RiverNews Nr. 111      18.01.2006
 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    Timur Epple           



2006, a good year for the rivers and for you ? 

  • "Naiades" - Communication from the EU - commission on the promotion of inland waterway transport
  • EU Commission adopts new directive to fight floods
  • First international Water and Film Event (World Water Formum Mexico): Registration is open up to January 31, 2006. version française
  • China Proposes Fewer Dams in Power Project to Aid Environment (New York Times)
  • California : Delta's health in rapid decline
  • "Future Dams” - Final Report of the Swedish Multistakeholder Process on WCD
  • China dumps chemicals to try to clean toxic river
  • New York State offers Hudson River restoration plan
  • Nu River: Vast Dam Proposal is a test for China (New York Times)
  • Danube Delta/ Project Start: Connecting Katlabuh Lake with Danube
  • Croatia : The Drava river basin project
  • Elbe River : the new German government steps back ! Protection is out, improving navigability is in.
  • Water transfers back on Spain's agenda
  • USA : A big wave of mini-hydro projects
  • China: Exodus forced by dam under way
  • Albania : protects Lake Skadar and the Buna Delta
  • Turkey : Journey diary on the scene of the future Ilisu Dam
  • Happy Birthday, IRN !
  • World Water Forum Mexico
  • European Union sanctions Italy and Portugal (WFD)
  • A new report: "What have dams got to do with peace?"
  • 10 Conferences and meetings in 2006
  • more international news

    Think again  mpeg file 1.5 MB (WWF Video) 40 sec.

2006, a good year for the rivers and for you ?To our many readers, to all the friends of the rivers, always more and more numerous, ERN's team and its President wish all the best for the Year 2006 ! May this year bring to everyone of you happiness and health, and success in your projects !
Let us also wish the best for the rivers all over the world, even if we know that they don't count in years, but in tens of thousands of years !        

Communication from the commission on the promotion of inland waterway transport "Naiades"
(An Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport)

The vice-president of the European Commission in charge of transport, Jacques Barrot, presented on 17 January a new action programme aimed at promoting inland waterway transport. The action programme, called NAIADES (Navigation And Inland Waterway Action and Development in Europe), will run from 2006 to 2013.

NAIADES will seek to "re-balance the freight transport system", which the Commission believes is currently too focused on the road sector. "With a fleet of 11,000 vessels and a capacity equivalent to 10,000 trains or 440,000 trucks, inland waterways can make transport in Europe more efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly," said Barrot.

The programme focuses on five areas: (1) increasing market share, (2) modernising the fleet, (3) attracting skilled labour, (4) improving the sector's image and (5) building new infrastructure. New state aid guidelines will be issued to "facilitate investment […] and support programmes for fleet modernisation and innovation".

The Commission says inland waterways are especially at risk in Central and Eastern European countries, where road captures most of the market share for freight. "At present only 7 to 10% of the Danube's maximum capacity is actually used," the Commission points out. By comparison, the sector has "conquered a significant modal share" in the Benelux countries and France thanks to pro-active policies over the past 10 to 15 years. Market share for inland waterways is now at 40% in the Netherlands, the Commission indicated.

traduction française     -     deutsche Übersetzung

Pressrelease :


traduction française          deutsche Übersetzung

via EEB

EU Commission adopts new directive to fight floods

The European Commission today proposed a directive to help Member States prevent and limit floods, and their damaging effects on human health, the environment, infrastructure and property. Since 1998 floods in Europe have caused some 700 deaths, the displacement of about half a million people and at least €25 billion in insured economic losses. The new directive will require Member States to carry out preliminary assessments to identify the river basins and associated coastal areas at risk of flooding. Such zones then will be subject to flood risk maps and flood risk management plans. These plans will focus on prevention, protection and preparedness.

Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas said: “Catastrophic floods endanger lives and are likely to cause human tragedy as well as heavy economic losses. This new directive will help Member States chose the right tools with which to reduce the likelihood of floods and limit their impacts. In particular, it aims to ensure that Member States cooperate in shared river basins and coastal areas to improve flood protection all over Europe.”

Between 1998 and 2004, Europe suffered over 100 major damaging floods, including the catastrophic floods along the Danube and Elbe rivers in the summer 2002. Severe floods in 2005 further reinforced the need for concerted action.

