Dam Industry

Sustainable Hydropower – Ethiopian Style

Police intimidation in Ethiopia
Police intimidation in Ethiopia BBC At the end of June, Reeyot Alemu, an Ethiopian journalist, was thrown into jail after she dared to raise questions about the proposed Grand Millennium Dam. This is only the latest example of the severe repression that the Ethiopian government metes out against anybody who takes a critical position on its massive hydropower projects. In spite of such repression, the International Hydropower Association recently recognized Ethiopia’s power utility as a “Sustainability Partner.” This is a telling example of the dam industry’s current propaganda effort

Greenwashing Hydropower

The Marmorera Dam
The Marmorera Dam Margherita Spiluttini When I was in fifth grade, we spent a week at the Marmorera Dam in the Swiss Alps, where we learned about the wonders of hydropower, the “white gold” of Switzerland. I loved the cute village which had been rebuilt on the reservoir, and admired how the 91 meter high earthen dam had been planted with grass and pine trees. Years later I learned how the affected families had been cheated when they were resettled, and how their community has remained scarred ever since. When I see the dam’s green cover now, it reminds me of how dam builders often try

China’s Dam Builders Go Global: an Eyewitness Account

Construction work on China's Kamchay Dam in Cambodia
Construction work on China's Kamchay Dam in Cambodia Marcus Rhinelander China counts half of the world’s large dams within its borders, and is the biggest producer of hydropower. Throughout the 20th century, Western companies helped China build up its hydropower capacity. Yet in the huge Ertan and Three Gorges projects of the 1990s, China changed the rules of the game. Companies interested in the multi-billion dollar contracts had to manufacture half the turbines and generators on Chinese soil, in cooperation with Chinese partners. The leading hydropower firms of the time – including ABB

“At World Water Forum 5 Expect a Flood of Risk” – International Rivers Warns

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
For Immediate Release * Interviews Available Now * Expect increased global warming, earthquakes, poverty, and debt if world leaders push big dams at the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, March 16-22. Berkeley – From March 16-22, the Fifth World Water Forum (WWF5) takes place in Istanbul, Turkey under the motto of “Bridging the Divides for Water.” Held once every three years, it is the largest global gathering of water officials, including heads of state, in the world. Previous Fora were held in Morocco (1997), the Netherlands (2000), Japan (2003) and Mexico (2006

A New Climate for Water Planners

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
March 2008 World Rivers Review The central assumption governing the design and operation of all major water projects has just been declared dead by a group of leading water and climate scientists. Designers and builders of dams need take note.The scientists, led by Paul Milly of the US Geological Service, explained in a recent article in Science that our dams, floodwalls and sewers have been designed and operated under the assumption of "stationarity" - that natural systems fluctuate within a defined set of extremes that can be estimated from past experience. But climate change means "stationa

India’s Ugliest Dam Builder

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
March 2008 World Rivers Review India's ugliest dam builder is undoubtedly the state-owned National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). While the company is currently angling to acquire new capital, its operations at home and abroad have left a trail of ruined livelihoods and misery in its wake. The best case in point is Burma. Where others see a human rights disaster, NHPC sees a prime business opportunity. In 2004, NHPC negotiated a contract with the country's military junta to build the Tamanthi Dam on the Chindwin River in Northwestern Burma. The dam is being built on

Protest Opens Global Dams Conference

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive – Fools of Munzur – Association for Conservation of Munzur Valley and Natural Life – Yusufeli Culture Association – WEED – International Rivers Antalya, Turkey -- Dam-threatened people today demonstrated at a major dam-building conference in Turkey to call attention to major problems with Turkish dam development. Attendees at the organization’s annual world congress in Antalya, Turkey were met with a huge banner declaring "No development, but destruction by many dams in Turkey." "Members of the International Hydropower Associ

Fizzy Science: Loosening the Hydro Industry's Grip on Reservoir Greenhouse Gas Emissions Research

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
The pages of a respected climate change journal are not a place one would expect to find a bad-tempered exchange over the merits of iconic soft drinks. Yet such a disagreement -- over the rates at which Coca-Cola and Brazilian guaraná lose their fizz -- was recently covered in the normally decorous pages of Climatic Change. While the immediate topic seems inconsequential to say the least, the larger context is of major importance -- do tropical hydropower reservoirs cause greenhouse gas emissions to match those from fossil fuel plants? Download the full report

Bribery Taints World Bank–Funded Lesotho Water Project

Sunday, August 1, 1999
A dozen major international dam–building companies involved in the World Bank–funded Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) have lavishly bribed at least one top official on the project, allegedly giving nearly US$2 million in bribes over ten years, reports the South African newspaper Business Day. The information was revealed as part of a court case for the bribed official. Patrick McCully, Campaigns Director of International Rivers Network, says: "Bribery has long distorted the decision–making process on large dams. The international dam industry should be held accou

Statement on the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Sunday, September 1, 2002
Johannesburg Summit Endorses Business as Usual for River Destroyers The outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development will do nothing to halt the rapid degradation of the world's rivers and the impoverishment of the communities who directly depend on them. Rampant dam building, pollution, bad farming practices, channelization, deforestation, urban sprawl, and climate change are sickening the rivers of the world. The agreements made at the WSSD at best fail to rein in the forces destroying rivers, and at worst encourage them. Current patterns of energy consumption are


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