World Rivers Review, Vol. 22, No. 1 - February 2007

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Cover Story: Amazon Dam Studies Don’t Hold Water

Independent experts have found serious errors and omissions in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Brazil’s massive Madeira River hydroelectric project, a multi-dam scheme proposed for one of the Amazon’s most important tributaries. The experts found the EIA to be inadequate, and recommended that additional studies be undertaken to evaluate the project’s impacts.Questions were raised about how much land would be flooded, the project’s impacts on fisheries and sediment flows, and potential health impacts from the reservoir, among other issues.The Brazilian government is actively promoting the construction of Santo Antonio and Jirau dams on the Madeira River as part of a larger four-dam cascade to generate electricity and permit large commercial barges to navigate 4,200 km up the Madeira to its upstream tributaries in Peru and Bolivia. Critics say the project would not only affect the high biodiversity of the region, but that the Madeira waterway would spur the advance of soy plantations in the Amazon rainforest and surrounding tropical savannas.

What's Inside

  • Commentary: An open plea to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to take responsibility for the Bank’s failed projects.
  • Turkey: European funding agencies move to support Ilisu Dam.
  • Klamath: Tribes, farmers and fishers say, it’s time to take down the Klamath Dams.
  • California: What’s wrong with Gov. Schwarznegger’s plan for new dams in California? Everything.
  • Cambodia: People affected by downstream impacts from Vietnam’s hydro-rush finally get a hearing.
  • China: Corruption on Three Gorges is as big as the dam itself.
  • Legal Strategies: Lessons from Latin America.
  • News Briefs: River news roundup.
  • In Print: New resources of note.