World Rivers Review: Focus on Legacy of Dams – June 2008

Date: 
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Addressing the Legacy

Large dams have created a sad legacy of social injustices and environmental degradation that often outweighs the benefits they bring. The parties involved in approving, financing, designing and building dams should be held responsible for solving problems created by dams, but in the majority of cases, responsible parties have taken few or no steps to resolve outstanding problems, leaving affected people to fend for themselves. This special issue of World Rivers Review reports on a few key reparations case studies, and describes actions that people around the globe are taking to address the legacy of large dams.

What's inside:

Articles on Legacy:

  • Commentary: Decision-makers cannot afford to ignore the legacy of large dams.
  • Guatemala: For more than 20 years, communities affected by the Chixoy Dam have demanded reparations for damages caused by the project, built during Guatemala’s most repressive military dictatorship. Our Mesoamerica campaigner recounts the long path for justice for affected people; and a member of the legal team imparts lessons learned on this important case.
  • Environmental Flows: The environmental legacy of dams stemming from changes to quantiy, quality and timing of flows in rivers has been extensive. An expert in the new science of environmental flows describes a ground-breaking process to improve water flows in the Lesotho Highlands (Africa) have worked to improve water flows in dammed rivers.
  • Nigeria: Communities and government stakeholders are working together to restore lives and livelihoods in wetlands areas affected by dams.
  • Interview: Talking with Zimbabwe's Basilwizi Trust, which works to combat the effects of displacement on the people affected by Kariba Dam.
  • Field Reports: A global roundup of legacy campaigns.

Articles on Other Topics:

  • Amazon: Tribes fight to save the Xingu.
  • Day of Action: A report on the eleventh annual international day to demonstrate, educate and celebrate the value of rivers, water and life.

Paulina Osorio was born in a village that was flooded by Chixoy Dam. Paramilitaries murdered over 400 villagers during the building of the dam, including Paulina’s parents, when she was 9.
Paulina Osorio was born in a village that was flooded by Chixoy Dam. Paramilitaries murdered over 400 villagers during the building of the dam, including Paulina’s parents, when she was 9.
Erik Johnson

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