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12.12.07 : After centuries of keeping water out, the Dutch now letting it in

WERKENDAM, The Netherlands (AFP) - For centuries the low-lying Netherlands has fought to reclaim land from water by creating polders. Now, with flood risk increasing thanks to climate change, it is giving the land back.
As politicians and experts from around the world gather in Bali this week to discuss climate change and the problems of projected rising sea levels and extreme weather, the Dutch are already changing the way they manage water.
The Noordwaard polder in the south-western part of the Netherlands looks like any polder: a wide, flat tract with grassland and barren fields and a few farms behind a high dike that shields it from the Merwede river.

In 2015, large parts of this polder land will be left to flood. "When we had flooding here in 1993 and 1995, it dawned on us that the climate was changing and we needed measures to increase security," Ralph Gaastra, in charge of a project to de-polder the Noordwaard, told AFP. "Then we started seeing that you cannot continue indefinitely to level up dikes, we needed to look at other solutions."

In the Noordwaard polder the protective outer dike will be lowered by two meters (6.5 feet) so that the area will flood when the water level in the Merwede, a tributary of the Rhine river, is too high. In addition four channels will be dug to allow water to flow over into the polder.
Although this controlled flooding means most of the arable farms and some families living in the Noordwaard will have to move, it will ease the pressure on other more populated areas and lower the risk of flooding elsewhere.

For the Netherlands, the 2006 government plan called 'Room for the river' is a big turnaround. Instead of fighting to keep the land painstakingly away from water, the decision was made in 2005 to sacrifice certain areas to keep the rest safer from floods.

"Since 1850 you see on maps that we have been taking more and more land from the rivers, 'Room for the river' is the first step in reversing that movement," Wino Aarnink, the project's manager at the Dutch ministry of Transport and Water Managment, explained.
The Netherlands has 26 percent of land below sea level but some two-thirds of the country would flood regularly without the dikes and other flood protection.

"The Netherlands is the best protected delta area in the world and our ambition is to keep it that way, but also to minimize the effects when something does go wrong because it's never 100 percent safe," Aarnink said.
The so-called "de-polderisation" of the Noordwaard is expected to achieve a 30-centimeter (12-inch) drop in water levels at nearby Gorinchem.
In the Noordwaard area there are currently 26 farms and 49 houses. Gaastra said that roughly about a third of the houses will be demolished and most of the farms will have to move elsewhere because the land will no longer be suitable for arable farming, just for keeping livestock.

"One of the reasons the Noordwaard was chosen was that the people here wanted to cooperate and it was sparsely populated. In a more built-up area we couldn't afford buying everybody out," Gaastra said.

For the whole of the 'Room for the river', the ministry calculates that some 150 people will have to be moved to protect four million inhabitants.
Although most people living close to a river agree that new protective measures must be taken, it is a typical 'not-in-my-backyard' project, Aarnink said.
"Many people in the delta area are supportive, they remember the 1995 floods when 200,000 people had to be evacuated, but once we start demolishing houses in their area it's different."

To get the public behind the new approach, the Dutch ministry for transport and water management works with inhabitants to encourage them to come up with alternative solutions. It also launched a two million-euro a year advertising campaign to promote the turnaround in water management along the coast and in the rivers.

On a special website called the "The Netherlands lives with water", the ministry is emphatic: "We have to give water space now, if we don't the water will claim the space later".

by Stephanie van den Berg

Source : SAHRA Water News Watch / Yahoo News


28.11.07 : Next intermediary Big Jump for livingRivers : July 6, 2008 at 3 pm GMT+2

Please find more informatio on the Big Jump Website

18.11.07 : EU – EU Water Policy and Dialogue with China launched

On October 17th, during the 3rd IYRF, EU Water Policy and Dialogue with China was launched. Related officials and experts from EU and China exchanged the successful experience of water resources management in Europe and status quo of that in China from decision-making and technique aspects. Dr Stefan Agne, First Secretary, European Union, EC Delegation in China, introduced the Framework Directive of European laws related to water.