Floods can also have severe environmental consequences, when, for example, installations holding large quantities of toxic chemicals are affected.

- Flood risks and costs likely to increase
The coming decades are likely to see a higher flood risk in Europe and greater economic damage. Firstly, the scale and frequency of floods are likely to increase due to climate change - which will bring higher intensity of rainfall and rising sea levels. In addition, failure to manage river systems properly can be compounded by constructions in flood plains with the result of reducing the areas’ capacity to absorb flood waters. Finally, an increasing number of people live in areas at risk of flooding, and the number of business and industry located in flood risk zones continues to grow.

- Why a Floods Directive?
In response to the 2002 floods, the Commission adopted a Communication[1] on flood risk management in 2004 to improve protection against flooding, in which the need for Community legislation on flood risk management was identified.

Since most of Europe’s river basins are shared by more than one country, concerted action at European level will result in better management of flood risks. A binding legal instrument will ensure flood risks are properly assessed, coordinated protection measures taken and the public properly informed. This basic set of legal obligations will create a firm basis for cooperation, while the Commission will also continue to work with Member States on a voluntary basis to exchange information and best practice.

- What does the directive require?
The proposal creates an EU framework for flood risk management that builds on and is closely coordinated with the 2000 Water Framework Directive,[2] the cornerstone of EU water protection policy.

A three-step process is proposed. First, Member states will undertake a preliminary flood risk assessment of their river basins and associated coastal zones. Where real risks of flood damage exist, member states shall then develop flood risk maps. Finally, flood risk management plans must be drawn up for these zones. The management plans are to include measures to reduce the probability of flooding and its potential consequences. They will address all phases of the flood risk management cycle but focus particularly on prevention (such as preventing damage caused by floods by avoiding construction of houses and industries in present and future flood-prone areas or by adapting future developments to the risk of flooding) protection (by taking measures to reduce the likelihood of floods and/or the impact of floods in a specific location such as restoring flood plains and wetlands) and preparedness (for instance through providing instructions to the public on what to do in the event of flooding)).

In the case of international river basins, these steps must be coordinated between the member states concerned to prevent problems being passed from one area to another. Active participation by all interested parties in the development and updating of the flood risk management plans will have to be ensured and the plans, risk assessments and maps made public.
The proposal and accompanying documents, as well as other information on EU water policy, can be found at:

complet text and more information in english, german, and french : http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/water/flood_risk/index.htm

source : EU via EEB    18.10.06

First international Water and Film Event (World Water Formum Mexico): Registration is open as of the date of publication of this call and up to January 31, 2006.
version française

The issue of water in cinema and audiovisual productions of all types, deserves to be considered due to its great cultural wealth.

The 4th World Water Forum, to be held in Mexico, will bring together thousands of participants from countries throughout the world involved in the water sector. It will be an occasion to demonstrate the importance of cinema and culture in the search for solutions in relation to the problems of water and in the development of a culture of water in the general population.

For these reasons, we have decided to organize the First International Water and Film Event, to be held from March 17th to 21st, 2006, in the framework of the 4th World Water Forum. During these five days, water will be brought to the big screen through movies and audiovisual materials in which it plays a central role.

The Water and Film Event will focus on the deep and complex ties between water and cinema. Its objective is to contribute to an appreciation of water in its artistic, cultural, spiritual, and educational dimensions. It will consider the way in which fictional films, documentaries, news footage, educational movies, and awareness-raising spots from all over the world, contribute to mobilize all sectors of society, to educate and inform in relation to the major water-related problems.

At the same time, this event will be an opportunity for dialogue and exchange among the public, NGOs, and professionals from the world cinema and the water sector. 15.01.06

more information: in english http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/fest_cine.asp?lan=

more information in spanish : http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/fest_cine.asp?lan=spa

source : World Water Forum 4 / SIE Secrétariat International de l'Eau

China Proposes Fewer Dams in Power Project to Aid Environment (New York Times)

BEIJING, Thursday, Jan. 12 - A government environmental review has recommended reducing the number of dams included in a controversial hydropower proposal on the Nu River in southwestern China in order to limit environmental damage and decrease the number of people who would
be resettled, a Hong Kong newspaper has reported.

