31.08.07 : Crude Oil Spill Pollutes Northwest China River
Une marée noire de pétrole brut pollue une rivière
du Nord Ouest de la Chine
in nordwestchinesischem Fluss
BEIJING, China - Crude oil from a punctured pipeline in northwest
China spread over at least eight kilometres of a tributary of
the Yan river, state media reported on Thursday, forcing one city
to tap backup water supplies.
A landslide on Wednesday broke a pipeline belonging to the fourth
oil extraction factory of PetroChina's Changqing oilfield, Xinhua
news agency reported.
The report said oil quickly spread to the lower reaches of the
Xingzi river in Shaanxi province, prompting crews downriver to
build dams to contain it.
It was not clear how much oil had spilled before the pipeline
hole was patched. Xinhua cited local officials as saying clean-up
crews had removed about 20 tonnes of oil.
The pipeline has resumed operation, Xinhua reported, citing Cao
Xizhong, vice head of Jingbian county in Shaanxi province.
Calls to PetroChina and its parent company China National Petroleum
Corp were not answered.
Yanan city, which draws water from the Wangyao reservoir, started
using backup water supplies on Wednesday, when the oil slick was
about 50 kilometres upstream of the reservoir, a local official
"Yanan has backup water supplies that could support the city
up to one month or two," the official said.
Heavy rains in the region complicated the cleanup effort.
Yanhe River is a tributary of the Yellow River, the country's
second longest after the Yangtze.
Chanqing, one of the largest oilfields owned by PetroChina, aims
to raise output by 18 percent from a year earlier to a record
12.01 million tonnes of oil and 10.7 billion cubic metres of natural
gas in 2007, CNPC said earlier this year.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
30.08.07 : Drought Catastrophe Stalks Australia's Food Bowl
La sécheresse menace les réserves de nourriture
Dürre bedroht Australiens Lebensmittelvorräte
MOULAMEIN, Australia - A thin winter green carpets Australia's
southeast hills and plains, camouflaging the onset of a drought
catastrophe in the nation's food bowl.
Sheep and cattle farmer Ian Shippen stands in a dying ankle-high
oat crop under a mobile irrigation boom stretching nearly half-a-kilometre,
but now useless without water.
"I honestly think we're stuffed," he says grimly.
"It's on a knife edge and if it doesn't rain in the next
couple of weeks it's going to be very ugly. People will be walking
off the land, going broke."
Shippen's property "Chah Singh" sits in the heart of
Australia's Murray-Darling river basin, a vast plain bigger than
France and Germany, home to 2 million people and in good times
the source of almost half the nation's fruit and cereal crop.
But years of drought, which some blame on global warming, have
savagely depleted the huge dams built 60 years ago to hold the
snow melt from the Australian alps and push it hundreds of kilometres
inland to the parched west for farm irrigation.
The Murray-Darling normally provides 90 percent of Australia's
irrigated crops and A$22 billion (US$18.1 billion) worth of agricultural
exports to Asia and the Middle East.
But with some crops now just 10 days from failure, farmers are
to receive no water at all for irrigation through the summer,
while others will get a fraction of their regular entitlement
to keep alive vital plantings like citrus trees and grapevines.
The massive Hume Weir, which can hold enough water to fill seven
Sydney Harbours, is so dry that a lakeside holiday village is
now half-a-kilometre from the depleted shore and rods to measure
water depth stand on bare rock far from the waters' edge.
"It's grim. The water is not there," says Wendy Craik,
the head of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission which oversees
storage in the country's longest river and dam system.
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard warned of an "unprecedentedly
dangerous" drought in April and advised the nation to pray
for rain as economists warned the dry would wipe one percent off
the A$940 billion economy in 2006-07.
Those prayers were answered briefly in May and June after winter
storms lashed the east coast and major cities, bringing localised
flooding and seemingly the end of a dry spell which has lasted
near a decade in some areas of the country.
But by bringing hope, the rains ironically may have also worsened
the drought's impact on battling farmers through the hot months
"We thought it was just going to keep on raining. When you
go into drought people normally just lock up and don't spend,
but after that rain everyone just went out and spent money to
plant crops and climb out of the hole they were in," says
Shippen. Near the town of Griffith in the Murrumbidgee River valley,
renowned for its citrus and wines, thousands of oranges lie rotting
under rows of trees stretching to the horizon under relentless
"We are in the lap of the gods and rainfall. The trees are
under a great deal of stress and any adverse weather or hot weather
is creating an enormous amount of fruit drop," says second
generation citrus grower Louis Sartor.
Sartor's father Giulio was among the Italian immigrant pioneers
who opened Griffith to farming in the 1950s and he still works
at age 80, pruning back trees against the drought.
"He thinks it will pass. He came here from Italy when it
was like going to the moon. He is the total optimist," says
the nuggety Sartor over tea and biscuits in his still-leafy garden.
Sartor, like many conservative Australian farmers, is deeply sceptical
about climate shift's role in the drought, despite a UN Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change predictions that temperatures could rise
by 6.7 degrees Celsius by century's end.
"Find me the scientist that can stand up on a platform and
say 'I know'," he says.
That scepticism runs even deeper south along the Murray, with
many farmers certain irrigation shortages are the result of government
bungling and a determination to claw back precious water for a
green agenda driven by majority city-dwellers.
"I class this as a human-induced crisis, not a climate induced
one," says Neil Eagle, 79, a fourth-generation citrus grower
at Barham, a retirement and farming haven on the Murray.
Eagle's forebears settled this so-called "Golden Rivers Country"
in the 1890s, bringing paddleboats into the area and opening up
irrigated cropping in a region verging on desert.
