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31.12.08 : China Slows Water Project
South-to-North Plan Faces 4-Year Delay on Impact Concerns

Wall Street Journal. DECEMBER 31, 2008

BEIJING -- China is delaying part of its plan to divert billions of tons of water to its parched north, amid concerns that the massive
project could cause previously unexpected environmental damage.

The four-year delay affects the central of three sections of the controversial "South-to-North" water diversion project. The project is
designed to move water from China's central and southern regions up to the arid northern provinces -- in some cases hundreds of kilometers
away along three man-made channels.

The total project, at an estimated $62 billion, is expected to cost nearly three times the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest dam, and
to take decades to complete. It is expected to require the relocation of some 300,000 people and, when finished, to carry a volume of water
along its eastern, central and western routes that's more than half of California's annual consumption.

The eastern route, which mostly follows the ancient Grand Canal, is largely done. The mountainous western route, which is the most
controversial and technically challenging, isn't slated for completion until 2050. The central section was supposed to start operation in
2010, but officials now say it will be launched in 2014.

In a written response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, the South-to-North Water Diversion Office under the State Council, China's
cabinet, confirmed changes in the plan, but said the new timetable represents an "adjustment," not a delay. "We have taken appropriate
measures to mitigate the environmental adverse effects that the construction projects may make," the office said. The new measures
include dams that could maintain higher water levels and ways to cut pollution.

The government says the South-to-North project is the only way to solve chronic water shortages. China's water supply relative to its
population is a quarter of the world average ratio, and most of the water is concentrated in the south. In Beijing, the capital, located
in the north, the ratio is one-thirtieth the world average. The north's main river, the Yellow River, has temporarily dried up in some
places, and underground aquifers are badly depleted. The South-to-North project, first proposed by Mao Zedong in 1952, was
approved in 2001.

Critics, mostly scientists and environmentalists, have continued to voice opposition to the project, fearing it will waste tens of
billions of dollars and damage the environment while offering only a temporary fix. During 2008, local governments joined in the criticism.

The central stretch of the project runs from the Han River, a Yangtze River tributary in central China's Hubei Province, north to Beijing.
During December, Zou Qingping, the deputy chief of the Hubei Province bureau of environmental protection, told the local government that
reducing water in the Han River would worsen pollution, according to several local media reports. China's state-controlled media was
allowed to report extensively on the controversy, a marked departure from the strict controls over coverage of the Three Gorges Dam.

The revised plans for the central section, approved during December, include building a dam and diverting water from the Yangtze River into
the Han. But Du Yun, a geologist with the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics at the China Academy of Sciences, said that even those
measures may not be sufficient. His research claims that siphoning off a third of the water from the Han River's Danjiangkou reservoir, as
the plan calls for, will raise the risk of floods, increase sediment and worsen water quality -- hurting navigation and irrigation for
local residents, and limiting supplies for industrial and municipal use.

The new plan doesn't address the more controversial western route, which would transfer water along canals carved through rock from the
Yangtze headwaters in Tibet to the Yellow River.

-Ellen Zhu in Shanghai and Gao Sen and Kersten Zhang in Beijing
contributed to this article.


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23.12.08 : Turkey : Ilisu Dam Project facing severe backlash, NGOs welcome decision by Germany, Austria and Switzerland to suspend contracts (NGO Press Release)

Vienna, Berlin, Berne, Dec. 23, 2008 --- The European Ilisu Campaign welcomed the historic announcement by the German, Austrian and Swiss Governments to pull out of the Ilisu Dam project in Turkey after 180 days and claimed a landmark campaign victory. This unprecedented withdrawal reflects the serious social, cultural and environmental damage posed by the proposed dam. It is the first time that an agreed export credit guarantee has been suspended by any European Government. However, the European Ilisu Campaign remains concerned that the final withdrawal can only take place after a 180 day period.

“We are delighted and welcome this necessary and courageous step by the three governments. We will do everything to ensure that the withdrawal will be completed after the 180 day period”, declared the members of the European Ilisu Campaign - “CounterCurrent” of Germany, ECA-Watch Austria, and the Berne Declaration of Switzerland. These non-government organisations announced that they will step up their work in Turkey to have the Ilisu region recognised and listed as a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.