Source: EMWIS Flash

24.10.07 : France : une enquête parlementaire sur la pollution aux PCB du Rhône?
France : a Parliament's enquiry about the Rhone's PCB pollution ?
Frankreich : Parlamentarische Untersuchung der Rhoneverschmutzung durch PCB ?

La proposition de loi annoncée en septembre par Jean-Jack Queyranne, président socialiste du conseil régional de Rhône-Alpes, a été enregistrée à la présidence de l'Assemblée nationale le 17 octobre. Elle vise à créer une commission d'enquête "sur les causes et les conséquences de la pollution du fleuve Rhône et des autres fleuves et canaux du territoires par les PCB". Cette proposition fait suite au scandale dénoncé par les associations de protection de l'environnement, dont WWF et France Nature environnement (FNE) concernant le très mauvais état écologique du Rhône, contaminé par des polychlorobiphényles (PCB), substances préoccupantes pour la santé et l'environnement. La consommation de poissons du fleuve est interdite depuis un an en Rhône-Alpes et en Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Paca).

Auteure : Claire Avignon
Source : le Journal de l'Environnement du 24.10.2007

23.10.07 : Ireland's Nitrates Directive gets the green light
Irlande : la Directive Nitrate reçoit le feu vert
Irland : Annahme der Nitrat-Richtlinie

Irish ministers have welcomed the European Union's decision to close infringement proceedings in relation to Ireland's implementation of the Nitrates Directive.
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, said that the move would allow Irish agricultural businesses and Government bodies to concentrate on cutting down on pollution to the country's waterways and groundwaters.
The Nitrates Action Programme is intended to protect waters from pollution from agricultural businesses and the regulations help establish binding rules of good agricultural practice to avoid water pollution. These put an emphasis on businesses to correctly manage livestock manure and other fertilisers.
Mr Gormley said: "Most water pollution is needless and avoidable. The Nitrates Regulations can play a major part in reducing the extent of water pollution from agricultural sources.
"I expect that there will be a high level of compliance by farmers generally and that significant improvements in water quality can be achieved.
"However, in the interests of protecting water quality and in fairness to the responsible farmers who comply with good practice, I am determined that any rogue offenders have the full rigours of the law applied to them."
The minister added that he would like to see more inspections to make sure agricultural businesses complied with the rules.
Recently, it was announced that that the Government would set up a new licensing system to be operated in relation to discharges from local authority waste water treatment plants.

Author : James Cooper
Source : edie newsroom


23.10.07 : China Diverts River Water to Olympics Rowing Site
Pour les Jeux Olympiques, la Chine détourne une rivière
China leitet Fluss um für Olympiade

BEIJING, China - Beijing has had to divert water from a willow-lined river northeast of the city to replenish its Olympics rowing and canoeing venue which has run dry, Xinhua news agency said on Monday.
The municipal government had spent about 430 million yuan (US$57 million) to divert water 13 km (eight miles) from the Wenyu river to the Chaobei river which had run dry for nine consecutive years, Xinhua cited deputy director of the Shunyi district reform and development commission Qin Yongjun as saying.
The Olympic rowing and canoeing centre in Shunyi was built especially for next August's Games and features a 3-km rowing lake which holds 1.7 million cubic metres of water.
Beijing sits in the arid north China plain, where water tables are falling fast due to climate change and rising consumption by farmers and booming cities.
The country has embarked on massive engineering projects to divert water from rivers feeding the south to the dry north.
It is also starting to address the serious problem of pollution of water supplies from untreated city sewage, industrial waste and farm run-off.
Xinhua said Shaanxi province, in the northwest, will build ten sewage disposal plants to reduce pollution in the Weihe River, the largest tributary of the Yellow River.
By 2010, it plans to build 40 sewage plants along the Weihe River, which receives more than 800 million tonnes of sewage and wastewater annually.
The Weihe accounts for about 18 percent of the discharges in the Yellow River basin, the source of irrigation and drinking water for millions of people in the north. (US$1=7.508 Yuan)

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

19.10.07 : Floods Threaten Vietnam World Heritage Site
Au Vietnam, les crues menacent un site du Patrimoine Mondial
Vietnam : Hochwasser bedroht Weltkulturerbe