The newspaper, Wen Wei Po, which has ties to the Communist Party, reported on Wednesday that the recommendation called for 4 dams instead the 13 in the original Nu proposal. The article, quoting an
unnamed source close to the governmental review, said fewer dams would still meet "the needs for economic development and environmental protection."

The project has been delayed for nearly two years, and it will now be presented to the National Development and Reform Commission, a powerful government ministry, and later to the State Council, or China's cabinet.

But the article also suggested that the full 13 dams had not been completely ruled out. The source described the four dams as "a pilot proposal" and said more studies would be needed to assess the larger project.

The original Nu River proposal, which would generate more electricity than the huge Three Gorges Dam, has become an international controversy. Environmental groups inside and outside China have called
for more openness and public input in deciding whether to go forward on the project.

The environmental assessment report quoted from the Hong Kong newspaper has itself become a point of contention. A coalition of environmentalists, lawyers, journalists and nongovernmental groups has
called for the release of the report as well as public hearings on the project. They quoted a 2003 environmental law that required public participation, including hearings, in deciding such major projects.

But the central government has refused to release the report and has not yet called any hearings.

The Hong Kong newspaper said the Ministry of Water Resources and the State Secrets Bureau had classified the report as a state secret.

The New York Times, By JIM YARDLEY

via IRN 12.01.06

California : Delta's health in rapid decline

By Mike Taugher/Knight Ridder and Paul Rogers/Mercury News

After decades of decline, the vital signs of California's delta -- the vast network of sloughs, marshes and farmland between Stockton
and Antioch that empties into San Francisco Bay and provides half of Silicon Valley's drinking water -- have suddenly plunged to new depths. Fish populations are falling. Ageing levees are at risk of collapse.
Drinking water quality is uneven. And while California's population continues to grow, so do questions about whether there is enough
water in the delta to serve the needs of burgeoning cities, farms and businesses without destroying its environment.
A political solution known as CalFed, set up a decade ago by the state and federal government to address all the concerns, is itself
in peril, according to a broad range of officials and outside critics.

``The delta is not an area that most Californians really resonate with, the way they do with the coast or the Sierra,'' said Mary
Nichols, former California Resources Agency secretary who now heads the Institute of the Environment at the University of California-Los Angeles. ``We have a history of not paying attention until it's too late and then trying to restore things that have vanished.''

Though out of sight for many, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is vital to California's economy and ecology.

At 738,000 acres, the delta is nearly the size of Yosemite National Park. Formed where the state's two largest rivers -- the Sacramento
and the San Joaquin -- meet before emptying into San Francisco Bay, it was once thick with millions of birds and teeming with salmon. But the delta began to decline in the late 1800s when farmers and city builders diked, drained and filled its wetlands.

Diverse ecology

Today, the delta still provides a home to more than 50 types of fish, 225 bird species and 50 mammal species. Yet huge diversions of water
-- sucked by pumps near Tracy and sent south in state and federal aqueducts
-- have driven fish such as the winter-run chinook salmon
and delta smelt to the endangered list.

The delta remains California's most important water source, providing drinking water for 23 million and irrigation for the Central Valley,
which produces 45 percent of U.S. fruits and vegetables.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which serves 1.9 million people in Silicon Valley, draws nearly 50 percent of its water from
the delta. The other half comes from pumping groundwater.

In 1994, after decades of lawsuits, Gov. Pete Wilson and the Clinton administration formed a team of federal and state agencies known as CalFed to try to restore the delta's environment while providing more water for population growth.

The group, which includes more than 20 government agencies, has held hundreds of public meetings and conducted countless studies under mountains of paperwork, punctuated with bureaucratic jargon impenetrable to all but the most hardy water lawyers and experts.

By the end of this fiscal year, more than $3 billion will have been spent on a program that was expected to bring across-the-board improvements.

Instead, each of the four pillars of the plan is falling short. Drinking water quality has worsened by some key measures. The ageing
levees that hold the delta together remain largely neglected even as they have grown more vulnerable.

And although more water is being delivered out of the delta, longstanding plans to increase delta pumping remain on hold while
water agencies express frustration over the lack of new reservoirs.

Most urgently, the delta ecosystem is on the brink of collapse. A fish called the delta smelt, the key indicator of the delta's overall
health, is sliding toward extinction with alarming rapidity.

