Pressreleases / Communiqués / Pressemitteilungen 
(all in original language, en langue originale, in Originalsprache):

  • 20.03.00 : USA / Romania: Three times within a period of six weeks, Central Europe has suffered environmental disasters of the greatest magnitude. All originated in Romania. Call for demonstration !
  • 18.03.00 : PRESS RELEASE: Action of Solidarios con Itoiz at the World Water Forum, the Hague, The Netherlands.
  • 17.03.00 : Statement on the Report of the World Commission on Water (World Water Vision)
  • 29.02.00 : IFFEZHEIM/ RHEIN: Lachstreppe bald fertig
  • 02.03.00 : Türkei/Ilisu: Bürgermeister aud der Ilisu Region zu Abbruch seiner Europa-Reise gezwungen.
  • 01.03.00 : The river video & film festival
  • 01.03.00 : Canada: Salmon River to Flow Free in B.C
    older news

Pressreleases / Text :

20.03.00 : USA / Romania: Three times within a period of six weeks, Central Europe has suffered environmental disasters of the greatest magnitude. All originated in Romania. Call for demonstration !

On January 30, 2000, a cyanide spill from a Romanian mining operation inflicted environmental damage comparable only to the massive release of radiation that followed a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. The cyanide and metal byproducts escaping from the Aurul gold mine in Romania found their way into a tributary of the Tisza, the second largest river of Hungary. The Tisza carried the toxic material into the Danube winding its way through Vojvodina in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria into the Black Sea. The cyanide killed all life in the Tisza and caused untold environmental and economic damage in the lower Danube basin.

Less than six weeks later, on March 10, 2000, heavy rain and melting snow burst a dam at the Baia Borsa lead and zinc mine in Northern Romania, 115 miles from the Hungarian border. Some 20,000 tons of heavy metal sludge were released into a tributary of the Viso river, which then carried it, once again, into the Tisza. The river, once called the "Blonde Tisza"because of its beautiful sandy color, has turned black. According to Romanian authorities, the lead concentration of the river is twice above permissible levels, the zinc concentration nine times. The heavy metal spill has completed the destruction of the upper part of the Tisza, begun by the cyanide spill. Moreover, in Romania alone, the disaster may cost some 2,400 workers their jobs.

(See our website about further Romanian environmental problems: > >

An environmental disaster knows no borders. Clouds of dust generated by a massive volcanic outbreak in the Philippines or in Mexico may filter out sunshine halfway around the world. That cannot be prevented. But these two catastrophic events in Romania did not need to happen. They occurred as the direct result of the Romanian government's cavalier attitude about environmental issues. Romania, as well as other countries that fail to act immediately to forestall disasters, which could be prevented, must be compelled by the world community to do so. The existing body of international law, including environmental treaties must be enforced without delay and strengthened where necessary.

We invite all organizations and individuals who care for the preservation of our environment to show their support and join us at a demonstration in front of the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC 1607 23rd Street, NW, from 11 am - 2 pm, both Saturday & Sunday, April 1st & 2nd, 2000. [see map on our website]

We extend a special invitation to all Americans whose roots are in the region directly affected by the two recent disaster -- Romania, Transylvania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Vojvodina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, as well as the European Union.

If you are unable to join us in Washington, we urge you to organize a demonstration in your hometown. We all share the same environment, let us take a stand to save it!

For further information and details, please contact:

Robert Imreh

Software Engineer

Washington, DC, USA

E-mail: &

New Web Site:



18.03.00 : PRESS RELEASE: Action of Solidarios con Itoiz at the World Water Forum, the Hague, The Netherlands.


On Friday 17th March at 10:00, six members of the group ¨Solidarios con Itoiz¨ disrupted the opening ceremony of the World Water Forum at the Congress Centre of the Hague, in protest against the Itoiz dam in the Basque Country.

