Volume 13, Issue 2

June 1997



Asit K. Biswas, Instituto de Ingeniería, UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria, México

Abstract: Water use since the dawn of human history has increased steadily, and the current trend is no exception. For many reasons it would be a difficult task to alleviate the water crisis significantly in many parts of the world within a reasonable timeframe. Environmental and social aspects of water development have become important factors to consider in recent decades, but many serious methodological and operational constraints have to be overcome before environmentally-sound water management can become a reality. There are many fundamental problems with the environmental assessment procedures. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the present status of operationalizing the concept of sustainable water developmentin the real world.


Madhav A. Chitale, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, New Delhi, India

Abstract: The Sardar Sarovar Project, commonly known as the Narmada project, will transfer water from the water-rich Narmada basin to highly drought-prone areas of Sabarmati and Banas basins. The current plan for developing the Narmada basin envisages 30 large projects, 135 medium projects and 3000 small schemes. The project is estimated to cost Rs 100 billion and is expected to be completed by the year 2010. This paper provides an objective review of the environmental and social impacts of the project, including afforestation, wildlife sanctuaries, health issues, siltation, resettlement, soil management, and the role of NGOs.


Yutaka Takahasi, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Department of Civil Engineering, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract: Large dams contribute to a more reliable supply of water for various uses, flood control and hydroelectric power generation. They also have social and environmental impacts. This paper reviews the history of the impacts of dam developments on the natural and social environment in Japan, and the countermeasures taken to reduce the adverse impacts. Finally, the implications of the Nagara River Estuary barrage are analysed.


I.H. Olcay Ünver, Prime Ministry GAP Regional Development Administration, Ugur Mumcu’nun, Ankara, Turkey

Abstract:  The Republic of Turkey has initiated a comprehensivesocioeconomic devel- opment project in its less developed south-east region. The South-eastern Anatolia Project, or GAP to use its Turkish acronym, aims at improving the living standards of some 6 million residents of this 75 000 km2 region by mobilizing the natural resources of this area for integrated development on a regional scale. GAP is planned, designed, coordinated and implemented in an integrated manner taking into account interactions among different sectors as well as activities within individual sectors. The South-eastern Anatolia Project, in its historical context, was formulated as a package of water and land resources development projects in the 1970s, which was later transformed, in the early 1980s, to a multi-sectoral, socioeconomic regional development programme. A Regional Administration (GAP-RDA) was established in 1989 for the management of the programme. Sectors covered in the development programmes include irrigation, hydropower, agriculture, urban infrastructure, rural development, forestry, healthcare and education among others. The water resources programme of the US$32 billion project includes 22 dams, 19 hydropower plants and irrigation of 1.7 million ha of land. This paper describes, in brief, the size, main features, financial aspects and the status of the integrated socioeconomic project in its general context thus forming the basis for operational as well as specific issues. It then attempts to provide an overall discussion of the sustainability framework for development in its different but highly interrelated facets. After establishing the main, global benefits the paper comments on the adverse, undesired impacts along with the measures adapted to mitigate them. The paper later describes, in more detail, environmental impact studies, their main findings and proposals related to watersheds and irrigation development with an emphasis on management and environmental health matters together with the measures taken. The paper concludes by emphasizing the commitment to sustainable development and to planning ahead rather than damage reduction, and the effort to integrate relevant and sometimes conflicting aspects rather than compromise.

EGYPT’S HIGH ASWAN DAM (pp. 209-217)

A. Abu-zeid and F.Z. El-Shibini, Fum Ismailiya Canal Shoubra El-Khima, Egypt

Abstract: History tells us that Egypt’s fertile land is the gift of the Nile. However, for the first time in history, full control of the Nile water was achieved in 1970 after the construction of the High Aswan Dam (HAD). The HAD is a multipurpose project for sustainable irrigation development, hydropower, navigation improvement etc. Different schools of thought appeared before and after the HAD project-optimistic, pessimistic and neutral. However, the anticipated benefits and side-effects have provided clear and obvious facts in response to the different ideas after more than 25 years of operation. The HAD saved Egypt twice during the project’s life (a) from a dangerous flood series which occurred in the late 1970s, and (b) from severe droughtsin the mid-1980s. As with other large projects, some side-effects have occurred, as anticipated, but the benefits far exceed these side-effects. There is no doubt that the HAD is the cornerstone for Egypt’s sustainable agricultural plans and many other developments. In this paper documented facts are given relevant to HAD water allocations for the sake of the welfare of Egypt’s future generations. These will include the realized true benefits and side-effects of the HAD.

DISCUSSION (pp. 219-221)

In November 1996, the Japan Institute of Construction Engineering (JICE) convened a major workshop on “Dams and the Environment” in Tokyo. Considerable public interest can now be witnessed in Japan on this issue, and it has also become a controversial subject. JICE invited five of the world’s leading experts from different countries to objectively review their experiences. Professor Yutaka Takahasi of Japan and Professor Asit K. Biswas, who is currently on sabbatical in Mexico, were the Chief Scientific Advisors to JICE. This special thematic issue contains the five papers that were specially commissioned for the Workshop.


Nigel Watsona, Bruce Mitchellb and George Mulamoottilc

aGeography Division, Faculty of Engineering and Environmental Studies, University of Brighton, UK; bDepartment of Geography; cSchool of Regional and Urban Planning and Department of Geography, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada

Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of institutional arrangements for management of nitrate pollution in England. The causes, effects and consequences of the problem and the key managementissues are outlined. Results indicate that the effectiveness of the management of nitrate pollution has improved after 1985. Nevertheless, three key obstacles are identified which have limited the effectiveness of the arrangements: poor coordination at the regional and local levels, disputes regarding the equitable allocation of costs, and the uncertainties associated with the problem. Catchment-based planning of land and water, linked consultation arrangements, principled negotiation and an adaptive management approach are recommended to overcome these obstacles.

Sixth Stockholm Water Symposium, Safeguarding Water Resources for Tomorrow: New Solutions to World Problems, 4-9 August 1996, Stockholm, Sweden