``I believe that CalFed has failed, and died, but that no one directly involved is willing to admit it,'' Peter Gleick, president
of the Oakland-based environmental group Pacific Institute, said in a letter to a state watchdog commission examining how the CalFed program is run. 05.01.06

complet article :

via IRN 05.01.06

"Future Dams” - Final Report of the Swedish Multistakeholder Process on WCD

Swedish Multistakeholder Dialogue on the WCD Recommendations

The Commission's final report, Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making, was released in November 2000, and can be downloaded in English or Spanish att www.dams.org (an overview of the report is available in nine languages).

During 2004 and 2005 a dialogue process among a broad group of stakeholders - industry, government, academics and NGOs - is taking place in Sweden . The purpose is to develop a common policy on large-scale water infrastructure development and is a national level follow-up initiative to discuss the recommendations from the World Commission on Dams. 02.01.06

For more information :

- Summary by GÖRAN EK Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, P O Box 4625, SE-116 91 Stockholm, Sweden goran.ek@snf.se http://www.snf.se

- complet report (pdf, 1 MB) on our RiverNet pages

source : Swedish Society for Nature Conservation    26.12.05

China Dumps Chemicals to try to Clean Toxic River

BEIJING - China is dumping chemicals into a southern river to try to neutralise a toxic spill and contain the second environmental disaster to hit the country in many months, a local official and state media said on Friday.
The cadmium-containing slick, which has cut tap water for tens of thousands people downstream for five days, was flushed into the North River running across Guangdong province north to south from a Shaoguan zinc smelter last week.
The government has already lowered dam gates at the Baishiyao hydropower plant near Yingde, 90 km (54 miles) downstream from Shaoguan, to try to stall and dilute the pollutants.
Now it is to dump chemicals into the water, Yingde government spokesman Huang Zhensheng told Reuters by telephone.
"With only 1,200 tonnes of the chemicals, toxicity can be reduced by 30 percent," the Southern Metropolis News quoted from an expert.
Cadmium, a metallic element widely used in batteries, can cause liver and kidney damage and lead to bone diseases. Compounds containing cadmium are also carcinogenic.

In China's northeast, the front of a slick of benzene compounds that poisoned drinking water for millions after a chemical plant blast last month has crossed the Russian border through the frozen Amur River.
China apologised again to Russia on Thursday, while Russia's far east city of Khabarovsk readied alternative water supplies, though taps had not been turned off.
"Analysis of the water showed that the benzene content does not exceed ... the maximum allowable concentration," RIA-Novosti news agency quoted from an Emergencies Ministry official.
"As a result, the city authorities have decided not to turn off the Khabarovsk water supply."


New York State offers Hudson River restoration plan

ALBANY, New York, December 24, 2005 (ENS) - People would be able to fish and swim the entire 315 mile length of the Hudson River under the Hudson River Estuary Program's newly released final draft Action Agenda to honor exploration of the river by Henry Hudson nearly 400 years ago. By restoring and protecting the whole river, the plan aims to safeguard the Hudson River Estuary, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean under the Verrezano Narrows bridge in New York Harbor.

Project Website : http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/hudson/agendacomment.html
Source: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2005/2005-12-24-01.asp     24.12.05

Nu River: Vast Dam Proposal is a test for China (New York Times)

By Jim Yardley, The New York Times, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2005

XIAOSHABA, China. Far from the pulsing cities that symbolize modern China, this tiny hillside village of crude peasant houses seems disconnected from this century and the last. But follow a dirt path past a snarling watchdog, sidestep the chickens and ducks and a small clearing on the banks of the Nu River reveals a dusty slab of concrete lying in a rotting pumpkin patch.
The innocuous concrete block is a symbol of a struggle over law that touches every corner of the country.

The block marks the spot on the Nu River where officials here in Yunnan Province want to begin building one of the biggest dam projects in the world. It would produce more electricity than even the mighty Three Gorges Dam but would also threaten a region considered an ecological treasure. This village would be the first place to disappear.

For decades, the Communist Party has rammed through such projects by fiat. But the Nu River proposal, already delayed for more than a year, is now unexpectedly presenting the Chinese government with a quandary of its own making: Will it abide by its laws?

A coalition led by Chinese environmental groups is urging the central government to hold open hearings and make public a secret report on the Nu dams before making a final decision. In a country where people cannot challenge decisions taken by their leaders, such public participation is a fairly radical idea. But the groups argue that new environmental laws grant exactly that right.