This decision of the German, Austrian and Swiss Governments means that the delivery contracts of the European construction companies – Andritz in Austria, Zueblin AG in Germany, , and Alstom in Switzerland – have been suspended thus stopping themfrom proceeding with any project deliveries. Furthermore, the European banks - Bank Austria/UniCredit, DekaBank and Société Générale – cannot disburse the loans they approved. This will leave the project a shortfall of 500 million Euros which will be very difficult for Turkey to raise - especially in the wake of the financial crisis.

With this important decision officially labelling the Ilisu Dam Project as deficient, it is much more likely that the Tigris valley at Ilisu will be saved. The decision will further strengthen the national campaign inside Turkey which had already been boosted by the backing of prominent national actors and musicians.

Despite Turkey’s voiced intent to go ahead with the construction under any circumstances, other potential financiers will be much more careful to get involved and expose themselves to strong international criticism.

The proposed Ilisu Dam would displace approximately 65,000 people, destroy 400 km of river ecosystems and threaten numerous species. Approximately 300 important archaeological sites would be submerged in the reservoir including Hasankeyf, one of the oldest permanently inhabited towns on the planet.


Heike Drillisch, CounterCurrent, ++49(0)177 – 345 26 11
Ulrich Eichelmann, ECA-Watch Austria, ++43 (676) 662 1512
Christine Eberlein, Berne Declaration, ++41 794263056

see also our RiverNet Ilisu pages


23.12.08 : Ilisu-Projekt vor dem Aus. NGOs begrüßen Entscheidung, die Lieferverträge zu suspendieren.

(Wien, Berlin, Bern 23.12.2008) - Hocherfreut reagiert die europäische Ilisu Kampagne auf die Ankündigung Deutschlands, aus dem Ilisu Staudammprojekt nach einer Frist von 180 Tagen auszusteigen. Da die Entscheidung im Konsens gefallen ist, werden auch die Schweizer und die österreichische Ankündigung in Kürze erwartet. Dies ist ein einzigartiger Schritt, denn weltweit wurde nie zuvor eine bereits bewilligte Deckung von Lieferaufträgen ausgesetzt. Ein wichtiger Etappensieg der Ilisu-Kampagne ist damit erreicht. Einziger Wermutstropfen, so die Nichtregierungsorganisationen, ist die erneute 180 Tagesfrist für die Türkei. Erst danach kann der Ausstieg endgültig vollzogen werden.

"Wir begrüßen den notwendigen und mutigen Schritt der drei Staaten. Wir werden alles daran setzen, dass der Ausstieg in einem halben Jahr endgültig vollzogen wird“, so Heike Drillisch, Koordinatorin der deutschen Ilisu-Kampagne „GegenStrömun“. Außerdem kündigen die Organisationen an, die Arbeit in der Türkei zu verstärken. Das Ziel ist, den Bau des Staudamms zu verhindern und stattdessen die Region zum UNESCO Weltkultur- und Weltnaturerbe zu erklären

Die Entscheidung Deutschlands, Österreichs und der Schweiz bedeutet, dass die Lieferverträge der europäischen Baufirmen - die Andritz AG, die im Besitz der STRABAG befindliche deutsche Züblin AG und der Schweizer Generatorenlieferant Alstom – suspendiert werden und diese jetzt keine Lieferungen an das Projekt vornehmen können. Auch die europäischen Banken - Bank Austria/UniCredit, DekaBank und Société Générale – können ihre zugesagten Kredite nicht auszahlen. Insgesamt fehlen der Türkei damit ca. 500 Mio Euro, die angesichts der Finanzkrise nicht so leicht zu ersetzen sind.
Die Chancen sind damit deutlich gestiegen, dass der Ilisu-Staudamm trotz gegenteiliger Beteuerungen der Türkei nicht realisiert wird. Durch den bedeutenden Schritt der Europäer ist das Projekt offiziell als „ungenügend“ abgestempelt. Andere Finanziers werden sich vorsehen, in ein solches Projekt einzusteigen und sich damit internationaler Kritik auszusetzen. Zudem erhält die Kampagne in der Türkei neuen Auftrieb. Zuletzt hatten sich zahlreiche prominente Musiker und Schauspieler der Kampagne in der Türkei angeschlossen.