Two members of the group approached the Presidential Table, removed their clothes and handcuffed themselves to each other. On their bodies were painted the following slogans: ¨STOP ITOIZ DAM¨and ¨NO TO WATER >PRIVATISATION¨. These two people were eventually removed by conference security and police. Following the first interruption, there were further repeated interruptions over the next 45 minutes as two members of the group in climbing gear scaled the walls and unfurled banners with the same messages. Situated in different parts of the Amazon Hall, two other protesters hand-cuffed themselves to chairs and threw leaflets into the air and shouted slogans against the construction of big dams, like the one at Itoiz, and against the privatisation of water.

Two more members stripped naked, while others stripped off to reveal T-shirts showing the same slogans. At the same time, stink bombs were thrown, creating an unbreatheable atmosphere in the hall. After the repeated interruptions of the opening speech, the last of the protesters were arrested and violently removed from the hall by conference security and police.

This action is the latest in the European Tour ¨S.O.S Itoiz¨ that the group began in September last year, in order to publicly denounce the irrational Itoiz Dam project and the unjust sentence of five years imprisonment for eight members of the group, for defending the earth by stopping the construction of the dam by non-violent public action.

Today´s action, in common with all the actions of their long- running campaingn, has been public and non-violent.

The motive for today´s action is to condemn the World Water Forum in its totality.

This forum is nothing but a means to smooth the way for privatisation of an essential resource for life, a resource that should never belong to anybody.

Multinational corporations and government are controlling this resource and making it a commodity and an instrument of power. They disguise their massive financial incentives for this project with empty rhetoric about improving conditions in developing countries, claiming to conserve and rehabilitate ecosystems and promising flood control through monstrous constructions.

Within the logic of privatisation and speculation, huge hydraulic infrastructure, such as dams, basin management and canal systems are constructed. This means nothing but the displacement of millions of people, huge environmental destruction and a scandalous waste of public money, in irrational and useless projects. Inevitably, corruption accompanies these enterprises, as does heavy repression of public resistance to them. The Itoiz Dam is just one of the many irrational dams that are being built all over the world.

In the attempted inauguration of the World Water Forum this morning, the Forum was presented to the world as part of a democratic participative process for water management, when in fact the process was designed by powerful multinationals many years ago, without taking into account the basic needs of the people.

The aim of this forum is to publicly present water privatisation worldwide, and to set targets for government and institutions to achieve by 2005. This is an unacceptable imposition which ever way you look at it. We only have to look at the long list of promoters and sponsors, to see who is behind this: multinational corporations such as KLM, >NESTLE, SHELL Nederland, etc and institutions such as the World Bank, United Nations Enviromental programme (UNEP), UNESCO and UNICEF.

The system of water control they are trying to impose does nothing but make the rich richer and the poor poorer, removing the possibility of self-sufficiency for communities, and continuing the destruction of planet earth.



UK and Netherlands:




17.03.00 : Statement on the Report of the World Commission on Water (World Water Vision)

The report of the World Commission on Water (WCW) is a restatement of tired >orthodoxies from the international water establishment and should be >rejected by the water ministers who will meet in The Hague on 21-22 March. >The report, written by the WCW Chairman and World Bank Vice-President Ismail >Serageldin, is merely old water in a new bottle.

The title of the WCW report, "A Water Secure World: Vision for Water, Life >and the Environment", is highly misleading. It contains no vision and hardly >mentions the environment. The WCW process, with its confusing welter of >reports, fora, and 'visions' has been a waste of money and a diversion from >the vital task of creatively finding sustainable and equitable ways of >managing the world's freshwater.

The WCW claims that its report is the result of "an unprecedented >participatory effort". This is a sham. The process has been controlled from >the start by a small group of aid-agency and water multinational officials, >mainly from the Global Water Partnership, World Water Council, World Bank >and Suez-Lyonnaise des Eaux. The key conclusions of the WCW report ­ that >there is a global water shortage crisis which can only be solved with a >massive increase in private funding for water projects in developing >countries, backed up with guarantees from the World Bank and other aid >agencies ­ was predetermined. Critical viewpoints have simply been ignored >or relegated to the obscurity of the numerous supporting documents.

