide water for 365 days/year to Rajasthan coming true. The much promised power was not generated in the canal head power house since the waters were not released much into the canals, nor could the targets be reached since transformers in the river bed power house failed. It is, therefore, unjustifiable to take the dam ahead at this point of time at the cost of people’s lives.

On this World Habitat Day the Narmada Bachao Andolan appeals to all those concerned about the serious scale of evictions by force or flood, inhuman displacement without rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley and all over the country, may it be for SEZs, or airports, urban renewal or mining.

- To condemn the brutal decision to raise the dam height again, without rehabilitating 35,000 families i.e. 1.75 lakh people in the valley.
- To demand a complete and fair review and detailed reports by the concerned Ministries and monitoring agencies, on rehabilitation, village by village, family by family to be made public.
- To stop all work at the dam site
- To expeditiously rehabilitate all the adivasis who have lost land and/or houses from all the three states with alternative land and rehabilitation sites
- To make the comparative data on the planned and promised vis-à-vis actual benefits of Sardar Sarovar at 100 and 119 mts.

Kailash Awasya, Yogini Khanolkar, Ashish Mandloi, Medha Patkar

62 Gandhi Marg, Badwani, M.P. Ph. 07290-222464, 09893204498,
Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Dhadgaon, Nandurbar, Maharashtra.
Ph: 02595-220620
C/o B-13, Shivam Flats, Ellora Park, Vadodara-390023

28.09.06 : New Improvements Proposed for the Water Framework Directive

The Water Framework Directive (WFD)1 aims to achieve "good status" for all European waters by 2015. The WFD requires Member States to carry out an analysis to characterise and monitor all national surface water bodies, including rivers, coasts, and lakes. The identified bodies must be differentiated and classified according to their natural characteristics. In particular, the EU WFD has defined abiotic descriptors (non-living factors, both physical and chemical factors) to classify stream types. These descriptors include catchment area, ecoregion, catchment geology and altitude. Furthermore, Member States are required to identify the ecological status of water bodies by comparing current status with near natural or reference conditions. These two initial steps are necessary in order to determine environmental conservation objectives, programmes of measures and river basin management plans. Therefore, a precise and adequate classification and determination of the water quality status are essential.

A recent study has tested whether the current classification established by the Water Framework Directive for rivers adequately represents the major water course types in Europe. To this end, the most comprehensive data from the EU-funded research projects AQEM2 and Start3 was used. It provided 1660 samples of 48 types of water courses sampled all over the major geographical gradients in Europe, including reference condition samples as well as bad water quality samples.
The main findings of the study are:
Not all the abiotic descriptors included in the WFD for rivers appear to fit the distribution patterns of the organisms present in European water courses, which could indicate that they are not the most relevant determinant of the biological conditions in the river. In particular, the geographic descriptors (e.g. ecoregion) did not fit well.
The results suggested that climate (temperature), gradient (current velocity) and size are the three major parameters that decide and define freshwater organisms and communities in European water courses.
As previously suggested by other studies, human damage diminishes the natural differences between water course communities. Therefore typologies should be based on reference conditions, and should not consider degraded sites.
Neither temperature, elevation, stream order nor latitudinal position is solely the cause of differences in species distribution over Europe.

Overall, this study suggests that some of the current descriptors included in the WFD for water course typology should be reconsidered or changed in order to improve the way we classify and represent the major types of water courses in Europe. The author proposes to interpret the WFD descriptors in such a way that temperature, gradient and size constitute the basic parameters for defining the different types of water courses.

1The EU Water Framework Directive on Europa website:

2AQEM project (, supported by the European Commission under the Fifth Framework Programme and contributing to the implementation of the Key Action "Sustainable Management and Quality of Water" within the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme.

3 STAR project: Standardisation of River Classifications (, supported by the European Commission under the Fifth Framework Programme and contributing to the implementation of the Key Action "Sustainable Management and Quality of Water" within the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme.

Source: : Piet F.M. Verdonschot (2006) « Evaluation of the use of Water Framework Directive typology descriptors, referebce sites and spatial scale in macroinvertebrate stream typology », Hydrobiologia 556:39-58.