"I believe it was warmer in the 1930s and 40s than it has
been in the last 50 years. These things are cyclical," he
At the same time environmental scientists like Australian of the
Year Tim Flannery argue the continent is a "harbinger"
of climate shift and experiencing accelerated greenhouse warming.
They want to pipe the open irrigation ditches carved laser-straight
across the landscape and cut back water use by 1,500 gigalitres
to protect long-term river health.
"If we are going to devastate the regions for agricultural
production, that's exactly what will do it," says a frustrated
Eagle. "If that sort of insanity does not prevail, there's
no reason we won't get good years again."
But dairy farmer Phil O'Neill, who faces ruin with his critical
water allocations cut, suspects climate change may be a part of
what some say is the worst drought for a century.
"I'm a bit of a believer. This weather change combined with
cyclical downturn in rains, it's a bloody disaster," he says.
O'Neill, a stocky 49-year-old with huge hands and steel-wool hair,
is one of the last dairy farmers near Barham, with the long dry
having already forced most others off the land.
With a rueful smile he says he spent A$300,000 to keep going through
last summer and wont be doing it again, instead opting to sell
off parts of his cherished 1,100 acre farm.
"There is 30-40 years of breeding there and it could all
be gone soon," he says, his voice cracking with emotion as
he hefts three-day-old calves onto pickup truck for sale or slaughter.
George Warne, the head of Murray Irrigation, lives in Barham and
is training staff to spot depression in farmers as the drought
"There's an underlying epidemic of fear and worry out there,"
he says. "We've got all the signs of a stressed community."
Reserve Bank figures show rural debt has risen sharply from A$26
billion in 1999 to A$43 billion in 2005. "We are hearing
stories of farmers defaulting on lease payments," Warne says.
Adding to the economic vice are rising interest rates, with most
farmers already heavily in debt for millions of dollars worth
of tractors, harvesters and irrigation equipment.
Warne backs a A$10 billion plan put forward by Prime Minister
Howard to protect water supplies in the months ahead, but which
is being whittled back by bickering between competing states over
water. Howard wants to seize control of the river system to end
state squabbling and make water a nationally-controlled asset.
Shippen says the drought and a new sense of the importance of
water in the driest inhabited continent, with prices having gone
from A$30 a megalitre to hover near A$800, will change Australian
farming forever and make some irrigation unviable.
"It's going to be a massive change," the one-time rice
farmer says. "I spent the first half of my life developing
irrigation and I'll spend the second half pulling it down."
To Warne the only solution to a disaster threatening to unravel
whole rural communities is in the heavens.
"We are now in something that is beyond probabilities. We
are in a drought sequence that's worse than our white history,"
Story by Rob
Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service
30.08.07 : Arsenic in Water a Risk to 140 Million People
Arsenic dans l'eau : un risque pour 140 millions de personnes
Arsenik im Wasser : Risiko für 140 Millionen Menschen
LONDON, UK - Naturally-occurring arsenic in drinking water
poses a growing global health risk as large numbers of people
unknowingly consume unsafe levels of the chemical element, researchers
said on Wednesday.
The problem is bigger than scientists had thought and affects
nearly 140 million people in more than 70 countries, according
to new research presented at the annual Royal Geographical Society
meeting in London.
Arsenic can cause lung disease and cancers, even long after people
stop drinking contaminated water, said Peter Ravenscroft, a researcher
at the University of Cambridge.
"What is new is the extent of arsenic pollution is much bigger
than people realised," Ravenscroft said in a telephone interview.
"There is a very important connection between arsenic in
water and arsenic in food, especially where people grow irrigated
World Health Organisation guidelines set a safe limit of 10 parts
per billion of arsenic in water supplies but tens of millions
of people in the world drink unsafe water above that level, researchers
At present, Bangladesh is the worst-affected country. There, hundreds
of thousands or people are likely to die from arsenic poisoning,
the researchers said.
Arsenic has also been found in the water in developed countries
and industrial activities such as mining can also lead to contamination.
Rising awareness has led to increased testing that has revealed
more widespread arsenic in drinking water but other researchers
said even more must be done to address the problem.
"Most countries have some water sources with dangerous levels
of arsenic, but only now are we beginning to recognise the magnitude
of the problem," Allan Smith, a researcher at the University
of California, Berkeley and adviser to the WHO on arsenic, said
in a statement.
Story by Michael
Source : Planet Ark and Reuter News Service
29.08.07 : UN Says Floods Affect 100,000 Ethiopians
100 000 Ethiopiens touchés par les crues, d'après
les Nations Unies
Hochwasser in Äthiopien : gemäss UN sind 100 000 Menschen
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - More than 100,000 people have been
affected by floods in Ethiopia and 17 have died of waterborne
disease, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
"Approximately 103,000 people in Amhara, Tigray, South Sudan
Nations and Nationalities Peoples State and Gambella regions have
been affected by floods," the UN humanitarian agency OCHA
said in a report following days of heavy rains.
Seventeen people died of acute diarrhoea, it said.
Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, was continuing to rise,
the report added, increasing the risk of more floods.
Ethiopian authorities have yet to comment on the impact of the
latest floods, but OCHA said the government had sent 1,121 tonnes
of food aid for 60,000 people in the worst-hit areas.
The United Nations estimates up to 900 Ethiopians died last year
when several rivers burst their banks. Flash floods typically
happen in lowland areas of the country after heavy rains drench
the highlands during the June-Sept rainy season.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
29.08.07 : China Puts Summer Flood Death Toll at 1,138
Chine : le nombre de victimes dues aux crues de cet été
s'élève à 1 138
China : Hochwasser des vergangenen Sommers 2006 forderten 1 138
- Stronger relief efforts helped limit damage and loss of life
from droughts and flooding in China this summer, but floods still
killed more than 1,100 people, officials said on Tuesday.