The WCW assumes that all public enterprises are necessarily incompetent and >inefficient, and all private water suppliers eager to serve the public good. >Examples of efficient public enterprises are ignored and privatization is >assumed to be the only way of financing infrastructure investments. The WCW >call for water to be treated purely as an “economic good” should be >rejected. Access to adequate amounts of safe water and sanitation should be >a basic right.

Much of the WCW report is a restatement of general principles already agreed >at an international water meeting in Dublin in 1992 and since endorsed at >numerous meetings of the global water establishment and promoted in numerous >World Bank reports and press releases.

The WCW analysis glosses over the fact that the problem is less one of >global shortages of either water or investments, than one of mismanagement >and skewed political priorities. The crisis is one of overconsumption, >waste, pollution, watershed degradation, rampant dam building, poorly >conceived and operated infrastructure projects, corruption and inequality.

Although the WCW gives the impression that we are all about to go thirsty, >the extra water required to ensure a minimum basic domestic supply to all >the world’s people in 2025 is only one per cent of current water >withdrawals. The main pressure on freshwater ecosystems will come from >irrigated agriculture, which currently accounts for about 85% of all water >used in Africa, Asia and Central America. However, irrigation, especially >that based on the huge dam and canal schemes promoted by agencies such as >the World Bank, is notoriously inefficient, making massive water savings >possible.

It is no surprise that one of the main recommendations of the WCW is to call >for strengthening the role of the GWP, WWC, World Bank Global Environment >Facility and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Policy >(CGIAR) in global water management. These are the institutions which have >set up and run the WCW and they are also those which have designed, funded >and promoted the policies and projects that have led to the current water >situation.

This global hydro-aid complex has thrived on corrupt, non-transparent, >unaccountable, non-participatory, unsustainable and inequitable water >mismanagement. They have promoted water and agriculture policies which have >left billions of people without access to safe water and sanitation and >adequate nutrition and ever more at risk from floods and drought. They have >built dam and irrigation projects which have deprived countless millions of >people of their rights over water, land, forests and other natural >resources.

The water ministers should ignore the pleas for money and attention from the >WCW, GWP, WWC and GEF. They have little relevance to the task of moving >toward sustainable and equitable water management around the world. > >A truly visionary report on global water would have concentrated on issues >such as: >* how to provide just reparations to those deprived of their rights by past >water projects; >* how to ensure that future project planning will be transparent and >accountable; >* how to ensure that the potential of small-scale appropriate technologies >is fairly assessed; >* how to best support successful, small-scale community-based projects and >technologies, and ensure their wide dissemination; >* how to ensure that local people will have the first right over local water >sources and will not have their means of survival stolen from them; and >* how to review existing systems to see which ones can be improved and which >should be decommissioned.

And lastly a visionary report would have put the need to ensure plentiful >water for people and ecosystems within the context of a world facing overall >environmental degradation, catastrophic climate change, and growing >inequalities within and between nations. Dealing with these issues is key to >ensuring adequate water for people and ecosystems.

Because large dams have consumed such huge amounts of national water >resources budgets and because of the overwhelming evidence of such projects >being unsustainable, inequitable, non-participatory, cost-ineffective and >inefficient; and taking note of the huge underutilised potential of local >systems and existing large projects, the World Commission on Water should >call for a halt to the construction of new large dams around the world and a >review of projects underway.

For an alternative vision of the water future the ministers should read >‘Towards People-Oriented River Basin Management: An NGO Vision’, circulated >by Dutch NGO Both Ends.

Contacts: Patrick McCully, IRN Campaigns Director, The Hague, cell phone +31 >(0)6 22936523. >Paul Wolvekamp, Both Ends, cell phone 06 28228094.