Durch den Ilisu-Staudamm würden rund 65.000 Menschen ihre Heimat verlieren, 400 Kilometer Flusslandschaften zerstört und zahlreiche Tier- und Pflanzenarten gefährdet. Circa 300 wertvolle archäologische Stätten würden im Stausee versinken, darunter eine der ältesten Städte der Menschheit, Hasankeyf.

Kontakt: Heike Drillisch, 0177 – 345 26 11
GegenStrömung - Ilisu-Kampagne Deutschland
CounterCurrent - Ilisu Campaign Germany
Heike Drillisch, Tel. ++49-(0)177-345 26 11

ECA Watch ísterreich
c/o GLOBAL 2000 Umweltschutzorganisation
Neustiftgasse 36, 1070 Wien

weitere Infos auf unseren RiverNet Seiten zu Ilisu

18.12.08 : China : Yunnan's Xiaowan Hydropower Station started filling with water

This is the fourth dam on the Upper Mekong cascade that has been completed, and as the article states, is the largest dam in the cascade. We will start to see even greater impacts downstream once Xiaowan becomes operational.

According to Sinohydro Corporation, Yunnan Xiaowan Hydropower Station has already closed the dam gates, and started filling with water. This
paved the way for power generation one year ahead of schedule.

Xiaowan Hydropower Station is located in the middle reaches of Lancang River. Its installed capacity is 4200 MW, which is among the largest
dam of the eight-dam cascade in the middle and lower reaches of Lancang River. Sinohydro Corporation is responsible for the
construction of diversion tunnel.

The construction of Xiaowan Hydropower Station started in 20th January 2002, and the river was dammed in 12th October 2004. Once it formed a
reservoir of 14.9 billion cubic meter, it can effectively regulate the downstream flow during the flood and dry seasons, and the Lancang-
Mekong River will become a truly "golden waterway".

Source: Xinhua Net. 18 December 2008,
via : IR International Rivers

12.12.08 : China: Conference: Official Cites Hydropower's Messy Splash (Caijing Magazine)

A top political adviser says more government oversight is needed in the wake of a decade of disorderly hydropower development in China.

By staff reporter Han Wei, From the Caijing Annual Conference ,

The rapid development of hydropower in China has been marked by poor planning and environmental damage that calls for more efficiency in government, said Shao Bingren, a senior official at the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Speaking at the Caijing annual conference in Beijing on December 12, Shao said a snapshot of China's excessive and disorderly development of hydropower can be found along the upper Yangtze River, where the environment has been put at risk.

A study by a research team under CPPCC, China's top political adviser, has found more than 3,000 hydropower plants operating or planned along the Yangtze's upper reaches and its tributaries suffer from weak management or supervision.

Local governments in China's river-rich southwest have been accelerating hydropower plant construction in recent years as part of a major effort to resolve local power shortages. But many projects have lacked a scientific approach to planning, Shao said.

According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, 26 hydropower plants were built along the 503-kilometer Tuo River in Sichuan Province - nearly one every 20 kilometers. And eight hydropower plants have been built along the 120-kilometer upper Min River, said Shao.

These dense concentrations of hydropower plants are destroying local environments. And some plants were built in earthquake zones, posing huge risks.

Shao said the development strategy for the hydropower industry in the Yangtze region is now a decade old. But execution of the strategy has been irrational.

Now, Shao said, government administration over the industry should be strengthened by tightening supervision and providing more guidance.