Torrential rain has inundated large swathes of China's east, south
and southwest since June despite a smaller number of typhoons
and tropical storms so far this year, while a prolonged heatwave
and drought have afflicted several eastern provinces.
"The climate has been abnormal and has caused serious flooding
and drought in our country this year," Vice Minister of Water
Resources E Jingping told a news conference.
The flood death toll of 1,138, last updated on Monday, was down
about 50 percent from the average for the same period of previous
years, E said.
Improved early warning and evacuation, stronger dykes and timely
flood water diversion had reduced human losses and damage to property,
Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said.
But 310 million Chinese, mostly peasants in the vast and vulnerable
countryside where harvests and houses were destroyed, have been
affected by natural disasters so far this year.
The Huai River, China's third longest, suffered its worst flood
since 1954 in July, displacing hundreds of thousands of wheat
farmers for nearly a month.
The cities of Chongqing in the southwest and Jinan in the north
were also hit by the most intensive downpours in history, causing
dozens of deaths in street flooding and prompting Chinese media
to question the government's response.
The flood season was not over yet and still posed a grave threat,
while 37,000 of China's 85,000 dams had "ailments and dangers",
"The bulk of the ageing dams were built between the 1950s
and 1970s, with the problems of inherent design defects and poor
maintainence. The danger is outstanding," Chen said.
Separately, landslides, floods and lightning killed 17 people
in the southwestern province of Sichuan in the past few days,
Xinhua news agency said.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs has allocated 165 million yuan (US$21.83
million) to five southern and eastern provinces to help the flood-hit
residents, Xinhua said.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
28.08.07 : Polluted China Rivers Threaten "Sixth"
Les rivières chinoises, polluées, menacent un sixième
de la population
Chinas verschmutzte Flüsse bedrohen einen 1/6 der Bevölkerung
BEIJING, China - Polluters along two of China's main rivers have
defied a decade-old clean-up effort, leaving much of the water
unfit to touch, let alone drink, and a risk to a sixth of the
population, state media said on Monday.
Half the check points along the Huai River and its tributaries
in central and eastern China showed pollution of "Grade 5"
or worse -- the top of the dial in key toxins, meaning that the
water was unfit for human contact and may not be fit even for
irrigation, national legislators were told.
Years of crackdowns and waste treatment investment have reined
in some of the worst damage to the Huai and Liao Rivers, but industrial
pollution remained far too high, Mao Rubai, chairman of the National
People's Congress environment and resources protection committee,
said in a report delivered on Sunday.
The rivers posed a "threat to the water safety of one sixth
of the country's 1.3 billion population", the China Daily
The pollution on the Huai threatened the massive South-North Water
Transfer Project to draw water from the Yangtze River through
the Huai basin to the country's parched north, Mao said.
"Large volumes of untreated domestic effluent and industrial
waste-water are dumped directly into the river," Mao said
of one of the Huai's worst polluted tributaries, according to
the NPC Web site (www.npc.gov.cn).
"To judge from the inspection, the quality of water used
for the South-North Water Transfer Project is threatened by pollution,
and this must attract our vigilance."
In Zhoukou city in central Henan province, 15 of 23 factories
inspected were found to be illegally dumping waste, Mao said.
Ma Kai, the chief of the National Development and Reform Commission,
which steers industrial policy, said meeting energy and pollution
reduction targets would be made a major factor in considering
promotions for provincial-level officials, the China News Service
China has promised to cut emissions of major pollutants by 10
percent between 2006 and 2010, but last year failed to meet the
Mao's call for stricter standards and enforcement came as government
leaders promised to lift ceilings on fines for polluters. But
Mao went a step further, warning that even factories that met
pollution limits were still dumping too many chemicals.
"This situation is directly related to the fact that water
pollution standards for some of our country's industries are too
low," he said.
Even if standards were met, the volume of toxins entering the
Huai "far exceeds the capacity of the river basin to replenish
itself and will inevitably create pollution", he said.
Pollutants have also tainted underwater supplies down to a depth
of 300 metres in places along the Huai.
The eastern route of the transfer project is scheduled to begin
pumping water in 2008, but plans to reduce pollution in Jiangsu
province have not been implemented.
"The quality of the transferred water will be very difficult
to ensure," said Mao.
The Liao River in China's northeast also remains beset by polluters,
with large volumes of untreated waste flowing through it into
Mao said that officials along both rivers had only used some of
the funds set aside for pollution treatment projects.
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
24.08.07 : Les causes d'une marée noire dans la Garonne
Oil slick in the Garonne River : reasons are not explained yet
Frankreich : Ölteppich in die Garonne : Ursache noch nicht
Le 12 janvier 2007, 12.000 mètres cubes d'hydrocarbures
se sont répandus sur le site d'une filiale de Total, suite
à la rupture d'une cuve. Les causes de cet incident font
l'objet d'une expertise judiciaire.
La marée noire survenue dans la Garonne le 12 janvier 2007
s'apprête à faire parler d'elle. Plus de 8 mois après
l'incident, qui n'avait pas été divulgué,
"les résultats des expertises sur les causes techniques
du sinistre et sur leurs conséquences environnementales,
commencées le 18 janvier, feront l'objet d'une réunion
en octobre", selon Anne Bernard, du bureau de protection
de l'environnement à la préfecture de Gironde.
de Macau, situé en face du dépôt de pétrole,
à l'origine de la pollution, exploité par la société
pétrolière du bec d'Ambès (SPBDA), s'est
portée partie civile en juin, aux côtés de
l'association de défense de l'environnement Sepanso et
probablement de France Nature environnement. "Cet incident
prouve une chose, remarque Philippe Barbedienne, directeur de
la Sepanso: on a beau dire que tout va bien et que tout est sécurisé,
il y aura toujours le grain de sable qui fera dérailler
le classement Seveso II de l'installation, et toutes les mesures
de sécurité qui accompagnent ce statut, une cuve
de pétrole a été éventrée.