This statement is endorsed by:

  • Sadi Baron, Dam-Affected People’s Movement (MAB), Brazi
  • Nicholas Hildyard, The Cornerhouse, England
  • Himanshu Thakker, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, India
  • Devaki Jain, Indian Association of Women’s Studies
  • Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group, India
  • D. Narasimha Reddy, Centre for Resource Education, India
  • Minar Pimple, YUVA, India >Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh, India
  • Dr Abey George, Kerala, India
  • Shripad Dharmadhikary, Save the Narmada Movement (NBA)
  • Chandra Mani Adhikari, Maya Chhetri, Narayan Paudel, Lok Bdr. Basnet, Joy
  • Krishna Goit, Suresh Thapa, Gyanendra Aryal, Bhaj Raj Bhatta, National >Network for Resource Conservation, Nepal
  • Aly Ercelawn and Muhammed Nauman, creed alliance, Pakistan
  • Juraj Zamkovsky, Friends of the Earth Slovakia
  • Liane Greeff, Environmental Monitoring Group, South Africa
  • Peter Bosshard, Berne Declaration, Switzerland
  • Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South, Thailand


29.02.00 : IFFEZHEIM/ RHEIN: Lachstreppe bald fertig

Exctracted from "Spiegel Online" 29.02.00

Aus dem Spiegel Online 29.02.00

Jahrzehntelang konnten die Lachse nicht mehr zum Laichen in den Oberrhein. Staustufen waren für sie unüberwindliche Hindernisse. Europas größter Fischpass soll ihnen ab April den Weg ebnen.

© REUTER Photo:,1518,66890,00.html

Der Fischpass - der Erste am Rhein - steht kurz vor seiner Vollendung. Nach dreijähriger Bauzeit sollen hier bald wieder die Lachse springen. Das 300 Meter lange Bauwerk leitet die Fische um das Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim herum, damit sie den Höhenunterschied von elf Metern zwischen Unter- und Oberwasser überwinden können. Zwischen 1991 und 1995 wurden in Frankreich 800.000 und in Deutschland 1,6 Millionen Lachs-Setzlinge in die Zuflüsse des Rheins gebracht. 1995 kamen die ersten Rückkehrer zum Iffezheimer Wehr. Damit sie zum Ursprungsort gelangen konnten, wurden sie oberhalb des Wehrs wieder ausgesetzt. Mit der neuen Aufstiegshilfe sollen die Fische es nun aber selbst schaffen. 37 miteinander verbundene, 4,50 Meter lange und 3,30 Meter breite Becken mit einem Verteilbassin ermöglichen über eine offene Betonrinne einen sanften Anstieg. Die Beckensohle ist mit Natursteinen aufgeraut, damit sich eine Wasserfauna entwickeln kann und die Fließgeschwindigkeit gedrosselt wird. Strömungsarme Bereiche sind als Ruhezonen für die Fische gedacht. /..../ "Das Projekt ist gut", urteilt auch der Leiter des Aueninstituts von World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), Professor Emil Dister. Das Geld wäre aus seiner Sicht aber besser angelegt gewesen, wenn die parallel zum Rhein verlaufenden Wasserläufe für die Fische durchgängig gemacht worden wären. Für viele Fische wie den am Boden schwimmenden Stör sei die Treppe nichts. Diese, so befürchtet der Auen-Ökologe, sei nur für die "Leistungssportler" unter den Fischen wie zum Beispiel den Lachs geeignet. Die Kosten für das über 17 Millionen Mark teure Projekt teilen sich die französische und die deutsche Seite: Ein Drittel zahlt das Bundesverkehrsministerium und das Land Baden-Württemberg, ein weiteres Drittel übernimmt Frankreich, und für den Rest kommt das Rheinkraftwerk auf. In drei Jahren soll rheinaufwärts im elsässischen Gambsheim ein ähnliches Bauwerk entstehen.

Complet Spiegel-Articel/ Kompletter Artikel in Spiegel,1518,66890,00.html

02.03.00 : Türkei/Ilisu: Bürgermeister Ilisu zu Abbruch von Europa-Reise gezwungen.