In addition, Shao said, governments can use the current economic slowdown as an opportunity to improve government administration, reform pricing system and boost social services, which he thinks will help China emerge successfully from the global financial crisis.

source : Caijing Magazine, via International Rivers

27.11.08 : ICOLD (Art. Le Monde) : Longtemps bannis, les grands barrages reviennent en force

Pour ses 80 ans, lundi 24 novembre, la Commission internationale des grands barrages (CIGB) a fait couler le champagne sous la coupole du Palais de la découverte, à Paris. Après des années de purgatoire, cette organisation regroupant tous les grands noms du secteur a de bonnes raisons de croire à son retour en grâce.

Les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) continuent de dénoncer les dangers des grands barrages sur l'environnement et l'impact social de déplacements de populations rarement maîtrisé, mais leurs arguments portent peu face à ceux mettant en avant l'urgence face au changement climatique et à la crise alimentaire. En 2005, la Banque mondiale a donné sa bénédiction en soutenant la construction de Nam Theun 2 au Laos. "Tous les feux sont au vert", résume Michel de Vivo, secrétaire général de la CIGB.

Les chiffres confirment ce tournant : 1 201 grands barrages - à savoir des ouvrages de plus de 15 mètres de haut stockant au minimum 3 millions de mètres cubes d'eau - étaient en construction en 2007 ; 178 avaient été mis en service l'année précédente. Le mouvement concerne tous les continents, même s'il est largement tiré par les BRIC (Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine).

Pour Pékin, l'équation est simple. "Le développement des barrages est une priorité pour réduire notre dépendance au charbon et assurer notre sécurité alimentaire", explique Shucheng Wang, président du Comité chinois des grands barrages. "20 % du plan de relance adopté pour faire face aux impacts de la crise financière mondiale seront consacrés à sécuriser nos ressources en eau au cours des deux prochaines années", précise M. Wang : soit plus de 100 milliards de dollars qui iront notamment dans les barrages.

Pour défendre la place de l'hydroélectricité dans la palette des solutions alternatives aux énergies fossiles, ses promoteurs mettent l'accent sur trois avantages : elle fait partie des énergies renouvelables, elle est peu polluante et son coût est plus faible. "D'autant plus faible que les barrages sont gigantesques", selon Michel de Vivo qui met les 3 cents du prix de revient du kilowattheure produit dans l'hydraulique en face du 0,5 dollar de l'énergie solaire ou des 10 cents de l'éolien.

Dominique Nahon, directrice du développement durable d'EDF, se veut toutefois plus prudente : "Nous devons démontrer qu'en milieu tropical, le bilan carbone de nos barrages est positif." Ce qui est loin d'être acquis. Des études ont montré que les réservoirs de barrage constituent, au moins dans les premières années de la mise en service, des sources importantes d'émissions de gaz à effet de serre en raison des rejets de méthane liés à la décomposition des végétaux submergés. Le président de la CGIB, Luis Berga, ne juge pas l'obstacle insurmontable : "Nous savons ce qu'il faut faire. Il existe des recommandations reconnues par la communauté internationale. Et aujourd'hui, aucun grand barrage ne trouve de financement s'il ne les respecte pas", assure-t-il en plaidant pour que ces infrastructures soient reconnues comme des investissements prioritaires dans la stratégie d'adaptation au changement climatique.


La requête n'est pas anodine. Si la Chine, assise sur ses centaines de milliards de dollars de réserves de change, peut se passer des financements internationaux pour assumer sa politique des grands barrages - à commencer par celui des Trois-Gorges -, ce n'est pas le cas de l'Afrique. Or le continent noir demeure un espace largement inexploité. Son potentiel hydroélectrique représente 13 % du total mondial mais seulement 8 % sont utilisés. Si trois des plus grands barrages mondiaux y ont été construits, ils sont réservés à l'irrigation. 70 % de la population est privée d'accès à l'énergie courante.

Lundi, à Paris, l'Union africaine, la CGIB et d'autres partenaires du monde de l'énergie ont signé une "déclaration mondiale en faveur des barrages et de l'hydroélectricité pour le développement durable de l'Afrique". Derrière cette annonce pompeuse, les intentions sont claires : les grands barrages doivent redevenir un instrument du développement de ces pays.

