“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).

International Rivers and its allies will be in Istanbul to convey the message, “Big Dams=A Flood of Risk.” With almost one billion people still lacking access to adequate and safe water supply, the world’s water ministers are calling for “a significant increase” in investment flows for water infrastructure at WWF5. Yet their favored model of development, which emphasizes large dams and irrigation canals, does not address the needs of people who have no access to water, sanitation, and irrigation.

International Rivers’ staff will participate in WWF5, the Alternative Forum March 20-22 (including a Day of Action for Rivers on March 21), host two press conferences, and present the 2009 Free Rivers Award. They will be joined by nearly a dozen allies from around the world who will share their expertise, stories, and struggles against dams in their communities, including India’s Shripad Dharmadhikary, Thailand’s Pianporn Deetes, and Uganda’s Frank Muramuzi.

“Large dams are a risky business for people and the planet,” explains International Rivers’ Policy Director Peter Bosshard, a WWF5 panelist. “They have displaced an estimated 40-80 million people, and impoverished most of them in the process. Dams have turned freshwater into the most endangered ecosystem on the planet.” [Read More]

“Reservoirs are not climate-friendly,” explains International Rivers’ Climate Campaigner Payal Parekh who will be in Istanbul, “particularly if located in the tropics. Brazilian researchers estimate that methane from dams is responsible for around 4% of human-caused global warming. Dams can also induce earthquakes, especially if built in seismically active regions such as the Himalayas.” [Read More]

Based on five continents, International Rivers is an international environmental and human rights organization. For over two decades, International Rivers has been at the heart of the global struggle to protect rivers and the communities that depend on them.

Media contacts: 

Antonia Juhasz, 1-415-846-5447, media@internationalrivers.org

Payal Parekh, 1-510-529-8708, payal@internationalrivers.org

More information: 

Read more about International Rivers at World Water Forum 5.