Where Are We On The Dams and Development Debate?
Life, as we know it, would not be the same without dams. They prevent flooding, irrigate farmlands, and generate tremendous amounts of electricity. Yet, they have also been known to alter ecosystems and disrupt lives and livelihoods. This issue focuses on the insights from the World Commission on Dams and where we are 6 years down the road. It also offers references on planning and implementing projects involving dams through ADB’s Dams and Development e-paper.
Ramaswamy Iyer: Caution and Care in Building Dams
“Large dam projects should be projects of the last resort,” says dams expert Ramaswamy Iyer. Their consequences are well known, and so are their benefits. Iyer says,“Project proponents should establish that the harm the project will do to people and nature is unavoidable, that there are no better options, and that the harm can be remedied, mitigated or compensated. Dams are major interventions and should rightly undergo the most stringent of scrutinies.”
ADB’s Dams and Development E-paper: A Reservoir of Knowledge
Dams store water, prevent floods, irrigate agricultural lands, and generate huge amounts of electricity. Yet, dam constructions often invite social, economic, political, and environmental debates that become complicated for dam planners and decisionmakers. ADB’s Dams and Development e-paper shows us the what’s, how’s, and why’s in planning and implementing projects involving dams.
World Commission on Dams - A Remarkable Process and A Lasting Legacy, But the Debate Goes OnThe work of the World Commission on Dams (WCD), stands as a model of comprehensive international decisionmaking and consultation, and the knowledge it assembled and disseminated has proven invaluable to practitioners and researches alike. Yet, 6 years down the line, perspectives still vary, and the future holds more debates on dams. What dent did the WCD make on the dams debate?
ADB Expands Water Cooperation Activities with $3.2 Million Grant Package
ADB’s water operations get a boost from a new US$3.2 million grant from the Cooperation Fund for the Water Sector. The Fund has enabled ADB to implement reform initiatives and expand sector knowledge. With the new grant, says ADB Director WooChong Um,
“we intend to turn some of these new and innovative approaches into expandable projects on the ground.”
ADB signs agreement with Global Water Partnership (GWP)
ADB and GWP signed an agreement to support water utilities, river basin organizations, and the Asia-Pacific Water Forum at the recent World Water Week held in Stockholm. Initial activities of the partnership include twinning arrangements between water utilities and development of networks similar to the South East Asian Water Utilities Network in South and Central Asia.
Armenia: Three Priority Areas for Beginning Operations Identified by ADB The economic gears of Armenia—ADB’s newest developing member country—are turning, but the challenges in lowering the country’s poverty levels still remain. ADB’s initial operations will promote the country’s private sector, improve regional cooperation capacity, and speed up rural developments by setting up water supply and wastewater management systems.
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic: Chu-Talas Joint Rivers Commission Established Under ADB Project
Under an ADB regional grant project, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic inaugurated the Chu-Talas Joint Rivers Commission to help strengthen interstate water resource management and cooperation. “The setting up of the commission is an important step forward in improving transboundary water management in the region,” says Rustam Abdukayumov, ADB Project Management Officer administrating this project.
People’s Republic of China: $200 Million Loan to Help Reduce Flood RiskA US$200 million loan from ADB will reduce flood risks in Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China. The project will help implement the Hunan Provincial Government’s plans to improve flood forecasting and control through the integrated management of the province’s Dongting Lake and mountain rivers. Will this assuage the fear of Hunan’s growing urban population?
Thailand: Partnership Launched to Create ’3R’ Knowledge HubWater, land, and energy will be given a reprieve when a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (3R) Knowledge Hub finds its home at Bangkok’s Asian Institute of Technology. Collaborating agencies, ADB, United Nations Environment Programme, and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific, are helping to set up what would be Asia’s think tank for promoting the sustainable use of limited natural resources.
Uzbekistan: Two ADB Loans to Help Address Land Degradation Massive agricultural losses affect Uzbekistan’s rural communities. The country’s land resources face serious degradation because of poor water management practices and policies. But farmers’ lives are about to change. ADB loans totaling US$60 million will introduce policy reforms, demonstrate innovative farm technologies, and rehabilitate irrigation systems to improve water use and efficiency.
Philippines: Smart Sanitation Cleans Lilo-an’s Coast
Sublime beaches used to attract tourists to Lilo-an, a small town on Cebu Island—until the coastal waters turned dangerously dirty. Wastewater from the public market’s septic tank was discharged straight into the sea. A new decentralized wastewater treatment facility has saved Lilo-an’s coast from pollution, but can the community maintain the facility and at what cost?
Viet Nam: Research on Water Rights and Allocation Key to Sound UsageThe Dong Nai river basin organization (RBO) can now simulate and examine the results of different water rights and allocation policies. Local researchers and the International Food Policy and Research Institute, with ADB’s support, developed a comprehensive river basin model that includes environmental, technical, and policy components of water supply and demand. Would the RBO ultimately adopt these policy options?
Smarter Sanitation, expected to be launched in late 2006, is ADB’s new electronic toolkit in CD format that offers national and local implementers a range of options for sanitation policies, financing, community participation and technologies. The CD-ROM also includes SANEX™—a high-powered software for assessing and planning sanitation systems in developing countries. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a copy.
||9th International Riversymposium
The event will focus on river management and the integration of science, business, institutions, and the community in managing the problems facing rivers, waterways and catchments around the world.
||International Water Association - World Water Congress 2006
The 5th IWA World Water Congress covers most areas of the global water industry, and aims to create a program relevant to both developed and developing regions.
||Doubling Water Financing and Results — Conference on ADB’s Water Financing Program 2006-2010
ADB staff plans to have a dialogue with key officials of its developing member countries to discuss barriers to, and opportunities for, water investments.
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