RiverNews Nr. 110        1.12.2005
 t h e   e s s e n t i a l   o f   t h e   l a s t    w e e k s

by European Rivers Network (ERN) RiverNet Newsservice
Editor: Roberto Epple    Team : Annelise Muller     Guillaume Cortot               


  •  1 China : The Lessons of Harbin
  •  2 New dam project on Czech Elbe is environmentally and economically unacceptable
  •  3 Laos: Stone laid for Nam Theun 2 Dam
  •  4 China: Dam opposition swells
  •  5 Norway's mighty Vefsna river protected
  •  6 Big Jump : After the big success, what next ?
  •  7  Marocco : more dams
  •  8 OECD Governments : Environmental reviews Export Credits for Hydro Power projects
  •  9 WCD+5 : Dams destroy environment, group warns
  • 10 WCD+5 : Five Years after Landmark Report, Experts Call for Stronger Dams Standards
  • 11 Water in Irak: a ecolologic desaster (french)
  • 12 Turkey : Ilisu Damproject for sale ! (german)
  • 13 Doubts about value of large international water meetings
  • 14 Drome River Project Wins International Thiess Riverprize
  • 15 Nine more news
  • 16 conferences & meetings

1 China: The Lessons of Harbin
Government inaction means millions are paying for prosperity with their health.
The environmental disaster that has unfolded over the past two weeks in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin has the makings of a great story: explosion at large petrochemical plant releases toxic
pollutants into major river, threatening millions; local officials attempt cover-up; panic ensues; wiser voices prevail; corrective action is taken. Unfortunately, the real story remains largely untold. China's rapid economic development, endemic corruption and highly decentralized political system have produced a life-threatening environmental crisis for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

The statistics tell the tale. Earlier this year, China's Minister of Water Resources announced that 300 million people drink contaminated water on a daily basis.

All along China's most polluted rivers where factories simply dump their waste and sewage directly into the waterways and their tributaries-towns and villages record startling rates of cancer,
stunted growth, diminished IQs and miscarriages. China's State Environmental Protection Administration has repeatedly published reports indicating that more than 75% of the water flowing through China's urban areas is considered unsuitable for drinking or fishing, and 30% of the river water monitored by the Chinese government is worse than grade 5 (not suitable even for agriculture or industry).                 Date 25.11.05   Source TIME Asia Magazine
complet story on RiverNet

2 New dam project on Czech Elbe is environmentally and economically unacceptableOn the 12th November, the Czech minister of transport J. Šimonovský, publicly announced the start of permission process for new dam on the last free flowing part of Elbe river in Czech Republic, near Decin city, close to the German border. The new project is heavily criticised by Czech as well as international environmental NGOs, as economically unjustified and environmentally destructive. NGOs also stress on the necessity to assess the project according Espoo Convention - international treaty on transboundary impact assessment.       Date 28.11.05 Source ERN European Rivers Network
complet pressrelease

3 Laos : Stone laid for Nam Theun 2 Dam
The foundation stone was laid yesterday for the
controversial Nam Theun 2 hydropower dam in
Laos, which will supply power to 17 provinces in Thailand from 2009.($1.25 billion)

One of four dams to be built on the Theun river, part of the Mekong watershed, it has survived
years of tenacious opposition, a long delay in obtaining finance, and hesitation on the part of the main engineering firm.              Date 28.11.05 Source: AFP and BANGKOKPOST,
complet story RiverNet

4 China: Dam opposition swells
China Business, By Antoaneta Bezlova
BEIJING - By boycotting a dam conference organized by the government, Chinese environmentalists have protested the lack of transparency in a river project to build the world's largest hydroelectric cascade on the Nu River in southwestern China that flows into Myanmar and Thailand.
A cascade of 13 hydropower stations, known as the Nu River Hydropower Development Project, is being planned on the Nu, in an area that is rich in biodiversity and has been designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations.           Date 3.11.05 Source ChinaBusiness (Inter Press Service) via http://www.irn.org
complet story on RiverNet

5 Norway's mighty Vefsna river protected !
"The last great unprotected river in Scandinavia has finally received the protection it deserves. This is one step in bringing Norwegian nature protection up to EU-standards"
Rasmus Reinvang, Terrestrial Program Coordinator, WWF-Norway

Statkraft, Norway's largest electricity company, had planned to dam the Vefsna River.... // The new Norwegian government under the leadership of coming prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, social democratic party, on 13 october 2005 announced that Vefsna will now be duly protected against hydropower development. This is a complete victory for the environment !
Date 24.10.05
Source WWF Norway
complet story on RiverNet

6 Big Jump Campaign : After the big success , what next ?
The ten year campaign Big Jump knew a lightning start : the 17th of July, 2 PM some 250 000 European people rendezvous with their rivers and lakes, to celebrate the reconciliation between humans and rivers. In 22 European countries, along 31 rivers and lakes, 216 official (+ 240 inofficial) actions took place to present the river ecosystem and to explain the European Water Framework Directive. More the 450 local partners made a fantastic work ! . Since this great success, lots of people and (new) partners are ready for the next Big Jump and ask us when it will take place. ERN thought initially of 2010 for the following great action. However, as we receive plenty of requests since July, we are working on the possibility of an intermediate Big Jump at European level in 2007 : the decision should be taken in the next weeks !             Date 15.09.05 Source : ERN European Rivers Network
complet story see www.bigjump.org