Source: "Science for Environment Policy" a service from the European Commission

14.09.06 : UK: Thames plans UK's 'biggest reservoir for 25 years'

Thames Water, infamous as Britain's leakiest water company, plans to build the nation's biggest reservoir for 25 years to provide for the growing needs of an ever-thirstier London. The new reservoir would hold as much water as half of Lake Windermere. The proposed £1bn reservoir near Abingdon in Oxfordshire would go some way towards easing water shortages in the capital, faced with a fast-growing population and worsening drought. It would increase supply at a cost to water customers, who would have to pay higher water charges. With a capacity of 150bn litres - equivalent to half the volume of Lake Windermere - the reservoir would supply an extra 350m litres a day, most of it to be used by Londoners.

But the additional supply does not match up to the 900m litres of water lost daily through Thames Water's leaky Victorian pipes in the capital - a third of the entire supply. The company was already planning to spend over £1bn on replacing old pipes to cut down leakage, and was recently ordered to spend an £150m more by Ofwat after missing its leak targets, instead of paying a fine (see related story).

But Thames only plans to cut leakage down to 720m litres a day, as it says a more ambitious target would be too expensive to implement. Even if it reaches the 720m target, the company would still be losing about a quarter of its entire supply through leaks. Thames Water has continues to face strong criticism over its leakage record. Commenting on the reservoir plans, Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne said:

"Thames Water would get a much more sympathetic hearing for its plans to build a new reservoir if it tackled the atrocious problems with its existing infrastructure, instead of wasting money on expensive advertising campaigns. "Thames Water has missed its leakage targets for three successive years while announcing record profits and failing to ensure the security of water supply, which is its core purpose.

But the company said that the reservoir, which would not be completed until 2018 at the earliest, is needed on top of work to cut leakage and water saving measures. "These measures alone will not match demand, particularly in the driest months, and that is why we need a large reservoir as part of our plans to provide for our long-term needs," said Thames Water's environment director Richard Aylard. "Our current predictions show that by the year 2030 we will need an extra 280 million litres a day in London and 60 million litres a day in Swindon and Oxfordshire."

As demand grows, London's water shortages will be further compounded by an expected population growth of 800,000 over the next decade and worsening drought in a hotter, drier climate, he said. The plans are subject to a public consultation, which will last until November, and will be followed by the design and environmental impact assessment stages of the project.

If the plans go ahead, local residents will have to be moved out of the area, possibly by force through the use of compulsory purchase orders.

source edie news:
Goska Romanowicz


25.08.06 : Protecting the future of our rivers (WWF)

Stockholm, Sweden – As the Stockholm Water Conference draws to a close, WWF calls on governments to direct more aid to the conservation of natural water systems and to invest in sustainability, not overdevelopment, of remaining waterways.

“More international aid is needed to conserve and restore the life-saving functions of freshwater ecosystems such as wetlands, lake and river basins," said Michael Löfroth, WWF-Sweden's Deputy Conservation Officer.

“Only by securing safe and accessible supplies of freshwater can we hope to lift billions of people out of poverty and towards a better life.”

Unfortunately, only 12 per cent of the world’s countries have produced effective water resource management as called for under the UN Millennium Development Goals. Donor countries are providing ever smaller amounts of aid to for such planning.

The world water crisis is increasingly becoming one of the most serious environmental problems. Over one billion people do not have access to clean freshwater, more than 2.6 billion people have inadequate or no access to sanitation services, and millions of children die every year from water-borne diseases. Plants and animals dependent on freshwater ecosystems are disappearing faster than those of tropical forests and coral reefs. In addition, demands for water for agriculture and hydro-power production are rapidly increasing each year.

As a result of governments and international aid agencies focusing on large-scale water infrastructure projects, many wetlands and lakes has been dried out, and rivers have been dammed. In some rivers, so much water is being taken out for irrigation and other uses that they no longer reach the sea.

According to WWF, the benefits provided by natural systems and low cost, lower impact alternatives such as wetlands for natural flood control and water purification, micro-hydropower, and rain-water harvesting have been largely overlooked.

“The best and most economical strategies include conserving and restoring freshwater ecosystems, the natural systems that gather and deliver water for human use, combined with adaptations of all land use to safe water supply in catchments areas,” added Löfroth.

"We must conserve our precious freshwater ecosystems for billions of people in the future."

For more information:
Marie von Zeipel, Press Officer
Tel: +46 8 624 74 03


21.08.06 : ECHR (European court for human rights) to hear Hasankeyf case, seeks info from Ankara

The New Anatolian / Ankara

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is asking Ankara for urgent information on the inundation of an ancient city due to dam construction after agreeing to hear a case on the controversial project.

