We in the ICOLD have completed its initial review of the WCD report Dams and Development: A New Framework

for Decision-Making. ICOLD are concerned that your Report will be viewed as anti developmental. Indeed, members of the media are currently making this interpretation. We in the ICOLD instead endorse the comment of Smt. Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India, who once said that "Poverty is the biggest enemy of environment." A no development policy will not alleviate poverty. ICOLD believes that the WCD has made an extremely energetic effort to bring the debate on the pros and cons of dams to a higher level. ICOLD is pleased that our Position Paper on Dams and the Environment fits in so well with the intent of the WCD recommendations. For example:   Sustainable development concepts and principles, including demand side management, improvement of system management and watershed management Concern for the environment (both natural and social aspects) at all stages and phases of a project, from planning to operation, should be given the same consideration as the technical, economic and financial aspects The five core values followed by the WCD, equity, efficiency, participatory decisionmaking, sustainability and accountability The five critical decision points identified by the WCD as needs assessment, selection of alternatives, project formulation, project implementation and project operation

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Our additional comments on the WCD report are summarized below. WCD Performance However, we in ICOLD seriously doubts that the WCD has completely fulfilled its mandate as agreed upon in Gland during 1997. In summary, its tasks were: 1. To review the development effectiveness of large dams and assess alternatives for water resources and energy development. 2. To develop internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines and standards, where appropriate, for the planning, design, appraisal, construction, operation, monitoring and decommissioning of dams. Task 1: ICOLD cannot agree with the conclusions extracted from the very limited WCD database. Beyond a few statements such as "Dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development," and quoting a few figures for the share of irrigation in food production and of hydro in energy generation, there is little in the report about the development effectiveness of dams in regulating the world's rivers for human utilization. In fact, the WCD draws conclusions about dam project development based upon its review of a few hundred of the total 45000 large dam with only eight reviewed in depth, most more than 30 years old, four thematic reviews, and regional meetings. We question whether this was in fact a rigorous examination of dams, as purported by the WCD. The report does not clearly state that in many cases, dams are the only solution to water problems. In areas of the world where approximately two billion people live and where river flow is intermittent, flows are virtually unusable for development without storage. Large and growing populations in such areas cannot possibly be supported without large-scale surface storage. One would have expected the WCD to have made a global evaluation of the availability of water in the world's different regions without storage and the minimum amount of water needed to support the particular region's population. The WCD also failed to make an objective and scientific assessment of the alternatives to large dams for water supply, power generation and food production. A number of the so-called alternatives advanced by dam opponents are put forward without evaluation. Even where hydro has a major advantage over fossil fuel, such as avoiding emission of harmful gases such as NOX, SOX and heavy metals, the report is silent. No attempt was made to measure the small-scale, local solutions against the enormous growth in demand in developing countries. Over-optimistic views of the future economics of largely untested technologies are advanced by the WCD.