"This is the case to set a precedent," said Ma Jun, an environmental consultant in Beijing. "For the first time, there is a legal basis for public participation. If it happens, it would be a major step forward."

China's leaders often embrace the concept of rule of law, if leaving open how they choose to define it. For many people in China's fledgling "civil society" - environmentalists, journalists, lawyers, academics and others - the law has become a tool to promote environmental protection and to try to expand the rights of individuals in an authoritarian political system.

complet story (RiverNet)

Source : New York Times http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/23/news/dam.php via IRN, 23.12.05

Danube Delta /Project Start: Connecting Katlabuh Lake with Danube

The reconnection of the Katlabuh liman with the Danube river has
started this week in the Ukrainian Danube Delta. This is the second
project site of WWF Netherlands and WWF DCP in the delta and the
contract for its implementation was signed with the local Odessa
Water Management Board. The main goal of the project is to restore
the natural hydrological regime by reconnecting the Katlabuh Lake to
the Danube River through the old river channel.

Source: WWF, 22.12.05

Croatia - The Drava river basin project

The lower Drava river basin is known as a largely intact piece of nature, which however is
threatened by illegal landfills and effluents. An INTERREG IIIB CADSES Project is to counteract
this situation. In view of a possible EU accession, Croatia plans to implement a central
environmental management system within the years to come.
The most important measures include a.o.
the implementation of new water management and wastewater disposal plans. About eight billion
euros will be invested in environmental measures until 2012. With its integrative approach, the
Drava river basin project fits perfectly in this picture.

Read more...http://www.aquamedia.at/templates/index.cfm?id=17968
Source: Aquamedia via EWMN

Elbe River : the new German government steps back ! Protection is out, improving navigability is in.

According to an article published in the Spiegel of December 2005, the new federal government headed by Mrs Merkel, within the framework of the negotiations to constitute the coalition's government, took the decision to deepen and channel the Elbe in order to make it "more navigable" between Hamburg and the German-Czech border (upstream from Dresden). This decision is opposed to the one that took the former government, within the framework of the Declaration of the Elbe : he then excluded any development of the main way of the river, up to the Czech border. (see link at the end of this article)
This decision met a strong opposition from the NGO for the nature's protection. But it also goes against the position of the Sachsen Land.
The Elbe River has been highly protected since the reunification of Germany in 1989. In Germany, the Elbe is free of dams along 700 km. 460 km of the river are designated as UNESCO biosphere (Mittlere Elbe) and a national park and 2 World heritage sites are located along its banks.

Let us remember that in parallel, the Czech government had also restarted a project of canalisation of the Elbe, through a dam project located upstream from the German-Czech border (see the latest Rivernews Nr 110), in order to improve the navigability of the river…
In other words, we can say that the Elbe River with its extraordinary biodiversity, with the newly reached good water quality in its freshwater part, with the salmon (back after 70 years), with its wetlands (absorbing big floods such as the one in 2002) is on the best way to become a normalised 'Standard River", trapezoid and common. More than that : it would be the first step for a future Elbe - Oder - Danube 'Channel' !
More over, all the actual serious statistics and studies show that the boat traffic would be insignificant, and could be overtaken by railway. Finally, deepen the Elbe to make it navigable even during the low water periods is a nonsense : due to climate changes, the number of days of low water levels of the Elbe will increase anyway.

For more information :
- article of the Spiegel (pdf)
- Link to the former 'Elbe Declaration" (german)
- Webpage on the czech dam project
- Pressrelease on the czech dam project by ERN / ARNIKA / BUND
- link to webpages Elbe - Oder -Danube Channel project (in german)

Source : RiverNet    20.12.05

Water transfers back on Spain's agenda

Spain's government on Friday approved an emergency law facilitating
inter-river basin water sales to help tackle drought on the
Mediterranean coast. Environmental group WWF/Adena criticised the
measure, which is contravening the EU water framework directive and
would encourage illegal water extraction. Last year the government
scrapped a huge north-south water transfer plan tabled by its
predecessor, arguing that it was unsustainable (ED 18/06/04
http://www.environmentdaily.com/16906). The new law allows inter-basin
sales by holders of private water rights. See press releases from
environment ministry
and WWF/Adena http://www.wwf.es/noticia.php?codigo=721

source: Environment Daily 2006, 19.12.05

USA : A big wave of mini-hydro projects

Interest revives in hydropower on a small scale, sparked by the new energy bill and high fuel costs.
By <http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1219//cgi-bin/encryptmail.pl?ID=CDE1F2EBA0C3ECE1F9F4EFEE&url=/2005/1219/p03s02-sten.html>
Mark Clayton | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

