Dams lead to excessive damage worldwide: Report

London, November 14:

Dam projects around the world continue to cause social and environmental damage, campaigners said today, despite guidelines for better practice having been in place for five years. “This is not the engineering heyday of the 1950s when dams were seen as the hallmark of development,” said Robert Napier, chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Britain, “We know dams cau-se damage and we must put this knowledge to work.”

“Governments and the World Bank must insist that the WC-D (World Commission on Dams) are applied to all dam projects now.” More than 400 large dams are currently being built worldwide with hundreds more planned, the WWF estimated, with China, Iran and Turkey leading the construction field, closely followed by Japan.

Presenting a report, ‘To dam or not to dam? Five years on from the WCDs’, the WWF said dams needed to be economically and environmentally sustainable. Construction plans need to receive public approval while comprehensive assessments of other options should be carried out and any economic benefits should be shared with local communities, the environmental group added. The report’s author Ute Collier said, “Bad dams and bad economics are apparently still alive and kicking five years after the WCD.” “As the energy and water crisis tightens, we need to ensure that we choose the solutions with the least environmental damage and the greatest social benefits.”

Most critised dams

•Chalillo Dam in Belize

•Ermenek Dam in Turkey

•Nam Theun 2 project in Laos

•Melonares Dam in Spain

•Burnett Dam in Australia

•Karahnjukar project in Iceland