HUE CITY, Vietnam - Flood waters threatened the central Vietnam World Heritage town of Hoi An on Thursday, drowning at least 10 people and forcing thousands from their homes.
There were also threats of flash floods and landslides in three key coffee growing provinces in the Central Highlands, where rivers were rising following heavy rains earlier this week, the government said in a disaster report.
Heavy rain was falling in Hue, 660 km (410 miles) southeast of Hanoi, swelling floods that have isolated many areas along the north-south Highway One and forcing people to move around by boat, a Reuters photographer said.
At least 30,000 people had been moved to higher ground in the provinces of Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri, where two people drowned as their boat capsized on Wednesday, the government said.
Five people drowned in Quang Nam province, many roads were eroded by floods and inundation was threatening to collapse old houses in Hoi An.
The ancient town of Hoi An was designated as a World Heritage site in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which describes it as an exceptional example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
Three people, including a two-year-old, drowned in Quang Ngai province to the south of Quang Nam, the government said.
The flood-stricken region is not a significant rice producer, but floods have flushed away farmers' food reserves and the government said it would send 500 tonnes of rice in emergency relief to flood victims in Quang Nam.
The area affected by floods lies north of the Central Highlands coffee belt, where state forecasters said showers were expected on Thursday, two weeks before farmers are due to start their coffee harvest.
The government said flash floods could strike the Central Highland provinces of Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Kontum, which together account for 535,000 tonnes, or 8.92 million bags, of coffee, nearly half of Vietnam's production.
The Daklak government has said a serious dry spell early this year and floods in August could cut Daklak's harvest by up to 8 percent to 6.67 million bags.
Earlier this month, the worst floods in decades killed nearly 100 people after a storm lashed Vietnam's central coast. The three-month flood and storm season is due to end this month.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

18.10.07 : China, EU in Campaign to Clean Up China's Rivers
Chine : l'UE en campagne pour nettoyer les rivières chinoises
China : EU Kampagne um die chinesischen Flüsse zu reinigen

BEIJING, China - China and the European Union have launched a 175 million euro (US$248 million) campaign to clean up the country's two largest river basins as Beijing struggles to cope with the environmental consequences of rapid growth.
The five-year programme to clean up the Yangtze and Yellow river basins will work out policies on pollution control and promote public awareness about reducing industrial pollution and waste discharge, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
The project will also pay people living in China's southwestern provinces to plant trees in an effort to improve the ecology along the Yangtze.
The Yangtze basin is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, due to decades of heavy industrialisation, damming and influxes of sediment.
A stretch of the Yellow River became so polluted it turned red from contamination last year and nearly a third of all fish species in it have become extinct.
The problem of water shortages in China has also been compounded by pollution, with billions of tonnes of untreated waste water pumped directly into lakes and rivers.
(US$1=.7056 euro)

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

17.10.07 : USA : Record September Temperatures Extend Southeast Drought
USA : Les températures record de septembre ont provoqué l'extension de la sécheresse au Sud Est
USA : September Rekodtemperaturen sind schuld für Dürre im Südosten