USA. ICOLD recognizes ". The benefits of avoided air pollution from thermal power and benefits of flood protection and water supply. dam owners and operators. only if it is a dam. Indeed." Task 2: Because ICOLD is an organization that promotes dam safety and maintenance. including a better quality of life. This means that for each person negatively impacted by dams.The report recognizes that "30-40 percent of irrigated land worldwide now relies on dams. the WCD focused principally on what needs to be done differently. ICOLD has promoted socially and environmentally responsible project development and has published a position paper on this aspect during the last decade. the WCD report focuses on the five percent of the people who have not benefited from dams and. Pak Mun Dam in Thailand. And there is also a social side to the comprehensive conception of environment: the people. we are pleased that the WCD recognizes the long life of dams and the continuing need for maintenance. In effect. an urgent need to protect and conserve our natural environment as the endangered basis of all life. was developed during the last decade. design. construction and exploitation parameters of the selected option. electricity. such as those recently completed in California. in fact. will. developers. therefore. NGOs. ICOLD seriously question the relevance of the eight dams selected for in depth review. The WCD presents the unsupported figure of 40 to 80 million people displaced by dams during the past century. ignores the benefits to the majority of the people. States. ICOLD believe that an impartial review of dam practice would also have examined contemporary projects. . Each government must address this pressing issue in its own way. The WCD put forward a decision process that asks for formal multi-step negotiations between all stake holders. which would be about 800 million people. The others were planned and developed 20 to 70 years ago. stall any new development projects. WCD states: "A key element in keeping dams safe is providing finance for proper and regular maintenance work. and protected by a fair and efficient national legal system. . their land and settlements. apart from criteria. and especially indigenous people. guidelines and standards of ICOLD and the financing institutions are sufficient and had endorsed them. guidelines and standards for "consultations" with stakeholders for the study of alternatives and for environmental and social issues." WCD Recommendations ICOLD must praise the WCD emphasis on the fate of affected people and the needed protection of their rights. choosing the options to satisfy those needs. rather than the simple statement in Chapter 9 that says "Recognising that guidelines are available from other sources. water and flood control provided by dams. operation. must at the end demonstrate through written contracts with developers "their acceptance of key decisions. The cumbersome nature of the process is further complicated by the WCD recommendation to revisit the operational parameters of a constructed . and finally selecting the design. worldwide. the report fails to offer technical criteria and standards for the planning. also extend to several hundred million people around the world. The steps include recognizing the needs." Which means that 800 million people benefit from food produced by dam related irrigation . 10 to 20 other people benefit from the food. This could be acceptable if the WCD had clearly stated that the criteria." ICOLD is concerned that such a cumbersome negotiation process. Populations that might be affected by a proposed dam. while giving affected people the right to be consulted. appraisal. monitoring and decommissioning of dams. A similar figure is true for electricity ("19 percent of the world's electricity"). construction. review by expert panels. and funding institutions should make the affected people the "first among the beneficiaries" and provide them with a means to maintain and increase their livelihood. adequately compensated. including resolution of past grievances. with mediation steps." However. and requiring all detailed information about the potential impact on the ecosystem and the population. The objective of ICOLD is to minimize both social and environmental impacts of dams. Only one. where most of the WCD recommendations were applied in principle. their economy and traditions.

flood control. navigation. and hydropower.6 billion still growing at a rate of about 90 million per year. Thank you for your leadership of the WCD program. if they wish. ICOLD fear that public and private developers and financial institutions will view these delays as too time consuming and costly. one in three of us may struggle to drink or bathe. including more dams. dams are constructed for a specific purpose such as water supply. we consider that the WCD detailed recommendations are mostly designed for and based on the experience of developed countries. ICOLD support the WCD qualifying statement that "The report is not intended as a blueprint. Therefore. the amount of water withdrawn from freshwater resources has increased by a factor of 35. sediment control and energy. as we seek a fifth more water for 3 billion new people. water quality. debates. This will be viewed as adding additional risk to project development by dam owners and financial institutions and creating additional delays. ICOLD favors a balanced approach to dam and project development. sedimentation control. Therefore. The WCD recommendations are not universally applicable and should not be considered as such by anyone." ICOLD Position As Nelson Mandela stated in his London address." There is little doubt that the world is water short and the shortage will grow. There is no life on earth without water. each country must also consider its prevailing conditions. ICOLD. dams were built for the single purpose of water supply or irrigation. laws and needs. is willing to cooperate in a transparent way with other professional organizations concerned with the sustainable development of river basins. sanitation. ICOLD believe that the WCD recommendations will create an unacceptable level of uncertainty to the development process. and with their legitimate expectations of higher standards of living. irrigation. ICOLD recommend that it be used as the starting point for discussions. which has 80 National Committees. which have the time and money to explore all possible alternatives to dams and can afford. With the present world population of 5. irrigation. A dam is the cornerstone in the development and management of water resources development of a river basin. global water demand is expected to rise by a further 2-3 percent annually in the decades ahead. thereby compounding the human suffering referred to by Mr.dam with all stakeholder participation at the end of each five year period. because the population receives domestic and economic benefits from a single investment. However. Why do we need dams In ancient times. and will stop water and energy development entirely. In addition." And "In a few decades. Based upon our world wide experience. giving a stronger voice to affected people and communities. During the past three centuries. a quote from preface to the report "one in five persons world-wide lacks access to safe drinking water. navigation. and electricity. Each country should consider the WCD recommendations and the ICOLD guidelines. thirst. is undeniable because there are no other practical solutions. As civilizations developed. traditions. lack of running water. internal reviews and reassessments of may be established procedures and for an assessment of how these can evolve to address a changed reality.\ Demand for water is steadily increasing throughout the world. many people suffer from hunger. including funding institutions. flood control. . Mandela. ICOLD feels that procedures for development are specific to each country. The multipurpose dam is a very important project for developing countries. our most important resource apart from air and land. The need for structural solutions. there was a greater need for water supply. world population by a factor of 8.