According to recent reports, the ECHR agreed to hear a case on Hasankeyf filed by academics, attorneys and environmental activists.

Despite government assurances that the ancient city will be saved from inundation, opposition parties, civil groups and academics argue that a significant part of Hasankeyf will be lost with the completion of the Ilisu Dam.

The ECHR also decided to immediately request information from the Turkish government regarding the present state of the dam construction and measures planned for the protection of the ancient city's cultural heritage.

One of the applicants, attorney Murat Cano, said that the ECHR's agreeing to hear the case is very important as that means the court considers cultural heritage a fundamental human right.

"The process that will follow is the acceptance of cultural heritage and related rights and freedoms as a fundamental right in international conventions and the consideration of crimes against these rights crimes against humanity and the trial of those responsible for this," Cano said.

Another applicant, Ocan Yuksek from Atlas magazine, said that the court's ruling expanded the scope of the concept of human rights in Europe.

Atlas magazine recently started circulating a petition entitled "Loyalty to Hasankeyf" to be sent to the prime ministers of Turkey, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, asking that the dam's construction be halted. "No amount of money or energy production can justify our losing our ties with our history," says the petition, which so far has been signed by around 35,000 people.

In related news, the Austrian, German and Swiss governments are planning to send teams to Hasankeyf to assess the claims that the dam's construction will inundate Hasankeyf, as a step towards deciding whether to approve funds for the international consortium to construct the dam.

Arabaslik: Koc: Hasankeyf is already gone

Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc made a statement over the weekend saying that he's an expert on the ancient city and there are only "15 or 20" historical artifacts to be saved there. "Hasankeyf is already gone, it's been erased from history," said Koc.
Koc also rejected Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) Mardin Deputy Muharrem Dogan's suggestion to construct the dam on a smaller scale to save Hasankeyf from disappearing beneath the water.

Dogan said that if the dam were to be constructed to a 479-meter water level plan instead of 510 meters, there would be a $40 million loss in energy production but Hasankeyf would be saved from inundation.

"We made our decision, we won't construct the dam on a smaller scale," said Koc.


16.08.06 : Water crisis hits rich countries (WWF Report)

Water crises, long seen as a problem of only the poorest, are increasingly affecting some of the world’s wealthiest nations, warns WWF ahead of World Water Week. The global conservation organization’s report, Rich countries, poor water, is one of the first comprehensive overviews of water issues in the developed world.

The report shows that a combination of climate change and drought and loss of wetlands that store water, along with poorly thought out water infrastructure and resource mismanagement, is making this crisis truly global. The report highlights impacts of water problems in countries such as Australia, Spain, Japan, and the UK, and the US.

“Economic riches don’t translate to plentiful water,” says Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF’s Global Freshwater Programme. “Water must be used more efficiently throughout the world. Scarcity and pollution are becoming more common and responsibility for finding solutions rests with both rich and poor nations.”

In Europe, countries on the Atlantic are suffering recurring droughts, while water-intensive tourism and irrigated agriculture are endangering water resources in the Mediterranean. In Australia, the world’s driest continent, salinity is a major threat to a large proportion of its key agricultural areas.

Despite high rainfall in Japan, contamination of water supplies is an extremely serious issue in many areas. In the United States, large areas are already using substantially more water than can be naturally replenished. This situation will only be exacerbated as global warming brings lower rainfall, increased evaporation and changed snowmelt patterns.

Some of the world’s thirstiest cities, such as Houston and Sydney, are using more water than can be replenished. In London, leakage and loss is estimated at 300 Olympic-size swimming pools daily due to ageing water mains. It is however notable that cities with less severe water issues such as New York tend to have a longer tradition of conserving catchment areas and expansive green areas within their boundaries.

“The next group of rapidly developing economies has the opportunity not to repeat the errors of the past and to avoid the costs of saving damaged freshwater ecosystems,” says Pittock.

“Regrettably, it appears that the bulk of these nations have already been seduced by major infrastructure plans, such as large dams, with inadequate consideration of whether such projects will meet water needs or inflict human and natural costs.”

In Brazil, despite leading the world with its national water resources plan, concerns remain over some existing dam proposals. In India, much of its agriculture is under threat from rampant overexploitation of water resources. Elsewhere, China has raised international concerns over the scale and possible ecological and human costs of some of its massive water infrastructure plans.