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina, USA (ENS) - Temperatures in September 2007 were the eighth warmest on record, hot enough to break 1,000 daily high records across the United States, say scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville.
The global surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record for September, and the extent of Arctic Sea ice reached its lowest amount in September since satellite measurements began in 1979, shattering the previous record low set in 2005.
The heat extended the worsening drought to almost half of the contiguous United States, with the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Tennessee Valley experiencing the driest conditions. Thirty-eight of the 48 contiguous states were warmer than average, and no state was cooler than average for the month.
Temperatures at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport reached a high of 101 degrees F (38 degrees C) on September 10, the latest date in any calendar year with a maximum daily temperature greater than 100 degrees since recordkeeping began in 1944.
Drought affected 78 percent of the Southeast, with almost one-quarter of the region affected by exceptional drought conditions, the highest stage of drought, according to the federal U.S. Drought Monitor.
North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten said the drought is having a tremendous impact on the state's people and agricultural industry. "This is especially true for the livestock industry," he said. "There is, and will be, huge shortages of forage feeds to get cattle, horses, sheep and goats through the winter."
Reports from farmers indicate that the state's hay shortage could be as high as 800,000 round bales, forcing farmers to seek other options for feeding cattle through the winter. Farmers whose corn and soybean crops were damaged by the drought have offered to help livestock producers by baling and selling their crops for animal feed.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has requested funds to aid in the transportation of hay, both from within and outside the state, to producers in North Carolina.
In response, last week, the North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance donated $10,000 to help the drought-stricken farmers.
Duke Energy Corp. and West Brothers Transportation Services Inc. are donating trucking services to help cattle farmers cope with the hay shortage, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced today.
The companies volunteered to haul loads of baled cornstalks from eastern North Carolina farms to western counties over the next four to five weeks. The bales will be sold to farmers on a first-come, first-served basis.
"We are extremely happy that Duke Energy and West Brothers Transportation have stepped up to help farmers cope with the drought," Troxler said. "One of the challenges we're facing is the cost of transporting hay and alternative feeds to livestock producers across the state. Fortunately, these companies care enough to donate their resources and time to making a difference for our farmers."
Earlier this year, the state Environmental Management Commission adopted the North Carolina Water Conservation Rule. Part of the rule requires farmers who use more than one million gallons of water per day for any one day during the year to prepare a water conservation management plan and to implement the plan when a drought is declared in their area.

Source : Environement News Service
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.

17.10.07 : Etats-Unis: des normes de rejets pas assez respectées
USA : water discharge norms are not enough respected
USA : Abwässernormen ungenügend respektiert

A l'occasion du 35e anniversaire du Clean water act, l'organisation à but non lucratif Public interest research group (PIRG) (1) publie un bilan de son application durant l'année 2005. Cette réglementation vise à assurer la qualité chimique et biologique des eaux aux Etats-Unis, mais selon le PIRG, le pays est loin d'avoir atteint les objectifs fixés en 1972. Dans son rapport basé sur des données de l'Agence de protection de l'environnement (EPA), il montre que plus de 3.600 installations majeures du pays (57%) ont dépassé au moins une fois en 2005 les limites qui leur étaient imposées, de 263% en moyenne. Ces stations d'épuration d'agglomérations ou d'industries sont soumises à un programme de limitation de rejets polluants (2). Les Etats qui ont enregistré le plus grand nombre de dépassements des limites permises sont l'Ohio, la Pennsylvanie et l'Etat de New York.
PIRG appelle les responsables fédéraux à travailler avec les Etats pour lutter contre cette pollution illégale et nettoyer tous les cours d'eau. Selon elle, l'administration Bush a proposé et mis en œuvre de nombreuses mesures qui affectent le Clean water act et menacent les rivières, lacs, zones humides, ruisseaux et eaux côtières (3).
D'après un inventaire de l'EPA, les pollueurs ont rejeté plus de 240 millions de pounds (0,108 million de tonnes) de substances chimiques toxiques dans les cours d'eau en 2005.

(1) Le PIRG a pour mission de protéger l'environnement et la santé des citoyens. Il travaille avec un réseau de chercheurs, avocats, militants… au niveau des Etats
(2) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program
(3) Voir l'article du JDLE "Etats-Unis: le périmètre limité de la loi sur l'eau"

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : Le Journal de l'Environnement du 17.10.2007

16.10.07 : France : Prévention des risques d'inondations : les PAPI à l'heure européenne
France and its Flood risks Manangement in the european context
Frankreich prüft seine Hochwasser Vorsorge im europäischen Kontext