When the surging Grasse River breached the old concrete-and-wood dam in Massena, N.Y., the dam, only a few feet high, collapsed slowly. Its failure injured nobody - and did the environment a big favor.
Today, eight years later, the unplugged Grasse flows freely from Massena to the St. Lawrence River, and eel and sturgeon are returning. Canoeists and anglers have, too. That idyllic scene may be
shifting, though, worrying some.

Massena officials are planning a new dam, whose spinning hydropower turbine will generate about 2.5 megawatts and $1 million worth of electricity a year for the city-run utility.Hoover Dam it is not. It would generate enough juice for only about 2,500 homes. Still, Massena's tiny project is part of a big new wave
of "small hydro" power projects emerging nationwide.

Propelled by high energy costs, federal incentives, and an eased licensing process, at least 104 projects in 29 states - with 2,400 megawatts of new capacity - have been granted "preliminary permits" by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates hydropower development. Many other projects in the works have not yet been officially reported by FERC, observers say. The jolt in interest is lifting the long-languishing hopes of hydropower's true believers.

"There seems to be a trend, hopefully, of getting more hydropower on-line," says Linda Church Ciocci of the National Hydropower Association in Washington, which represents investor-owned utilities.

Until recently, most energy analysts felt hydro's best days were behind it, because the rivers with the best potential for large-scale water power were dammed long ago. Since the 1980s, hydropower has
been eclipsed by other, faster-growing types of "clean" electric power. Natural-gas-fired generation, for instance, grew nearly 240 percent in the decade ending in 2003. Hydro grew just 4 percent - its share
of the nation's power generation sagging to 9 percent from 11 percent a decade earlier.

Some trace the surge in hydropower interest to little-noticed provisions in the 2005 energy bill that provided tax credits and incentive payments to boost the industry. It also included measures to soften the clout of environmentalists, native Americans, fishing enthusiasts, and federal agencies that might oppose or wish to modify such projects.

Most projects are still on the drawing boards, and the majority will probably never be built. Many projects call for retrofitting existing dams with generators. Only a few involve new dams.

Indeed, the story of hydropower in recent years has been one of dam demolition, not construction. Nearly 200 dams have been demolished since 1999. Concern over declining salmon stocks and other migratory
fish, and the rise of cheaper energy alternatives, have taken the shine off hydro. Last month, for instance, FERC approved removal of the Powerdale Dam on the Hood River in Oregon.

A few new dam projects are buried among the preliminary permits FERC has granted, but officials say new dams, which often generate opposition, won't be what saves the industry.

"We're not advocating building new dams," says Ms. Ciocci. "We want to see existing hydropower dams get upgrades and a lot of existing dams that don't have generators have them installed."

About 4 in 5 projects on the books are tiny - producing less than 20 megawatts of power. But if all 104 projects now in the planning stages are built, they would contribute 2.4 gigawatts to generating capacity nationwide.

The potential exists for much more, say federal researchers. Of 80,000 existing dams, only about 2,500 generate electricity. Upgrading those hydropower dams could boost power by 4,300 megawatts.
Retrofitting the most promising of the remaining 77,000 dams could generate as much as 17,000 megawatts, according to a recent US Department of Energy Report.

Such a boost might reduce the need for future fossil-fuel or nuclear projects. Still, environmentalists are wary.

"We've heard through the grapevine that there is movement," says Robbin Marks, director of the hydropower reform campaign at American Rivers, an environmental group in Washington. "We don't want to see
new hydro dams."

At a recent town hall meeting in Massena, environmentalists, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, state environment officials, Indian tribes, and sportsmen's groups came to ask questions.

The new dam is needed to defray rising power costs, Massena officials say. The timing seems right, they add, because the new federal energy law may provide economic incentives that make it a good deal.
"Frankly, the public response has been overwhelmingly positive," says Andrew McMahon, superintendent of Massena Electric, the city utility. "We're going to do our best to work with everyone and deal with concerns."