“The crisis in rich nations is proof that wealth and infrastructure are no insurance against scarcity, pollution, climate change and drought," adds Pittock. "They are clearly no substitute for protecting rivers and wetlands, and restoring floodplain areas."

The water problems affecting rich and poor countries alike are a wake-up call to return to protecting nature as the source of water. As we approach World Water Week (being held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 20–26 August), governments must find solutions for both rich and poor, which include repairing ageing infrastructure, reducing contaminants, and changing irrigation practices in the way we grow crops.

For further information:
Lisa Hadeed, Communications Manager
WWF Global Freshwater Programme
Tel: +41 22 364 9030

Brian Thomson, Press Officer
WWF International
Tel: +41 22 364 9554

en français :

16.08.06 : La crise de l'eau touche aussi les pays riches (rapport WWF)

Paris, France - Les crises de l'eau, considérées comme un problème touchant les pays les plus pauvres, affectent de façon croissante certaines des nations les plus prospères, déclare le WWF avant la Semaine mondiale de l'eau à Stockholm (20-26août). L'Organisation Mondiale de Protection de l'Environnement vient de publier un nouveau rapport « Rich countries, poor water »* (« Pays riches, médiocres pour l'eau ») qui donne une vue d'ensemble des enjeux sur l'eau dans les pays développés.

Le rapport montre que la combinaison des changements climatiques, des épisodes de sécheresse et de la disparition des zones humides qui stockent l'eau engendre une crise mondiale, aggravée par l'inadéquation des aménagements et la mauvaise gestion de cette ressource. Le rapport se base sur des exemples pris en Australie, en Espagne, au Royaume-Uni, aux Etats-Unis et au Japon.

Dans les villes les plus assoiffées au monde, comme Houston et Sydney, le rythme de consommation de l'eau est bien plus élevé que celui de la reconstitution des réserves. A Londres, les fuites dues à un réseau de distribution vétuste sont estimées à l'équivalent de 300 piscines olympiques par jour. Dans les pays méditerranéens, la consommation d'eau à grande échelle liée au tourisme de masse et à l'irrigation de certaines cultures gourmandes en eau mettent en danger les ressources disponibles.
En France, « à la veille du deuxième passage de la loi sur l'eau au Sénat, le troisième épisode de sécheresse en quatre ans montre bien que la gestion de l'eau demeure un enjeu majeur et qu'il est indispensable de mettre en place une politique d'objectifs et de moyens cohérents visant à préserver le fonctionnement des milieux aquatiques et la ressource en eau », souligne Cyrille Deshayes, responsable Eaux Douces du WWF-France.

Quant aux pays émergents, « ils ont encore la possibilité de ne pas répéter les erreurs du passé et de s'épargner les coûts élevés qu'entraînent la restauration des écosystèmes d'eau douce détériorés », remarque Jamie Pittock, directeur du programme global Eaux Douces du WWF. Malheureusement, la majorité de ces pays a déjà été séduite par de grands projets d'infrastructures, sans qu'il n'y ait eu de réelle évaluation des besoins en eau ni de leurs coûts pour les populations et pour la nature ». Au Brésil et en Chine, plusieurs projets de barrages suscitent l'inquiétude quant aux conséquences sur l'environnement et les populations. En Inde, l'agriculture est menacée par une surexploitation généralisée des ressources en eau.

Les problèmes liés à l'eau, qui touchent aujourd'hui tant les pays riches que les nations pauvres, sont des signaux d'alarme qui doivent nous rappeler notre devoir de protéger la nature, source de toute l'eau dont nous avons besoin. Le bien-être matériel et la multiplication des infrastructures ne mettent pas à l'abri contre les pénuries ou les pollutions, et ne constituent pas des substituts efficaces à la protection des cours d'eau et des zones humides, ni à la restauration des plaines inondables.
A la veille de la Semaine mondiale de l'eau, les gouvernements doivent trouver des solutions adaptées, pour les riches comme pour les pauvres, notamment en réparant les infrastructures vétustes, en réduisant la contamination des eaux et en modifiant les pratiques actuelles d'irrigation des cultures.

Contact presse : Céline Nebout - Tel. : 01 55 25 84 61 - *Rapport disponible sur demande

14.08.06 : Turkey push for the Ilisu Dam construction - Strong local international opposition

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