Cabinet de la secrétaire d'Etat chargée de l'Ecologie, Paris
Les risques d'inondations constituent un enjeu majeur. Ils concernent 5 millions de personnes et près d'une commune sur quatre. Les dommages potentiels des grandes inondations s'élèvent à plusieurs dizaines de milliards d'euros sur le territoire français. Depuis 2002, une réforme de la politique de prévention a donc été engagée. Elle s'articule autour de la mise en place des Programmes d'Actions de Prévention des Inondations (PAPI) qui regroupent les propositions définies par les collectivités et les services de l'Etat. Forts de leur réussite, quinze nouveaux PAPI ont été lancés sur des bassins versants particulièrement sensibles, début 2007, s'ajoutant ainsi aux 42 PAPI retenus en 2003.
Afin d'échanger leurs savoir-faire et expériences en la matière, les responsables en charge de ces programmes se sont rassemblés mardi 16 octobre, au ministère de l'Ecologie, du Développement et de l'Aménagement durables, dans le cadre d'une réunion de coordination nationale.
A cette occasion, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Secrétaire d'Etat chargée de l'écologie, a annoncé qu'une évaluation des PAPI à mi-parcours, a été confiée à l'Inspection Générale de l'Environnement, dont les résultats seront présentés au cours de l'année 2008.
Par ailleurs, l'adoption de la directive européenne relative à l'évaluation et à la gestion des risques d'inondations, adoptée le 18 septembre dernier, implique l'ouverture de nouveaux chantiers : la transposition de la directive en droit français, l'actualisation de la cartographie des aléas et des enjeux et l'élaboration des plans de gestion des risques d'inondations à l'échelle d'unité hydrographique cohérente. " Les PAPI sont des instruments d'avenir, d'autant plus qu'ils constituent le modèle qu'il nous faudra mobiliser pour l'élaboration de ces plans d'actions " a conclu la Secrétaire d'Etat.

PAPI : Programme d'Actions de Prévention des Inondations

Contacts presse : Anne DORSEMAINE,
Tél. : 01 42 19 11 68
courriel :
20 avenue de Ségur - 75007 PARIS


16.10.07 : Les biocarburants, un danger pour l'eau
Biofuels, a danger for water
Agrotreibstoffproduktion gefährdet Wasser

Un rapport du Conseil national américain de la recherche indique qu'aux Etats-Unis, le boom de l'éthanol, accentué par l'objectif fédéral de production de 35 milliards de gallons (132 milliards de litres) par an de carburants alternatifs (dont l'éthanol) d'ici 2017 pourrait affecter les ressources en eau potable dans certaines régions du pays. Dans les Hautes plaines, "l'aquifère est déjà exploité à tel point que sa recharge par les précipitations est très, très inférieure aux utilisations d'eau, phénomène qui sera accentué par toute augmentation de la culture du maïs ou de l'agriculture irriguée dans la région", a déclaré Jerald Schnoor, professeur d'ingénierie environnementale à l'université d'Iowa.
De la même façon, l'Institut international de gestion de l'eau (IWMI), groupe de recherche scientifique basé au Sri Lanka, vient de publier un rapport estimant que les biocarburants vont accentuer la tension sur les ressources en eau déjà soumises à pression, en particulier en Inde et en Chine. "La production domestique de biocarburants dérivés des récoltes ne fera que tendre l'approvisionnement en eau de ces pays, et compromettra gravement leur capacité à répondre aux besoins d'alimentation futurs", précise-t-il. Un litre d'éthanol fabriqué à partir de maïs en Chine nécessiterait 2.400 litres (l) d'eau d'irrigation, et un litre fabriqué à partir de canne à sucre en Inde en demanderait 3.500. Au Brésil, 90 l d'eau sont requis pour faire un litre d'éthanol à partir de canne à sucre.

Auteure : Agnès Ginestet
Source : Le Journal de l'Environnement du 16.10.2007


15.10.07 : South Africa Govt Denies Sewage Spill Into Rivers
Le gouvernement d'Afrique du Sud dément les rejets d'eaux usées dans les rivières
Südafrika dementiert Verschmutzung seiner Flüsse durch Abwässer

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The South African government denied on Friday that sewage had spilled into rivers in Gauteng province, home to the country's business hub Johannesburg.
The department of water affairs said on state broadcaster SABC untreated water rather than sewage had spilled into the rivers, and drinking water in the province was still safe.
"Gauteng is very well serviced...communities have access to water from taps and therefore the damage is very minimal, the risk is very minimal to the community," said Hilgard Matthews of the department of water affairs.
The department said its environmental studies had shown the water was not harmful and people were not at risk.
Reports on Thursday had blamed the spillage on power outages, raising fears drinking water could be contaminated.
South African cities have suffered a number of power outages as demand outstrips supply and infrastructure is ageing.
State power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] has proposed raising electricity prices by 18 percent to fund an upgrading programme.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


