These pages copyright C. Dianne Murray and the Dam-Reservoir Working Group as noted, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000; and except where other authors and dates are noted. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, but link to pages at will.

Are we OD'ing on Water Development?

Foolish overdevelopment, shrinking arable and productive lands and habitat

Do promoters look at impacts research? Do they look at both sides? Doubtful...if USCOLD is a typical example. (USCOLD is one of 81 members of ICOLD, the International Committee on Large Dams.Would a cigarette company admit they're producing something that has serious detrimental economic and health impacts?

Sure... tobacco was sacred to the natives of North America... in extreme moderation! You didn't go hogwild with it. And so it is with water development: good in some situations... in moderation! Like the warnings and dose information on drug packages -> take ONLY as directed. But is moderation being practiced in terms of dam construction? Uh-uh! USCOLD crows that in the States large dam construction is on the rise!

Promoters don't give the public the straight goods on the known peer-reviewed impacts of these projects. They speak only of benefits. They have the cash to tell you the whole truth but they are hiding the downside. It's all... how some have to pay so others can benefit. Now Hydro-Quebec is trying to convince the Crees of Esatmain that they should invest in a $2 billion dollar scheme to divert the Rupert River from James Bay through the Eastmain project. With so much money upfront, the fact that dams are not forever [60 years *maximum* and renewable only through the expensive remediation of dredging] and HQ's track record for losing money on these things, one wonders if how smart a financial manoeuvre this really would be for the people of Eastmain... The fact is that the Great Whale project was called off for *financial* reasons. Pouring all that money down the long pipe of diminishing returns managed to get Standard and Poor and several other rating agencies to drop the province of Quebec's rating. Perhaps HQ thinks the Cree have forgotten?

Developers and promoters in need of a reality check

Time for a reality check! Flooding arable land like the Narmada and Yangtze valleys when every second of every day the world is fast losing our topsoil and arable land per person, to erosion and other factors, in lands where they need all the food they can get is a *benefit*?? No, it is not a benefit. Shortsightedness at best. Greed and corruption at worst. Which? It does not matter.

The saying goes: "If it ain't broke don't fix it.." Our planet and our oceans are "overdosing" on water development. It is broken - we need to fix it. It is possible to overdo things...

The science is in on this one: people, fish, habitat and economies are paying a heavy price for this foolish lack of moderation. Development needs to be sensible, not foolhardy.

It doesn't have to be this way... there are ways around these things. But that takes spine and the courage and the vision to change. Will the promoters lead the way to change?? I wouldn't bet on it.

Is that a dare? Absolutely! ;-> It's time to change and use our resources wisely... not just blunder along blindly just because it's "always been done this way". The Hoover dam is not that old a tradition. :-)

-Dianne Murray, Sepember 09, 1999.