"La saison sèche dure huit mois par an. Sans retenue d'eau pour développer l'irrigation qui, aujourd'hui, ne concerne que 7 % des terres arables, nous ne pourrons améliorer notre productivité. Et nous avons besoin d'électricité pour la conservation des récoltes", plaide le ministre de l'agriculture du Burkina Faso, Abdoulaye Combary. Son pays va lancer les travaux du quatrième grand barrage du pays à Samendeni, sur le fleuve Mouhoun. La Banque mondiale, la Banque africaine de développement et des pays arabes apportent l'essentiel des 180 millions de dollars que coûtera le projet. Le site avait été identifié en 1976, après la grande sécheresse au Sahel.

Laurence Caramel, Le Monde
Article paru dans l'édition du 27.11.08.

26.11.08 : Australia / Traveston Dam project : Aussie Activists Celebrate Dam Suspension (by IR)

Communities in the Mary Valley in Queensland, Australia, are celebrating the announcement by state Premier, Anna Bligh, that construction on a bitterly opposed dam would be delayed by up to four years. The Traveston Crossing Dam would displace hundreds of families, flood thousands of acres of rich farmland, and endanger iconic species including the Queensland lungfish and the endangered Mary River turtle and cod.

Proponents claim the dam is needed to increase water storage because of the worsening droughts caused by global warming. Opponents point to studies showing numerous cheaper alternatives for saving and storing water, and the high evaporation and greenhouse gas emissions from the big, shallow reservoir.

An email to supporters from the Save the Mary River campaign group says:

November 25th, 2008, is a day that will always be remembered in the Mary Valley as the first serious cracks started to show in the state government's push to build Traveston Dam. Anna Bligh's shock announcement that the plan would be shelved for a number of years because of environmental & economic concerns was met with jubilance as hard working campaigners flocked to the banks of the Mary River to celebrate.

Whilst enjoying this major victory, campaigners were very clear that they know the fight's not over yet. They vowed to increase the pressure on the state & federal government's until this dam proposal is dead & buried forever!

Within hours of the announcement, the riverbanks at Traveston Crossing were filled with people and media... Check out the new album on called 'Backdown or Backoff?' and share the joy of the Save the Mary campaign!

I visited the beautiful Mary valley in September 2007 together with Roberto Epple of European Rivers Network. I was amazed at the strength of opposition to the dam, which from the bumper sticks and signs along the roadsides appeared to be almost unanimous in local communities. I was also astonished at the callous and autocratic attitude of the state government which seemed determined to trample on the rights of local people. And deeply impressed at the determination, energy, creativity - and bloody good humor - of the local activists.

Congratulations to Glenda, Steve, Kevin, Arkin and all the rest of the Mary lovers. As the campaign slogan says, "In Cod We Trust!"

The Mary River announcement comes on a good Thanksgiving week for river lovers with the annoucement of a funding setback for the misleadingly cheerfully named Xalala Dam in Guatemala, and a legal roadblock for the Jirau Dam on the Maderia River in Brazil.

source : International Rivers

for more information : and /or

14.10.08 : China plans string of dams in Tibet (750 dams across Tibet )

• Hydropower seen as way to boost local economy
• Environment groups fear wider impact downstream

China is planning to build a string of new dams in southern Tibet to boost its
electricity supply, the region's chief of water resources told the Guardian.

Hundreds of millions of people across Asia depend on rivers that originate in
Tibet, and previous hydroelectric proposals have proved controversial because
of their impact on the environment, local people and communities downstream.

But officials in Lhasa argue the dams are the least damaging way of providing
power and raising living standards in the region. "Tibet is rich in water
resources and has good potential for setting up more hydropower stations and
dams," said Baima Wangdui, director of the region's water resources department.
"With the economic development of Tibet we need more resources. We will take
great care in protecting Tibet's natural life and consider the [impact] on

They add that hydropower is cleaner and more efficient than coal, oil, gas or
nuclear power stations to generate electricity. A 2003 study by the ministry of
water suggested it could generate 1,800bn kilowatt hours a year in Tibet.