12.10.07 : China to Move 4 Million from Three Gorges
La Chine s'apprête à déplacer 4 millions de personnes de la vallée des Trois Gorges
China : 4 Milionen Personen mussen das Drei Schluchten Tal verlassen

BEIJING, China - China is to relocate at least 4 million more people from the Three Gorges Dam reservoir area in the next 10 to 15 years to protect its "ecological safety", Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
The US$25 billion dam near Chongqing, in southwest China, is the world's largest hydropower project, but even senior officials who have defended the project as an engineering wonder now warn that areas around the dam are paying a heavy environmental cost.
They cite erosion and landslides on steep hills around the dam, conflicts over land shortages and "ecological deterioration caused by irrational development".
The dam, whose construction flooded 116 towns and hundreds of cultural sites and displaced 1.4 million people, is a work in progress, but state media have said it could be completed by the end of 2008, just after the Beijing Olympic Games.
"More than 4 million people currently living in northeast and southwest Chongqing, where the Three Gorges Reservoir extends for 600 km (360 miles), would be encouraged to resettle on the urban outskirts about an hour's bus ride from downtown Chongqing," Xinhua said, quoting a report on the on news site.
No details about the relocation were available, but Yu Yuanmu, vice mayor of Chongqing, was quoted by Xinhua as saying the ecological safety of the area was at risk from the growing population.
Environmentalists have long criticised the project, saying silt trapped behind the dam is causing erosion and warning that the dam's reservoir will turn into a cesspool of raw sewage and industrial chemicals backing onto Chongqing.
The State Council had approved a plan which was of "great importance to the environmental protection" of the area, Jiang Yong, director of the Chongqing development plan bureau, was quoted by the China Daily as saying.
"One of the key elements in Chongqing's new development plan is to further our efforts to protect the environment of the reservoir area since the environment here has changed greatly due to the Three Gorges project and massive population relocation."
Relocation has also been a flashpoint for unrest over the dam. Many object to being moved away from their communities and livelihoods, and petitioners have accused local governments of pocketing much of their compensation.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News service

11.10.07 : Water industry must adapt to inevitable climate damage
L'industrie de l'eau doit s'adapter aux inévitables dérèglements climatiques
Wasserindustrie muss sich Klimawandel anpassen

The Government and water industry must start adapting now to the damage already done by greenhouse gas emissions.
That was the stark warning delivered by the chairman of the environment agency as the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) opened its annual conference on Tuesday.
Sir John Harman called for the forthcoming Climate Change Bill to look at the need to adapt to inevitable temperature rises, as well as measures to reduce future emissions.
He added that an independent board may need to be set up to examine how the UK can meet the challenges of global warming, such as water shortages in summer and more intense inland flooding.
Sir John said: "The Climate Change Bill is quite significant because it tries to address the political logjam.
"We do need that bill to think about how adaptation response is going to be brought into the framework."
Average global temperatures have already risen by 0.7 degrees Celsius and are expected to rise by at least another degree even if emissions can be tightly curbed.
Sir John added: "Whatever we manage to do on carbon emissions, we already know about the adaptation challenge.
"Our response at the Environment Agency has been to go through a process of climate proofing everything we do."
Sir John told delegates the water industry faces four major challenges in tackling climate change - improving the quality of flood risk management, tackling water scarcity, meeting the cost of adaptation and protecting biodiversity.
He welcomed the increased investment pledged by the Government for flood risk management, bringing the total to £800m, but said that this needs to be raised to £1bn by 2015.
Sir John said: "The cost of doing nothing is worse than the cost of doing something."