WEED und medico international fordern Bundesregierung auf, Hermesbürgschaft abzulehnen.

Vahap Kusen, der Bürgermeister der Stadt Hasankeyf in Südostanatolien, die durch den umstrittenen Ilisu-Staudamm von Überflutung bedroht ist, hat seine Vortragsreise durch Europa vorzeitig abgebrochen. Ihm war in einem nächtlichen Telefonanruf geraten worden, die Reise nicht fortzusetzen. Laut Aussage von Vahap Kusen stammte der Anruf von seiner Partei, der Partei des Rechten Weges (DYP). Kusen hätte am nächsten Morgen bei einer Pressekonferenz in Paris sprechen und danach die Reise nach England, Italien und Deutschland fortsetzen sollen.
In Berlin waren auf Initiative der Umwelt- und Entwicklungsorganisation WEED eine Reihe von Gesprächen mit Ministerien und Abgeordneten aller Parteien vorgesehen, die Herr Kusen aufgrund der Bedrohung nun nicht wird wahrnehmen können.
Die Stadt Hasankeyf liegt im Projektgebiet des geplanten Ilisu-Staudamms, den die türkische Regierung mit Unterstützung westeuropäischer und amerikanischer Exportkreditversicherungen bauen will. Auch der Bundesregierung liegt ein Antrag auf Erteilung einer Hermesbürg-schaft vor. Die Spannungen in der Region haben kürzlich zugenommen, als drei Bürgermeis-ter der prokurdischen HADEP-Partei nach einem Deutschland-Besuch verhaftet wurden. Britische Journalisten, die die Region besucht haben, berichten, kontinuierlich von der Geheimpolizei überwacht worden zu sein.
Heike Drillisch von der Umwelt- und Entwicklungsorganisation WEED, die die Reise mitorganisiert hat, vermutet: "Möglicherweise befürchtet Herrn Kusens Partei, daß er nach seiner Rückkehr einem Nachspiel ausgesetzt sein könnte. Die türkischen Behörden stehen Kritikern nicht sehr freundlich gegenüber. Der Mangel an Demokratie ist daher einer der Hauptkritikpunkte am Ilisu-Projekt."
Der Bau des Ilisu-Staudamms würde zur Zwangsumsiedlung von mindestens 16.000 Kurden und Kurdinnen führen. Obwohl das Kraftwerk seit fast zwanzig Jahren geplant wird, haben keine Konsultationen mit der betroffenen Bevölkerung stattgefunden. Dies stellt einen deutlichen Verstoß gegen internationale Standards dar, die die türkische Regierung versprochen hat einzuhalten. Wie die jüngsten Verhaftungen der HADEP-Bürgermeister zeigen, ist noch immer keine Entspannung nach dem 15jährigen Bürgerkrieg in der Region in Sicht. "Aufgrund der andauernden Atmosphäre der Bedrohung in Südostanatolien ist die Wahrung demokrati-scher Verfahren beim Bau des Ilisu-Staudamms nicht zu erwarten", kommentiert WEED's Vorstandsvorsitzende Barbara Unmüßig. "Wir fordern daher von der Bundesregierung, keine Hermes-Bürgschaft für das Ilisu-Vorhaben zu übernehmen und sich auch international für eine Ablehnung des Projekts einzusetzen."

Nähere Informationen: WEED, Heike Drillisch, Tel. 0228 - 766 13 16 oder 0171 - 901 28 25 > Medico international, Hans Branscheidt, Tel. 06171 - 74135 oder 0177 - 732 > 12 00-
W E E D > World Economy, Ecology & Development > Weltwirtschaft, Oekologie & Entwicklung e.V. Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz 13 D-53111 Bonn Tel. +49-228-766130 Fax: +49-228-696470 e-mail: > Internet:

01.03.00 The river video & film festival

From june the 30th to july the 6th is going to take part in Sort (Pallars Sobirà - Lleida - Spain) The Video & Film Festival El Riu. This is a unique showcase in the world because it will gather audiovisual productions with the river as the main protagonist in all its panes. It won't only show sports but the fluvial culture that it has been generating, during the years, when manhood settled beside the riverbeds taking profit of water strength (gristmill, hidroelectrical companies,...). But the river has also been protagonist of misfortunes (natural disasters) in floods (overflows) and and the same time it has been the victim of the bad use made by humanity: contaminating overflows, progressive deterioration of the riverbeds,.. These are the main focalizations, among others, participating in the Festival. An international event that will put together the knowledge of all kind of "experts" on rivers.