La veille de l'incident, le directeur Gilles Coudrette constatait
une fuite dans un des bacs stockant le pétrole, et organisait
alors la vidange et la surveillance de ce dernier. Lesquelles
n'ont pas empêché la rupture du fond du bac le 12
janvier, suivie d'un effet de vague qui l'a fait déborder.
litres de pétrole se sont déversés dans la
Garonne et les canaux environnants, et ce jusqu'au pont d'Aquitaine.
Les hydrocarbures ont même atteint le bec d'Ambès,
lieu de confluence entre la Garonne et la Dordogne. Quarante kilomètres
de berges ont été souillés. Aujourd'hui,
"la pollution a été nettoyée au moyen
de pompage par bateaux et de nettoyage à la main dans les
canaux environnants", selon Benoît Coucaud, de la préfecture
causes de l'accident sont pour l'instant totalement inconnues,
selon l'industrie en cause. D'après Gilles Coudrette cité
dans le Monde, la cuve défaillante a fait l'objet d'un
contrôle technique à l'automne dernier. "Apparemment,
l'entreprise aurait pris toutes les mesures de sécurité
nécessaires ", explique Anne Bernard. Elle ajoute
que la préfecture "n'est pas en mesure de communiquer
actuellement sur cet événement, puisque l'affaire
est encore entre les mains de la justice".
se trouvant dans une zone de balancement des marées, celles-ci
ont étalé la pollution rapidement le long des berges
de la Garonne, de la Dordogne et de la Gironde. L'estuaire de
la Gironde, classé Natura 2000, est connu notamment pour
sa population d'esturgeons, et pour l'angélique des estuaires,
une plante classée sur la liste rouge des espèces
menacées en France.
Source : Journal
de l'environnement du 24.08.2007
22.08.07 : Feature - Las Vegas Growth Depends on Dwindling Water
Reportage - La croissance de Las Vegas dépend d'un approvisionnement
en eau en régression
Report - Das Wachstum von Las Vegas hängt von der knapper
werdenden Wasserversorgung ab
Nevada, USA - Two wooden piers that once extended into Lake Mead,
Nevada, now loom over a desert landscape, monuments to the insatiable
need for water in nearby Las Vegas and other parts.
Fishing" sign perhaps 600 hundred yards (metres) from the
shrinking lake and a ring of white magnesium deposits marks the
high water level like a giant, half-full bath tub that has dropped
more than 100 feet (30 metres) in seven years.
The dramatic desiccation amid a multi-year Western drought highlights
the difficult situation facing Las Vegas, one of America's fastest
growing cities, whose economic future depends on the continued
supply of water.
"Las Vegas is growing too fast for its water resources, not,
unfortunately, unlike many other Western cities," said Peter
Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment, and Security in Oakland, California.
"Las Vegas is a special case for two reasons: it is growing
very rapidly and the second is they are really constrained on
Built in a desert, Las Vegas has long seemed an unlikely place
for a major American city. Yet the Las Vegas region is booming:
Its population is 1.9 million, up nearly 50 percent since 1999,
amid an expanding tourism and casino business.
At the same time, the West has suffered a sustained drought, with
the Colorado River supplying less water to Lake Mead, which serves
Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico. The lake created by Hoover
Dam provides 90 percent of Vegas water and stands less than half
KIND OF GROWTH
Vegas is adjusting by more efficiently using its current supplies
and is planning to build a $2.5 billion to $3 billion pipeline
to bring aquifer water from a remote part of Nevada by 2015, said
Pat Mulroy, long-time head of the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
disagrees that Vegas, where on average four inches of rain falls
each year, is growing too fast for its water. "We like every
other Western city are going through a shift in how we use water
resources," she said in an interview. "It is sustainable
for the next 50 to 80 years."
very different type of growth going on. What you see is one far
more conscious of water resources, one that that takes advantage
of desert plant life, builds communities that are there to celebrate
living in the desert rather than to defy living in the desert."
gambling capital recycles waste water, but loses much by feeding
thirsty vegetation such as grass. The city's water district now
pays homeowners to remove grass, and has seen per capita usage
fall in recent years.
is enough water in the West to support growth well into the future,"
said John Ritter, chairman of the Focus Property Group, which
seeks to build environmentally friendly housing. "Vegas in
2000 was probably one of the poster children on how to waste water
and today we are probably an example on how to use water efficiently."
Yet signs of water waste are still easy to find. A late morning
drive through Henderson, an adjacent city where many Las Vegas
workers live, found many sprinklers spraying in 107 Fahrenheit
(42 Celsius) heat, including in city parks.
is a city ignoring its own rules," said resident Launce Rake,
an official with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
"There's no real commitment to conservation; they run all
through the day."
at one of the Henderson parks sprinkling under a blazing sun invited
those concerned about water use to call a helpline number. The
line was disconnected.
Vegas Strip hotels boast ornate fountains, and the Bellagio stages
shows with dancing jets of water throughout the day accompanied
by music. But overall the casinos and hotels take in just 7 percent
of the area's water and consume 3 percent when recycled water
is put back into the system, Mulroy said.
remains inexpensive. In summer, an average Vegas household uses
17,000 gallons per month and pays $36.64 (or about 2 cents per
10 gallons), and 11,000 gallons in winter for $21, according to
the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
to other cities the cost of water in Las Vegas is a real steal,"
said developer Ritter. "If it cost people more I think they
would use less."
disagrees about the impact of higher prices.
would just irritate people," she said. "To simply throw
out a gross rate increase, it's not going to create the necessary
results. I mean look what's happening with gasoline: people are
not using less gas as a result of it."
environmentalists say Vegas and other Western cities with limited
sources should limit growth to preserve water.
