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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND WATER INFRASTRUCTURE: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WCD STRATEGIC PRIORITIES IN EUROPE

IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): Guido Schmidt
with contributions from Ute Collier
Jacek Engel
Meinke Schouten De Stefano

Guido Schmidt , with contributions from Ute Collier , Jacek Engel , Meinke Schouten De Stefano The World Bank and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) set up the World Commission on Dams (WCD) in 1998.


Article:

Abstract

Following a wide ranging global review of the world's dams, 3 years ago it Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-making ) that provided a comprehensive and integrated framework for decision-making on the provision of water and energy services. It gave clear guidelines and recommendations for decision makers aimed at safeguarding rights, reducing the risk of conflicts and lowering overall costs, including social and environmental ones. The implementation of WCD recommendations Case studies such as the Polish Wloclawek Dam options assessment http://www.wwf.pl/publikacje_en.php ) demonstrate the usefulness of the WCD recommendations, resulting eg in the current blockage of funds for the mentioned project by the Polish Parliament due to the doubts about the project viability. Nonetheless, an upcoming WWF Study on Water Management shows that in the wide majority of European countries no evidence could be found that the recommendations of the WCD are adopted in the dam policy. In particular, and regarding river fragmentation by dams, water stakeholders out , identified some key gaps in the National water policies: No strategies to maintain free-flowing rivers. Dams are considered sources of green electricity and a solution to water shortage problems. In many countries, especially in Northern and Western Europe, dams' construction rate has rapidly fallen during the past decade because most of the usable river stretches have already being built upon. On the other hand, in Southern and Eastern European countries dam construction still continues without an overarching approach ensuring ecological values are taken into account. Proof of this is the fact that none of the countries planning new big dams in the next 10 years include the principle of maintaining selected rivers in their natural free- flowing state in their dam development strategy. Too few regulations for old dams. While the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures oblige, at least formally, to take into account and limit the impact of newly built dams, there are still too few binding requirements to monitor and reduce the impact on the river and the riverine inhabitants of already existing dams. This means that issues such as the monitoring of the WWF/Adena...

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