The director said he did not know exactly how many dams would be built in the
next decade because there was no detailed planning as yet. But he added that
experts were considering sites.

"We haven't got any hydropower stations set up along big rivers like the
Brahmaputra, but in the future we will consider setting them up on these
sites," he said. "The upper reaches of the rivers it is forbidden to develop;
the middle reaches [in places like Lhasa and Xigatze] are more populated and
can have limited development under certain conditions and can keep the balance
with environmental protection; the lower reaches of those rivers in the deep
valleys and some remote areas are the main part we are developing."

Zhuang Hongxiang, an official at Tibet's environment bureau, added: "We are
trying to solve the electricity shortage and do the least damage to our
environment." She argued that environmental impact assessments at the planning
stage and careful supervision would ensure that the projects did not cause
damage, particularly given that exploitation of Tibet's rich water resources
was low to date.

But Tashi Tsering, a researcher on Tibetan water resources at the University of
British Columbia, warned that assessments did not recognise the full impact of
damming. While they consider local biodiversity, they frequently failed to
consider water quality and roles played by free-flowing rivers such as nutrient

"The rivers and mountains where these dams will be built and new reservoirs
will inundate are often considered sacred.

"Resettlement and compensation cannot solve the issue," added Tsering, at the
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. He said the government
shelved a hydropower project at a sacred lake in east Tibet two years ago after
opposition. "It's not that the Chinese government's policies are immovable, but
it requires strategic planning and campaigning from local people, journalists
and environmental groups," he said.

Aviva Imhof, campaign director at the International Rivers Federation, said:
"The headwaters of most of the major rivers of Asia are in Tibet, so damming
them could have implications downstream."

Tania Branigan in Lhasa
The Guardian, Tuesday October 14 2008.


China plans dams across Tibet
China is set to build more than 750 hydroelectric power stations across Tibet
to boost the region's electricity supply.

China is determined to dam Tibet's rivers and lakes despite concerns about the
local environment and about the effect the projects will have on neighbouring

Among others, Tibet is the source of the Yangtze, the Indus and the Brahmaputra
rivers. Almost half the world's population live in the irrigation basins of
rivers that originate in Tibet.

In the last eight years, the Chinese government has invested 2.9 billion RMB
(£244 million) in building hydroelectric power stations and it now wants to
step up the pace of construction.

In the past, Tibetans have opposed many of the projects. In particular, the
project to dam the holy Yamdrok Yumtso, or Scorpion Lake, which lies at 14,500
ft above sea level and is thought to contain the spirit of Tibet.

More than 1,500 members of the People's Liberation Army now guard the lake, and
no civilians are allowed near.

Chinese officials maintain, however, that the hydropower projects are the least
environmentally-damaging way of electrifying the region and raising living
standards. Wang Qinghua, the head of the regional power board, said over 1.9
million Tibetan residents, or 69 per cent of the population, now have access to
electricity, a 400 per cent increase from the figure three decades ago.

The Longtan hydropower station in Nanning will come on line before the end of
the year, according to Dai Bo, the general manager. Only the Three Gorges Dam
and the unbuilt Xiluodu Dam project are bigger in size than the 4,900 megawatt
Tibetan dam.

Longtan will cost around Pounds2.5 billion and is a key project for China's
western provinces, boasting the highest concrete dam in the world and the
largest underground industrial complex.

More than 80,000 Tibetans were relocated so that it could be built on the upper
reaches of the Hongshui river.

Two other major power stations have come online in the last year. The latest
was a 40,000 kilowatt power station which started up at Gongbo'gyamda County in
east Tibet two weeks ago.

Wang Lidong, director of the station's construction, said it had cost 60
million and would ease power shortages in the area.

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The Telegraph (UK). 14 Oct 2008

via International Rivers

08.10.08. Germany, Austria and Switzerland have started the official process of withdrawing financial support for the Ilisu project in Turkey.