Author : Kate Martin
Source : Edie Newsroom


11.10.07 : UK : Insurers Threaten to Stop Flood Protection
Royaume Uni : les assureurs menacent de ne plus assurer contre les crues
UK : Versicherungen drohen für Hochwasserschäden nicht mehr aufzukommen

LONDON, United Kingdom - Insurers warned on Wednesday they might not be able to provide cover in flood-prone areas unless the government puts more money into defences. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the government had let down millions of homeowners and businesses after failing to commit sufficient money to flood defences in its comprehensive spending review this week.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said on Tuesday that spending on flood management would increase to a minimum of 650 million pounds in 2008/9 and a minimum of 700 million pounds a year later, rising to 800 million pounds by 2010/11.
But Stephen Haddrill, the ABI's director general, told BBC radio: "We really want to carry on being able to provide this service. It's almost unique in the world and we think it is a very important contribution to the protection of our customers.
"But obviously we can't keep providing it at significant loss.
"So what we are going to be looking for from the government is a recognition of what happened this summer and an increase on the level they've announced today to reflect the lessons learnt and to reflect the results of their own reviews which they are now conducting."
He said the amount of government spending for the next three years was less than the ABI had been asking for, even before the floods.
"It does not begin to address the major issues, including drainage, which were highlighted this summer," he said in a statement.
He said that before the floods, the ABI had called for 2.25 billion pounds to be spent over three years but that the government had announced just 2.15 billion.
This summer saw parts of the country suffer their worst flooding in 60 years, with more than 130,000 homes in Gloucestershire forced to rely on bottled water and emergency water tanks after floods forced the closure of treatment plants.
Insurers put the estimated damage at 3 billion pounds.
Head of the Environment Agency Baroness Young told BBC radio on Wednesday that the government needed to take a long-term view of the challenges of climate change and surface water drainage.
"We need to anticipate for 10 to 20 years," she said.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

11.10.07 : Many French Rivers Polluted by Banned Chemical
De nombreuses rivières françaises sont polluées par des produits chimiques pourtant interdits
Frankreich : zahlreich Flüsse sind mit verbotenen Substanzen verschmutzt

PARIS, France - Rivers in eastern and northern France are contaminated with chemicals that have been outlawed since 1987 and are proving very hard to eliminate, a government report said on Wednesday.
France earlier this year banned fishing from much of the River Rhone which runs through the southeastern corner of the country, because scientists said it contained dangerous levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB).
But the latest report said other rivers were in an even worse condition because of industrial dumping dating back decades, including the Seine which runs through Paris.
PCB was used primarily as cooling and insulating fluid for electricity transformers and capacitors, but has been banned in France since 1987 after research showed it could cause fertility, growth or cancer problems in humans.
"PCB has been very heavily used in industry since the 1930s, so we are suffering the consequences of long-standing pollution," said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the secretary of state of ecology.
She told Le Parisien daily she wanted to see the results of more tests before deciding about stopping fishing in the Seine, but held out little hope of a swift decontamination of any of the rivers involved.
"One cannot de-pollute all the Rhone. Technically and economically it would be impossible," she said.
"If you dredge the rivers, you risk releasing PCBs held in the silt. Other solutions, including biological ones, are being studied, such as the use of bacterias which can digest the PCBs," she added.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News Service


10.10.07 : Uganda Flood Victims Risk Death by Hunger, Cholera
Ouganda : les victimes des crues risquent de mourir de faim ou de choléra
Uganda : Hunger und Cholera bedrohen Hochwasser-Opfer

KAMPALA, Uganda - Thousands of Ugandans face severe food shortages, malnutrition and cholera due to flooding that has forced them from their homes, aid agencies said on Tuesday.
In separate statements, the UN World Food Programme and British charity Oxfam said 300,000 Ugandans had been affected by some of the worst floods in living memory. A fifth of them were forced to flee their homes.
Uganda has been one of the countries worst hit by torrential rains and flash floods that have swept over east and west Africa washing away villages, food crops and animals.
Conservative estimates put the total number of people killed -- from Ethiopia in the east to Senegal in the west -- at 200. Aid agencies say 1 million people are affected.
In Uganda, 20 people have died and with more rain expected aid workers fear the toll could climb.
"We are quickly running out of food ... before long, thousands of flood-hit families will have nothing else to eat," WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said.
"It can take just days for ... acute malnutrition to claim the life of a child."
WFP said it needs about US$25 million for emergency food aid and vehicles.
Oxfam said the risk of a cholera epidemic was also serious because of reduced access to clean water".
Hundreds joined Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on a walk through Kampala on Friday to raise money for flood victims.

Source : Planet Ark and Reuters News service

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