Oscar Goodman disagrees, saying the city's economic boom will
fund future water needs. "I hate to be a pragmatist but the
bottom line really is that we'll never run out of water as long
as we can pay for it," he said.
Story by Adam
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
22.08.07 : Construction Begins on Uganda's $799 Million Hydro
En Ouganda, commence la construction d'un barrage de 799 million
Uganda beginnt mit dem Bau eines 799 Million $ Dammes.
Uganda - Construction of Uganda's new 250-megawatt hydropower
dam began on the banks of the River Nile on Tuesday, with politicians
and locals hoping it will spell an end to the country's power
The Bujugali dam is estimated to cost $799 million.
But President Yoweri Museveni said it was a clever financial decision
as it will spare Uganda more of the high subsidies accruing after
two years of serious shortages in the east African nation.
"To avert the power shortages, emergency thermal plants have
been installed, (but) you cannot imagine the loss caused by huge
subsidies to bring down power tariffs," Museveni said at
the launch in Jinja, 80 km (50 miles) east of the capital Kampala.
"We must anticipate demand and produce electricity to always
be ahead of demand," he told an audience that included the
Aga Khan, leader of 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide.
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is involved in the
project, and the spiritual leader himself defended the mammoth
construction criticised by environmentalists.
"Hydroelectricity is clean energy advancing sustainable development
while minimising its environmental impact," he said.
Local lobby group the National Association of Professional Environmentalists
has resisted the dam from the outset.
Uganda generates most of its energy from hydroelectric turbines
on the Nile River. But rising demand plus a recent drop in water
levels of Lake Victoria, the Nile's source, have sparked regular
power shortages and load-shedding.
Story by Francis
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
20.08.07 : Progress for flood forecasts
Des progrès dans la prédiction des crues
Hochwasservorhersage macht Forschritte
predictions of flood risk and earlier warnings of imminent problems
may be on the horizon thanks to a £6m research project.
project may also help forecasters understand better the role of
climate change in particular extreme weather events.
by the Natural Environment Research Council and supported by the
University of Salford, the five year Flood Risks from Extreme
Events (FREE) programme will examine what causes floods, help
to quantify flood risk, and inform society about the likely effects
of climate change.
programme will involve researchers from 12 UK universities and
will study recent floods such as those in Gloucestershire and
project steering committee have established a Flood Action Team,
with results to be presented to the Environment Agency and the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
to the team existing flood prediction systems are not sufficiently
reliable and it is impossible to tie down direct links between
climate change and a particular extreme weather event.
University's Professor Chris Collier said: "At present, flood
damage costs the UK about a billion pounds each year. We want
to get to the stage where we can use mathematical techniques more
reliably to predict floods and prevent the kind of destruction
group will investigate both meteorological and hydrological aspects
of forecasting extreme river and coastal flooding. We will consider
both floods that have accumulated over time such as those seen
in Gloucester, and flash floods that develop rapidly, like the
situation in Boscastle.
is essential we improve our ability to forecast, quantify and
manage flood risks, and mitigate the effects of climate variability
and change, if we're to maintain a sustainable economy. Sound
environmental science must underpin our efforts."
Author : Sam
Source: edie newsroom
20.08.07 : Leau, une espèce en voie de disparition
Water, an endangered species
Wasser, eine vom Austerben bedrohte Art
la semaine mondiale de leau qui sest tenue du 12 au
18 août à Stockholm en Suède, la nécessité
dagir vite pour réduire les consommations excessives
deau a été soulignée par les experts.
Le développement des biocarburants a particulièrement
été pointé du doigt.
et perspectives dans le domaine de l'eau : pour un développement
durable dans un monde qui change» (1). Tel était
le thème abordé par quelque 2.500 experts mondiaux
lors de la manifestation organisée par lInstitut
international de leau de Stockholm (Siwi). «Cest
à travers leau que les gens subissent le plus limpact
du changement climatique», a déclaré son porte-parole
David Trouba. Sur le site de la semaine mondiale de leau,
linstitut a publié des recommandations dans un rapport
intitulé «Au seuil dune nouvelle pénurie
deau», appelant les gouvernements à investir
davantage dans des mesures visant à prévenir laugmentation
de la rareté des ressources en eau.
meilleure gouvernance et une amélioration de la gestion
de la demande préalables à une augmentation de loffre
en eau sont souhaitées. Les experts du Siwi estiment quil
faudrait par exemple réduire les pertes deau dans
le cadre de lirrigation, supprimer les subventions à
lagriculture ou encore mettre en place des mesures «réalistes»
concernant le prix de leau .
les régions affectées par des variations climatiques
importantes, il est essentiel danticiper les mauvaises années,
en stockant leau et les produits alimentaires lors des périodes
considérées comme bonnes. Collecte des eaux de pluie
et dessalement de leau de mer peuvent par ailleurs savérer
nécessaires dans les zones touchées par le manque
deau et où une gestion de la demande est déjà
a été particulièrement critiqué lors
des débats de Stockholm: la production de biocarburants,
qui requiert lutilisation de grandes quantités deau.
«Doù va venir leau nécessaire
pour cultiver les produits destinées à lalimentation
de la population croissante, si de plus en plus deau est
utilisée pour les cultures liées à la production
de biocarburants?», sinterroge ainsi David Trouba.