According to the German Under-Secretary of State, Erich Stather, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the three countries initiated exit proceedings yesterday by sending an Environmental Failure notice to the Turkish government. From now on, Turkey has 60 days left to fulfil the conditions attached to the Ilisu Project. Non-governmental organisations consider it unlikely that Turkey will fulfil these conditions, that they have been putting off for two years, in just two months.
"The pullout could be completed by Saint Nicolas Day on the 6th December. Such a diplomatic step has not been taken ever before in the history of the European export economy", said Ulrich Eichelmann from ECA Watch Austria. Heike Drillisch from the German Ilisu Campaign CounterCurrent comments: "We welcome this long overdue decision from the three European governments. It is a great success for the Ilisu Dam Campaign. We will be watching very carefully to make sure that there are no underhand compromises made with Turkey at the last minute."
The start of the pullout process became necessary as independent experts reported time and time again that Turkey was not meeting its obligations and was ignoring international standards. In March 2007, the three countries had signed a contract with Turkey covering export credit guarantees to insure work on the Ilisu Dam project by "their" construction companies (Andritz AG, Zueblin AG, Alstom). Thereupon, Bank Austria, now UniCredit, the German Deka Bank and the French Société Générale agreed to provide loans of at least 450 million euros. This amount may not be available for the project anymore as, without governmental support, the banks are likely to also back out of the project. Contracts with the construction companies will then also be in doubt.
"The Europeans' likely pullout is good news for the inhabitants of Hasankeyf and a motivation for us to step up our opposition to the project in Turkey itself. We have been given a real chance to save our home with its nature and cultural heritage that is thousands of years old," commented the Mayor of Hasankeyf, Abdulyahap Kusen.
Worldwide opposition to the project has made "Ilisu" into one of the most controversial reservoir dam projects. A delegation from Hasankeyf including Mayor Kusen, the Turkish nature conservation organisation Doga Dernegi, and representatives of the German and Austrian Ilisu Campaign are currently in Berlin to campaign for the final pullout from the project.

Further Information:
Ulrich Eichelmann, ECA Watch Österreich,, +43-(0)676 662 1512
Heike Drillisch, Gegenströmung - Ilisu-Kampagne Deutschland,, +49-(0)177 - 345 26 11
Christine Eberlein, Erklärung von Bern,, +41-(0)794 263 056

see also ERNs Webpage

25.09.2008 : Bulgaria Government Revives Hydroelectric Projects on Danube River

Bulgaria's government decided Thursday that the Minister of Energy and Economy Petar Dimitrov was going coordinate and govern the re-launching of two joint hydroelectric projects with Romania on the Danube River - "Nikopol-Turnu Magurele" and "Silistra-Calarasi".

Dimitrov is going to chair the interdepartmental working group, which must examine, analyze and confirm the technical, economic, and environmental feasibility of the two projects, and to consider the opportunities for finding private partners to realize them.
The "Nikopol-Turnu Magurele" project envisages the construction of a dam on the Danube close to the Bulgarian town of Nikopol, and the Romanian town of Turnu Magurele, and about 7 km northwest of the town of Belene, where Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant will be constructed.
The project will aim to improve the navigation of the river, and to take advantage of its hydroelectric potential not unlike the Iron Gates Dam between Serbia and Romania.
The dam will be wide about 16 meters, which would allow the construction of a highway, and a railroad connecting the Bulgarian and the Romanian banks of the Danube.
After the completion of this project both Bulgaria and Romania are expected to have new electricity production capacities of 440 MW each, which will produce about 2200 GW/h of electricity per year.
The "Silistra-Calarasi" project will be similar, only of smaller scale. It will include the construction of a dam close to the Bulgarian city of Silistra, and a water-powered complex with the capacity of 265 MW, and production of 1642 GW/h of electricity per year.
The construction of "Nikopol-Turnu Magurele" complex was planned in the 1960s, and was formally started in 1977.
However, the positive effects of its completion were disputed by a report of the Ministry of Environment in 1999, which stated that dam would cause the river level to rise by 7 meters, and to flood three-quarters of the town of Nikopol, and 500 000 decares of agricultural land.

source :

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