7 Marocco : more dams
Lors d'un colloque à Rabat cette semaine, le secrétaire d'Etat marocain chargé de l'eau,
Abdelkbir Zahoud, a affirmé que le Maroc doit construire 50 barrages supplémentaires d'ici 20
ans et un millier de petites retenues avant 2050 afin de pallier le manque de stockage d'eau. Le
potentiel des ressources en eau diminue, il est de 1.000 mètres cubes (m3) par an et par habitant
contre 2.500 m3 en 1980.....               Date 24.11.05 Source Jdle Journal de l'environnement
plus d'info sur RiverNet

8 OECD Governments : Environmental reviews Export Credits for Hydro Power projects
...these countries and the European Commission also recognised the value of the relevant aspects of other international sources of guidance, such as the draft Sustainability Guidelines produced by the International Hydropower Association and the Core Values and Strategic Priorities of the World Commission on Dams Report.         Date : 16.11.05 Source : OECD / IRN
complet story on RiverNet

9 WCD+5 : Dams destroy environment, group warns

Dams are continuing to cause excessive environmental damage despite recommendations from the World Commission on Dams to ensure environmental consideration.

The report from WWF looks at six dams under construction in the last five years, all of which fail to meet the recommendations of the World Commission
. Date 16.11.05 source WWF
complet story on RiverNet
10 WCD+5 : Five Years after Landmark Report, Experts Call for Stronger Dams Standards
Five years after the independent World Commission on Dams (WCD) published its landmark report on dams and development, international experts called for stronger social and environmental standards for water and power projects. At a conference organized by International Rivers Network (IRN) in Berlin, the experts discussed the progress and .....        Date: 15.11.05 source IRN
complet story on RiverNet

11 Water in Irak: a ecolologic desaster (f)
Eau en Irak: L’Irak face à son désastre écologique

Les ministres irakiens de l'environnement et des ressources en eau viennent de dresser un tableau sans complaisance, et plutôt sombre, de leur pays “écologiquement ravagé” pour reprendre leurs termes exacts. Il semblerait en effet que Saddam Hussein n’ait pas fait grand cas de l’environnement durant sa dictature. L'eau est le problème le plus urgent en Irak.. ..... Date 10.11.05
Source: univers nature
complet story on RiverNet
12 Turkey : Ilisu Damproject for sale ! (in german)
Selbst die Weltbank will mit dem Projekt nichts mehr zu tun haben: Seit Jahrzehnten protestieren die Kurden gegen den Ilisu-Staudamm am Tigris. Jetzt sucht Siemens einen Käufer für das umstrittene Projekt. Geplanter Baubeginn: schon im Oktober.
Jahrelang haben die kurdischen Anwohner gegen den Ilisu-Staudamm im Südosten der Türkei gekämpft - jetzt entscheidet sich, wer ihr nächster Gegner ist. Das EU-Kartellamt hat Siemens vorgeschrieben, die Hydro-Sparte der VA-Tech zu verkaufen. Der geschätzte Preis von 300 Millionen Euro enthält auch den umstrittenen Ilisu-Staudamm.                        
24.09.05 Source taz Nr. 7777 ARIANE BRENSSELL

complet story on RiverNet
13 Doubts about value of large international water meetings
Two water experts call for a reappraisal of global water conferences. In a discussion note, Peter Gleick and Jon Lane express ''significant doubts about the added value of additional global conferences unless they are carefully designed, limited in scope, and focused in effort''. They suggest that future global conferences stick to global issues, while smaller and cheaper regional or sectoral meetings would be better at achieving practical results. They also recommend that ministerial meetings should be organised by the United Nations or national governments, not as parts of mega-conferences like the World Water Forums organised by the World Water Council (WWC). Find the article abstraction here : http://www.iwra.siu.edu/win/abstracts/VOL30/V30N3/V30N3WaterForum%20GleickLane.html
23.09.05 source: IRC Weekly via EWMN

14 Drome River Project Wins International Thiess Riverprize (08.09.05 )
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA ­ The Drome River Valley in southern France has won the prestigious 2005
International Thiess Riverprize for its restoration and management efforts.
The AUD$150,000 International Thiess Riverprize was awarded at a gala function on 7 September
during the 8th International Riversymposium in Brisbane, involving more than 450 delegates from
30 countries. This is the richest river prize in the world.
The Drome river, once too polluted for swimming and sucked dry by agricultural irrigation, has
seen significant improvement in its water quality, wetland biology and flood risks.
“The restoration of the Drome River Valley is an excellent example of a collaborative partnership
of local governments working through the Communaute de Communes du Val de Drome (CCVD)
with local stakeholders to produce a model for European river management,” said Professor Paul
Greenfield, chair of the international judging panel.            08.09.05 Source By Coastal Cooperative Research Centre

complet story on RiverNet

15 Nine more news
16 Conferences & meetings

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published by ERN - Dir. of publication: Roberto Epple
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