Finalement, le Siwi estime que «nous sommes au bord dune
ère nouvelle et plus préoccupante de rareté
de leau, et il est clair que nous allons de plus en plus
faire face à des défis complexes». Par exemple,
loffre en «eau bleue» (provenant des rivières
et des nappes) samenuise, et le manque d«eau
verte» (eau du sol) va limiter la production de biomasse
and Prospects on Water: Striving for Sustainability in a Changing
Source : le
Journal de l'Environnement du 20.08.2007
15.08.07 : Turkey Signs Credit For Controversial Dam Project
La Turquie signe un crédit pour un projet de barrage controversé
Türkei nimmt Kredit für ein umstrittes Staudamm Projekt
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.64 billion)
loan with Swiss, German, French, Austrian and Turkish financiers
on Tuesday for what has become one of its largest and most controversial
The proposed dam, 45 km (30 miles) from Turkey's border with Syria,
is set for completion in 2014 along with a hydroelectric power
plant that will have a capacity of 1,200 megawatts and produce
an annual 3.8 billion kilowatt hours.
The project also includes a water storage facility with a capacity
of 11 billion cubic metres of water.
Turkey, a net importer of energy, has been seeking alternative
sources of energy and has completed 960 tenders for the construction
of new dams since January.
But the project, which will put approximately 80 villages and
hamlets under water as well as submerge the remains of an ancient
city, has been hotly debated in Turkey and fiercely criticised
by environmental activists.
"This has been one of the most difficult projects ... This
has been a project of honour, pride and determination," said
Energy Minister Hilmi Guler.
The government has signed a 25 million euro credit to relocate
the remains of the ancient city, which dates to Roman times when
it was built as a bulwark against the Persians.
The European consortium offered its credit with the condition
Ankara fulfill some 150 criteria that cover issues such as environmental
protection, relocation of villagers, protection of cultural heritage
and resource management with neighbouring states.
Among the consortium firms are Swiss Ed.Zublin AG and French Alstom.
Ark and Reuters News Service
08.08.07 : Pollution du Rhône aux PCB
Rhône river is polluted by PCB
Die Rhone ist PCB - verschmutzt
depuis mardi, il est interdit de consommer tout poisson pêché
dans le Rhône en raison d'une pollution sans précédent
aux polychlorobiphényles (PCB) qui concerne désormais
la quasi-totalité du bassin français du fleuve,
de l'est de Lyon à la Méditerranée.
L'interdiction de consommation des poissons du Rhône, adoptée
dès septembre 2006 à Lyon, avait été
élargie en février 2007 à l'Ain (depuis le
barrage de Sault-Brénaz, à 55 kilomètres
à l'est de Lyon), l'Isère, puis en juin à
l'Ardèche et la Drôme.
à la vente en France depuis 1987, les PCB sont connus pour
entraîner chez l'homme, s'ils sont ingérés
régulièrement sur de longues périodes, des
problèmes de fertilité, de croissance, ou bien des
cancers. Utilisés dans les transformateurs électriques,
ils font partie des 12 polluants chimiques particulièrement
dangereux, aussi appelés par l'Onu polluants organiques
nouvelle expertise de l'Agence française de sécurité
sanitaire des aliments (Afssa) sera effectuée d'ici l'automne.
de la région Rhône-Alpes, coordinatrice du bassin
du Rhône, a par ailleurs confié une enquête
à la Direction régionale de l'environnement (Diren)
pour rechercher les causes de cette contamination, ses conséquences,
ainsi que la manière de la juguler. Un pré-rapport
de synthèse a conclu que les sources de contamination étaient
«anciennes, multiples et difficilement identifiables».
pollution ne peut venir que du relargage de déchets»,
a indiqué à l'AFP la directrice départementale
des services vétérinaires des Bouches-du-Rhône,
Joëlle Feliot. Selon elle, la Drire a conclu qu'il n'y avait
pas de rejets dans les Bouches-du-Rhône, «mais probablement
sur les rejets de l'usine Trédi de Saint-Vulbas (Ain),
l'une des deux en France habilitées à retraiter
les appareils contenant des PCB et à rejeter de faibles
quantités de ce produit dans le Rhône, elle a déclaré:
«Ce sont des installations classées soumises à
des normes très strictes. (...) La Drire de l'Ain suit
Trédi est autorisée à rejeter de faibles
quantités de ce produit dans le Rhône, «mais
cela ne peut être la seule cause», a indiqué
à lAFP le directeur des services vétérinaires
du Vaucluse, François-Xavier Temple, qui donne l'exemple
de «gens qui jettent les batteries dans l'eau».
Source : Le
Journal de l'Environnement du 08.08.2007
08.08.07 : Seven Die in Bulgaria Floods, Romania Expects Storm
Bulgarie : sept morts suite aux crues, Roumanie : on attend la
Bulgarien : Hochwasser fordert 7 Opfer. Sturmwarnung in Rumänien
Seven people drowned and four were missing after heavy rains caused
severe flooding in northern Bulgaria, while storms cut off electricity
and washed away bridges in neighbouring Romania, officials said
elderly people died in accidents in the small Bulgarian town of
Tsar Kaloyan, some 380 km (235 miles) northeast of Sofia, after
torrential rain cut off electricity and raised water levels, the
local civil defence service said.
Four people, including a mother and her 7-year-old child, were
missing in the lower end of the town which was partly submerged
under 60 cm (two feet) of floodwater.
man drowned in his house in a village near the Danube river town
of Rousse, where more than 20 houses were flooded.
days of heavy rain caused power cuts, flooding and damage to roads
throughout the country -- only days after a month-long heatwave
killed hundreds of people in the Balkans.
authorities issued flood warnings for 13 counties in the east
and south of the country, saying river levels were at risk of
rising abnormally high.