01.03.00: Canada: Salmon River to Flow Free in B.C By Chris Bryan VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, March 1, 2000 (ENS) -
Restoration of salmon on Canada's west coast is the objective of a deal the province of British Columbia has made with a paper company to demolish a large dam. A dam on the Theodosia River, north of the town of Powell River, will become the first large scale dam to be dismantled in Canada, the government of British Columbia announced Monday. The province reached an agreement with Pacifica Papers Inc., which uses water diverted by the dam to generate hydroelectric power for its paper mill, to remove the dam and restore natural flows to the river.
Mark Angelo, chair of the B.C. Heritage Rivers Board, said tearing down the 90-metre (292 foot) long dam will begin to reverse the devastation in local fish stocks. "It's a cautious, risk-averse approach to dam decommissioning and will do much to repair one of Georgia Strait's great salmon rivers," said Angelo. In 1956, the year the dam was built, the river thrived with 100,000 pink salmon, 50,000 chum salmon, and 10,000 coho salmon. By contrast, estimates for 1999 show a complete loss of pinks, 2,000 to 3,000 chum, and three dozen coho, according to Angelo.
The Rivers Board listed the Theodosia River as number two on a top-ten list of the province's most endangered rivers in 1999. Angelo says there is a clear correlation between the building of the dam and the collapse of salmon stocks in river. Angelo concedes that current declines also reflect other factors such as ocean warming and over-fishing, but said stocks began their steep drop the year the dam was installed. Benefits that continue to be gained through power generation are negligible when compared to the costs, said Angelo. He estimates the environmental costs of the iversion have been 10 times higher than any financial returns. Miles Lauzon, vice-president of Pacific Papers' Powell River mill, said that while the water diversion is a cost advantage for the company, it needs to be balanced against environmental concerns. "This has always been Pacifica's perspective, and we are willing to continue playing our part so that this balance is achieved," said Lauzon.
The removal of the dam may set a precedent for the removals of more large-scale dams in the future, according to Angelo. Many dams are routinely removed, but none of this magnitude to date. Angelo estimates between 200 and 300 of British Columbia's 2,167 licensed dams could become candidates for removal in the future. He says dams become eligible when they are deemed structurally unsafe, heavily laden with silt, or of only marginal economic benefit when compared to the ecological expense. Most of the province's dams are owned privately, or by local governments.
The Environment Ministry said the dam will begin to see some changes this spring,and the whole dismantling process is expected to evolve gradually, over the next five years. The cost to dismantle the Theodosia dam could range from $30,000 to $50,000, according to Angelo, depending on how the Ministry decides to tackle it. Angelo said the river will not bounce back overnight, but restoring natural flows will lay the groundwork for the ultimate restoration of the river. BC Hydro, whose 31 dams provide 90 percent of the province's electricity, looks at its facilities on a case-by-case basis when a dam has lost its value. "It's not as simple as tearing it out," said Wayne Cousins, a spokesman for utility. "There are other issues such as 'what are the impacts of removing it', and 'how do you remove it' and 'could there be more damage to an area if you take the dam out than if you left it?'"
The 1997 Fish Protection Act enacts policies making fish habitat conservation a high priority when granting water licenses. However, the Act does not grant power to remove or alter existing licenses, even if it can be proved that fish stocks are being damaged. In the United States, similar guidelines under the Federal Power Act require that "equal consideration" be given to wildlife, recreation, environmental quality, and related factors when granting licenses or renewing existing ones. The difference is that in British Columbia, water licenses are granted in perpetuity. Although provincial policies are similar to those in the U.S., Angelo said, there is no power to require license holders to maintain environmental standards. The Fish Protection Act in terms of new licenses will certainly be a step forward," said Angelo. "But it'll be limited in terms of what we can do tochanging existing licenses."
photos :
© Environment News Service (ENS) 2000. All Rights Reserved.