Irrigation: Presently. however. is used to pump water up to the higher reservoir. however. when compared with highway and rail are the large load carrying capacity of each barge. 10% for flood control. most falls on the sea and a large portion of that which falls on earth ends up as runoff. Hydropower also offers unique possibilities to manage the power network by its ability to quickly respond to peak demands. the ability to handle cargo with large-dimensions and fuel savings. thus also preventing or mitigating floods With their present aggregate storage capacity of about 6 000 km3. It is important to remember that of the total rainfall falling on the earth. 13% for water supply. To accommodate the variations in the hydrologic cycle. 48 % are for irrigation. More than 90% of the world's renewable electricity comes from dams. In the high-consumption countries with rich resources and a highly developed technical infrastructure. dams and reservoirs are needed to store water and then provide more consistent supplies during shortages Inland navigation Natural river conditions. irrigated land covers about 277 million hectares i. Pumpingstorage plants. ice and changing river channels due to erosion and sedimentation. while the demand is low. the construction of more reservoir projects will be required. recycling and reusing water may more or less suffice to curb further growth in supply. 17% for hydropower (production of electricity). That water is then used during the peak demand period to produce electricity. with flooding and drought causing problems of catastrophic proportions. Seasonal variations and climatic irregularities in flow impede the efficient use of river runoff. This system today constitute the only economic mass storage available for electricity. It is estimated that 80% of additional food production by the year 2025 will need to come from irrigated land.But freshwater resources are limited and unevenly distributed. using power produced during the night. The advantages of inland navigation. In many other regions.e. In these regions man cannot forego the contribution to be made by dams and reservoirs to the harnessing of water resources. dams clearly make a significant contribution to the efficient management of finite water resources that are unevenly distributed and subject to large seasonal fluctuations. water availability is critical to any further development above the present unsatisfactorily low level. such as changes in the flow rate and river level. . 5% for recreation and less than 1% for navigation and fish farming. Using the most recent publication of the World Register of Dams. create major problems and obstacles for inland navigation. The purposes of dams Most of the dams are single-purpose dams. With the large population growth expected for the next decades. For almost 5 000 years dams have served to ensure an adequate supply of water by storing water in times of surplus and releasing it in times of scarcity. irrigation must be expanded to increase the food capacity production. designed and constructed and maintained dams to store water contribute significantly toward fulfilling our water supply requirements. Only 2% of the total is infiltrated to replenish the groundwater. Electricity generated from dams is by very far the largest renewable energy source in the world. the many ways of conserving. but there is now a growing number of multipurpose dams. irrigation is by far the most common purpose of dams. Water supply for domestic and industrial use: It has been stressed how essential water is for our civilization. about 18% of world's arable land but is responsible for around 40% of crop output and employs nearly 30% of population spread over rural areas. and even to the mere survival of existing communities or to meet the continuously growing demand originating from the rapid increase of their population. Even with the widespread measures to conserve water by improvements in irrigation technology. Properly planned. Among the single purpose dams.

This strategy eliminates flooding.Enhanced inland navigation is a result of comprehensive basin planning and development utilizing dams. The number of dams and their water control management plans are established by comprehensive planning for economic development and with public involvement. Flood control is a significant purpose for many of the existing dams and continues as a main purpose for some of the major dams of the world currently under construction. This means lowering of the reservoir level to create more storage before the rainy season. reduced erosion. In addition to the economic benefits. Each dam is operated by a specific water control plan for routing floods through the basin without damage. locks and reservoirs which are regulated to provide a vital role in realizing regional and national economic benefits. stabilized groundwater levels throughout the system and recreation Flood control Dams and reservoirs can be effectively used to regulate river levels and flooding downstream of the dam by temporarily storing the flood volume and releasing it later. a river that has been developed with dams and reservoirs for navigation may also provide additional benefits of flood control. . The most effective method of flood control is accomplished by an integrated water management plan for regulating the storage and discharges of each of the main dams located in a river basin.