Romanian weather institute issued a 'code yellow' warning for
Tuesday and Wednesday, signalling torrential rain and strong winds.
small bridges in the eastern region of Moldova were washed away
and storms cut off electricity supplies to several villages in
Braila, Constanta and Giurgiu counties.
Source : Planet
Ark and Rueters News Service
Additional reporting by Luiza Ilie in Bucharest
08.08.07 : Flash Floods Kill at Least 14 in Central Nigeria
des crues subites tuent au moins 14 personnes dans le centre du
Flash flood tötet mindestens 14 Menschen in Zentral Nigerien
- At least 14 people have been killed and thousands of families
forced to leave their homes by flash floods sweeping the central
Nigerian state of Plateau, the Red Cross said on Tuesday.
The flooding, which began on Sunday, followed a heavy downpour
which made a river break its banks, washing away buildings, livestock
and crops in the remote farming districts of Kanam, Wase and Langtang
North, officials said.
"Fourteen people were confirmed dead, some people are still
missing, while five were injured, and 7,000 have been displaced
in the three areas," a Red Cross official told Reuters.
One local official said 16 people were killed in the district
of Wase alone, while local sources said seven had died in Langtang
North and three in Kanam. This could not be confirmed independently.
Hundreds of people have taken refuge in an emergency camp set
up by the local authorities, while scores have taken shelter with
friends and relatives.
Heavy rain has caused flooding in several parts of Africa's most
populous country, but the disaster in Plateau is the worst.
Thousands of families have been driven from their homes in parts
of Nigeria's biggest city and commercial capital Lagos by flooding
caused by days of heavy rain, which caused another river to overflow.
Source : Planet
Ark and Rueters News Service
: Floods everywhere in the world
Crues dans le monde
Hochwasser in der ganzen Welt
Flood Victims Fight For Food, Boat Capsizes
Les victimes des crues en Asie du Sud se battent pour la nourriture,
un bateau chavire
Die Öpfer des Hochwasser im Süd-Asia kämpfen für
Lebensmittel, ein Schiff erschüttert
PATNA, India - At least 35 boat passengers were feared drowned
in the overflowing Ganges river in eastern India on Monday as
victims of South Asia's devastating floods fought over food supplies
and resorted to looting, officials said.
The boat was carrying about 100 people when it overturned in Samastipur
district in Bihar state, about an hour by road northeast of the
state capital of Patna, said district administrator Sashank Shekhar
"We are looking for survivors. There is a heavy current in
the river and we are facing great difficulties," he said.
"It's very dark, there are no lights and more forces are
rushing from Patna," Singh said, adding that most passengers
were daily labourers and villagers.
More than 455 people have died in India, Bangladesh and Nepal
in the latest phase of the annual monsoon floods, which began
two to three weeks ago.
Earlier, one teenager drowned in Bihar's Darbhanga district as
he went after food being dropped by helicopter, and dozens of
others have been injured in similar scrambles or in fights over
dwindling food supplies.
The floods, the worst in living memory in some areas, have affected
35 million people in the region and are being seen by some as
a symptom of climate change.
Ten million people have been made homeless or left stranded, and
are becoming increasingly desperate as they face food shortages
and water-borne diseases even as the waters begin to recede in
parts of Nepal and northeast India.
Women and children in a Bihar village clashed over small packets
of biscuits being handed out by a local aid organisation, while
villagers in another part of the state looted a tractor full of
grain, officials said.
"We are surviving on snails as we have nothing to eat,"
Bhagwan Manjhi of Bihar's East Champaran district told a local
"The waters have taken everything from me except five cows
and some chickens," said Taslima, a mother of four malnourished
children who gave only one name, as she sat on the roof of her
flooded home in Bangladesh's Munshiganj district.
She had been refusing help from relatives in boats because there
was not enough room for her livestock, which floated nearby on
a makeshift raft of bamboo and thatch.
"They are my only hope for the future," she said.
THREAT OF EPIDEMICS
While the rains had eased in northern and northeastern India,
flood waters were inundating fresh areas in central Bangladesh,
including the capital of Dhaka, officials said.
In Bihar's Begusarai district, hundreds of people living in makeshift
tarpaulin and bamboo shelters on mud embankments rushed down to
a nearby field as a helicopter hovered close to the ground.
Four helicopters were skimming over the north of the state, pushing
out thousands of sacks of rice, flour, palm sugar, salt, candles
and matches -- but it was clear that demand was outstripping supply.
On one sortie, an emaciated naked boy gestured for the helicopter
to release more food, while men argued nearby over the sacks,
shoving and pushing.
"I feel sad and sympathy for them," district planning
officer Birendra Prasad told a Reuters reporter aboard the helicopter.
"At least someone gets something."
UNICEF said it was starting to see early reports of diarrhoea,
and urged Bihar's government to drop water pouches instead of
rigid containers, which were bursting on impact.
Marzio Babille, who is coordinating the UN response to the Bihar
flooding, said he was also worried about diseases such as measles
in a state where only a third of children are fully vaccinated
and nearly two-thirds are malnourished.
"This population is going to be exposed for two weeks, and
even a month," he said. "This is the impact of climate
change, and we need new ways of assessing risk."
With floods inundating nearly two-thirds of Bangladesh, 36 more
people were drowned or killed by snakebites overnight, taking
the confirmed death toll from more than two weeks of deluge to
156, an official said.
In Nepal, where around 60 people have died in the last couple
of weeks, hundreds of people were returning to their muddy homes
as water levels receded.