Across the nation, many existing dams are slated for relicensing hearings, where interest groups are expected to challenge their value to the public - in some cases leading to dam demolition. In other
cases, relicensing will help the environment because it leads to upgrades that meet today's standards, environmentalists say. source : <http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1219/p03s02-sten.html>

Christian Science Monitor , via IRN 19.12.05

China : Exodus forced by dam under way

by SHI JIANGTAO in Beijing South China Morning Post. 2005-12-13

Thousands of Sichuan residents have come to terms with being forced from their homes to make way for a controversial dam.Construction of the 186-metre-high Pubugou dam on the Dadu River in Hanyuan county recently resumed after it had been halted over deadly clashes last year.
It will be the country's fifth-largest hydropower plant, with a capacity of 3.3 million kilowatts.But the 20 billion yuan China Guodian project will see up to 100,000 people displaced from seven townships in Hanyuan and a neighbouring county by August, according to villagers.
My family is almost ready to go, as many of the county residents have already left, said Ji Changhua, 39, from Dashu township in Hanyuan, Yaan city, more than 300km from Chengdu.
Of the villagers who signed relocation agreements with the county government in September, more than 30,000 had yet to be moved to their new homes in four counties in Chengdu and Leshan, Mr Ji said.

The authorities told me that my new house in Pujiang county, about 200 km from Hanyuan, will not be ready until next March, although according to the agreement, I should move out by the end of January, he said.
The agreements were signed after representatives of the villagers were said to be content after a field trip to their new homes.
While the residents have failed in their bid for increased compensation, they face fines of up to 20,000 yuan if they do not vacate their homes on time.
My new house will be 50 square metres smaller than the one I am living in. The farmland there will also be smaller, and what's more, our land here is so fertile, Mr Ji said. But we have no other choice but to accept the deal as the authorities are so determined to build the dam. We don't petition the government any more.

Mr Ji was among up to 100,000 farmers who staged sit-ins and protests to stop the damming of the river in October last year.The demonstration erupted into violent clashes the next month when up to 10,000 People's Armed Police were sent to the dam site to quell days of protests. One policeman was killed and a number of villagers and police injured.
More than a year after the massive demonstration, which earned the mountain-valley county international attention, it remains a taboo topic in the mainland media and among Sichuan academics.
Local authorities, embarrassed by the open opposition by the usually obedient locals, have questioned as many as 400 villagers and arrested at least a dozen protesters.
One Dashu villager, Gao Qiansong, was jailed for three years for his alleged role in leading the protests. The massive protests also led to a purge of local city and county officials who had been accused of corruption
and involvement in the clashes.

Former Yaan vice-mayor Tang Fujin, who was promoted to the city post after having served as Hanyuan's party secretary for six years from 1998, was put on trial in June for accepting nearly 2.5 million yuan in bribes, Xinhua reported.
Local rumours say Tang has been jailed for life, while his confidant, former deputy county party secretary Bai Rangao, is also said to have been sentenced to a lengthy spell behind bars.

The construction of the dam, designed to help ease the country's chronic power shortage, resumed in September and the damming of the Dadu was completed late last month. The dam project is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Source : SHI JIANGTAO in Beijing South China Morning Post., via IRN 13.12.05

Albania protects Lake Skadar and the Buna Delta

Largest Lake in the Balkan Area under protection: 900 sqkm protected in Montenegro and Albania

Only Bojana Delta in Montenegro still missing to complete unique protected wetland area on the Balkan Green Belt