Press Release COAGRET (Coordinator of People Affected by Large Dams and Water Transfers)

People affected by new projected large dams in Spain have chained themselves in front of the Ministry of the Environment, in Madrid, in defense of a new water policy that is more rational and respects the dignity and rights of all people. Participants come from various areas of Spain, and will take turns for 38 days demonstrating in defense of their villages and regions. The demonstration started on Sunday, February 13th. Below please find: Rationale for the campaign. Statement "Rivers without Dams: Living Villages", endorsed by a variety of organizations.

RIVERS WITHOUT DAMS, LIVING VILLAGES 38 days chained in Madrid For a true Ministry of the Environment. Who are we? COAGRET (Coordinator of People Affected by Large Dams and Water Transfers) is an association that brings together areas threatened by large hydraulic projects throughout the Iberian Peninsula, as well as proponents of a new water policy that is based on the principles of savings, efficiency and respect for the dignity and rights of all people. Who are benefited by new large dams? Using the excuse of new irrigation projects that the Ministry of Agriculture does not approve of, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment plans the construction of 200 new dams that will only benefit civil works companies, hydroelectric interests and speculators. Who will be affected by the new dams? Some proposed dams will flood villages that are inhabited. In addition, cultural and historical sites, as well as ecologically and scenically valuable areas will be flooded. In this sense, and given the high cost of these projects that are financed with public moneys, we are all affected. What do we propose? Common sense. Presently, large amount of water is being wasted. The alternatives that we propose from COAGRET are: Modernization of irrigation networks. Planning and rationalization of all water uses. Modernization of urban water supply networks to minimize losses.

In Spain, there are today more than 1300 large dams. We are among the three countries in the world with more dams per inhabitant and square kilometers. That has implied flooding and abandoning hundreds of villages, without any respect for the most fundamental human rights, and the destruction of beautiful valleys and mountain regions, too often to satisfy the interests of civil works companies and hydroelectric concerns. Today, when more advanced countries and international scientific forums recognize the need to prioritize water savings, efficiency and environmental protection in rivers and wetlands, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment is launching a new wave of large dams and water transfers. All this while ignoring negative environmental impact statements, studies that demonstrate they are not economically viable, and even safety concerns of its own technical personnel. In response to this situation, the signatories of this document manifest our support to the initiative launched by COAGRET, to demonstrate in front of the Ministry of the environment from February 13th to March 22nd. Representatives from all regions affected by these new projects will take turn to oppose processes that expel them from their houses, from their villages and their lands. As a result of all this we demand: 1. A 5-year moratorium on new large hydraulic infrastructures that are being questioned, so that the necessary social and technical debate can take place. This will allow to assume the new reality imposed by the Water Framework Directive that will soon be approved by the European Union. 2. A fundamental restructuring of the Ministry of the Environment, so that it is capable of assuming its responsibilities of environmental protection and ecological management. 3. Respect for the independence of the technical personnel of the Ministry of the Environment in their work, something that has been threatened over the past four years. We also demand a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature of integrated water resource management in the hiring policies of this Ministry.
This document is supported by: AEMS, Friends of the Earth (Spain), CC.OO, CGT, COAGRET, Espacio Alternativo, Greenpeace, IU, USO, SEO-Bird Life, WWF-ADENA
FOR MORE INFORMATION: COAGRET C/ Santa Cruz 7, Oficina 3 50003 Zaragoza SPAIN Tel: 34 976392004 Email:

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These pages and their content are © Copyright of European Rivers Network.
For more information, remarks or propositions, send us a message !.