Story by Kamil
(Additional reporting by Serajul Islam Quadir in Dhaka, Adaz Majumder
in Munshiganj, Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu, Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
and Biswajyoti Das in Guwahati)
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
Floods Damage Food Crops in India's East
Des crues violentes endommagent les récoltes dans l'Est
Heftige Howhwasser beschädigen die Ernten im Ost - India
NEW DELHI, India - India's farm ministry said on Monday it
was still assessing the impact on crops of massive monsoon floods
in the country's east, but state officials said vast areas of
rice and corn had been damaged.
In the rice-growing state of Bihar close to one million hectares
of cultivable land have been submerged by some of the worst floods
in living memory, said Manoj Kumar Srivastava, an official managing
"We are yet to get detailed reports on the impact of floods
on crops," said N.B. Singh, agriculture commissioner. "But
corn output will take a hit."
Assam, Uttar Pradesh and now Orissa have also been inundated after
unusually heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks.
Millions of people have been forced from their homes and where
waters have begun to recede a thick layer of silt has been left
behind, making further planting impossible for several months
in some areas.
Srivastava said corn has been damaged by the two week-long floods,
which have killed more than 200 people in India.
Officials in the eastern state of Assam, another top rice producer,
said 350,000 hectares (864,900 acres) of land had been inundated
for a week now. Orissa mainly produces rice.
The farm ministry said that up to Aug. 2, rice had been planted
over 21.98 million ha, down from 22.30 million at the same time
a year ago.
Singh said rice could withstand some flooding but maize, millets
and pulses wither fast.
Major crops are planted ahead of the monsoon in June, including
rice, cotton, oilseeds and sugarcane, and harvests begin in September-October.
The four-month monsoon season ends in September. The flood-affected
states do not grow large amounts of oilseeds.
Story by Mayank
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
Affect 500,000, Kill 64 - UN Report
Les crues du Soudan affectent 500 000 personnes et tuent 64 personnes,
d'après un rapport des Nations Unies
Hochwasser im Sudan bedrohen 500 000 Menschen und fügen zu
64 Todesfalls, nach der Vereinten Nationen.
Sudan - Around 500,000 people have been affected by floods in
Sudan in the past four weeks, with a reported 64 killed and 335
injured, the United Nations said on Monday.
and heavier-than-expected rains displaced thousands due to flash
floods and as rivers burst their banks.
Lack of drainage and poor construction means thousands every year
lose their homes. But this year, officials say Sudan was hit by
the worst floods in living memory, with rivers reaching critical
levels in many states.
weeks after torrential rains started to devastate many parts of
the Sudan, the United Nations and partners, in support of the
Government, have so far assisted up to half a million people affected
by the floods," the UN report said.
over 30,000 houses were fully destroyed. At least 365,000 people
have already been directly affected, including a reported 64 dead
and 335 injured," it added.
Gressly, acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the
country, said UN and aid agencies and the Sudanese government
reacted swiftly, preventing disaster.
If current flooding patterns continue unabated, the situation
will deteriorate considerably", he added.
provided blankets, plastic sheeting, water storage and cooking
materials to 200,000 people, as well as water purification products
and soap to 500,000 people to prevent disease.
these preventive measures, 637 cases of suspected acute watery
diarrhoea were reported in the states of Gedaref and Kassala in
the country's east, leading to 39 known deaths," it said.
UN report said the agencies were monitoring the spread of any
Source : Planet
Ark and Reuters News Service
Floods, Rains Kill Nine in Central Vietnam
Crues et précipitations causent le décès
de 9 personnes dans le centre du Vietnam
Hochwasser und Regen fügen zu 9 Sterbefalls im Mitte - Vietnam
HANOI, Vietnam - Nine people died, 15 were missing and thousands
needed urgent evacuation as heavy rains triggered floods in Vietnam's
central region and the nearby Central Highlands coffee belt.
The rains and floods struck ahead of a storm that had come close
to the central coast by early Monday but then moved further north
into the Tonkin Gulf where it weakened into a depression, the
national weather bureau said.
The depression, with winds of up to 61 km (38 miles) per hour
at its centre, was 200 km east off the central city of Danang
as of 0900 GMT on Monday and moving slowly northwest.
Rains of up to 400 mm (15.75 in) have drenched the coffee-growing
region since Wednesday, triggering flash floods, the government
said. Traders said the coffee crop was not at risk.
Two people were killed and 14 were missing after flash floods
swept them away in the highland province of Daklak, while four
people died in the neighbouring province of Lam Dong. In Gia Lai
province, north of Daklak, floods killed a 41-year-old man and
forced more than 450 people out of their houses, the Vietnam Net
newspaper (www.vietnamnet.vn) said.
Daklak and Lam Dong are Vietnam's top coffee growing provinces,
accounting for half its output. Along with three other provinces
in the Central Highlands, they produce 80 percent of the country's
Industry experts say the coffee crop is safe as most of the trees
are planted on hillsides. The hilly terrain would also help flush
water away quickly.
Besides, rains last week helped green coffee cherries develop
and harvesting will not start until late October. But 17,000 hectares
(42,000 acres) of mainly rice and corn have been submerged in
the Central Highlands. Flood waters peaked in a river in Daklak
and were rising in another river in Kontum province, state forecasters
said. Heavy rains were expected in the coffee region and also
in coastal provinces from Thanh Hoa to Danang city in the next
and gas production in Vietnam, Southeast Asia's third-largest
crude oil producer, has not been disrupted as all the oil rigs
and facilities are south of the storm's path.
storms and typhoons often strike Vietnam from August to October.
Last year 10 storms hit the country where about 500 people were
killed by floods and landslides, the government said.
Story by Ho
Ark and Reuters News Service