Lake Skadar at the border of Albania and Montenegro (also called Lake Scutari or Lake Shkodra) is a dynamic natural lake, changing its surface area from 350 sqkm in dry summers to up to 542 sqkm after heavy rainfall. The Lake is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Buna River (called Bojana in Montenegro) and divided by the border. Now, 495 sqkm on the Albanian side are being protected as "Shkodra Lake Natural Reserve" by a decision of the Albanian Council of Ministers taken on November 2nd 2005. Lake Skadar, the Buna river, a beach stretching for miles, lagoons, marshlands and wide pastureland are part of the new protected area. Dolphins, golden eagles, pelicans and bears can be found in one coherent natural area. "The beauty and natural wealth of this former iron curtain border area are remarkable and probably unique in Europe," Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby of European Nature Heritage Fund (Euronatur) puts his enthusiasm into words. Euronatur has been working for the protection of the area as part of the "Balkan Green Belt" - project since three years. This initiative wants to save the natural beauties along the former iron curtain.
The new Shkodra Lake Natural Reserve includes the Albanian part of Lake Skadar (265 sqkm) and the terrestrial and marine area of the Buna delta (230 sqkm) including the 44 km river course and the coastal mountains. Most important sites are the Viluni lagoon, a 15 km long beach, the Velipoja reserve, the Domni marshland and the large pasturelands at the river. Together with the adjacent Lake Skadar National Park on the Montenegrenian side the whole protected area comprises now almost 900 sqkm of extraordinary natural beauty.
The Albanian decision offers great opportunity to develop a transboundary protected area according to the international guidelines of UNESCO and the Ramsar Convention. "Most important now is the integration of the Bojana Delta in Montenegro in the protected areas network and the implementation of management measures in the new nature reserve", states Schneider-Jacoby of Euronatur. The protection of the landscape values and high biodiversity could make the area a tourist destination attractive all year round. Nevertheless, Euronatur emphasizes that in this context it will be important to stop illegal building in the natural areas as well as uncontrolled hunting. For the hinterland and the rural areas a development program is needed to preserve the cultural and natural heritage and to improve the living in the villages. During a recent meeting the Prime Ministers of both Albania and Montenegro strongly expressed their will to enhance transboundary cooperation.

source RiverNet   05.12.05

 Turkey : Journey diary on the scene of the future Ilisu Dam

Discover the place where the future Ilisu Dam, in Turkey, will be settled. A German traveller (by Thomas Schmidinger) went to meet people in Hasankeyf, a remote place of the Turkish Kurdistan, where the Turkish Government plans to build an important dam on the Ilisu river.

His diary and photos are available on our web pages : http://www.rivernet.org/turquie/prs2006.htm#101205 (text in German only)

Get information on Ilisu Dam project : http://www.rivernet.org/turquie/welcome.htm

source : Stefan Michel / Thomas Schmidinger / www.jungle-world.com

Happy birthday, IRN !

International Rivers Network is 20 ! Since 1985, International Rivers NEtwork is finghting to protect the rivers all over the world and to amplify the voices of dam-affected communities, too often forgotten by the stakeholders and the governments. Indeed, IRN has led during all these years a global movement to oppose environmentally and socially destructive dams. Another part of its job is to advocate for better ways of meeting needs for energy and for water.

European Rivers Network is quite happy to congratulate IRN for this birthday and for all the impressive job done since 20 years ! We wish the IRN's team all the best for the next 20 years !

We also want here to thank again IRN and its Founder President Phil Williams, which helped us a lot when ERN was created !

Learn more about IRN on its website : http://www.irn.org


16-22 March
: go to the official Website : http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx/home/home.asp

European Union sanctions Italy and Portugal (WFD)

16.01.06 : In two separate rulings delivered on Thursday, Portugal and Italy were sanctioned for failing to transpose the 2000 water framework directive. Italy was also chastised for breaching two directives on air quality assessment and EU limit values for air pollutants.

Follow-up: <http://www.curia.eu.int/en/transitpage.htm>European court of justice, tel: +352 43031,

Judgments against Portugal in case <http://www.curia.eu.int/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=en&Submit=Submit&docrequire=alldocs&numaff=c-118/05

Judgments against Italy in cases <http://www.curia.eu.int/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=en&Submit=Submit&docrequire=alldocs&numaff=c-85/05

source: EEB 15.01.06

A new report: "What have dams got to do with peace?

"Conflict and the politics of infrastructure development" by The Corner House,

Nicholas Hildyard addresses the very real and damaging conflicts that dams (and other large infrastructure projects such as oil pipelines and mines) can cause and exacerbate.

Infrastructure development is often at the junction where conflicts over resources and decision-making meet, where future conflicts are created and where past conflicts are perpetuated. It raises key questions, therefore, about decision-making, and political and economic power, about wider geo-politics and re-colonisation.

This presentation illustrates these points with reference to several projects proposed or being

http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/summary.shtml?x=369028 implemented in Turkey. 20.12.05

source : The Cornerhouse

10 Conferences and meetings in 2006

Visite our RiverNet Page : http://www.rivernet.org/general/conferences2006.htm

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