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Address of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan to the President of the European Parliament

Your Excellency,

We have been induced to address you with this letter because of the ambiguous statements of the Member of the European Parliament Mr. Stevenson regarding the construction of the Rogun HPS (HYDROELECTRIC POWER STATION) in Tajikistan. On behalf of European Parliament he repeatedly acted through Tajik’s Mass Media in favor of implementation of this rather disputable hydropower project in the riverhead of Amu- Darya.

Owing to the rash policy of the former Soviet mode on regulation of natural drain of the most ancient rivers of Central Asia – Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya by building the range of hydroelectric complexes in 70-th -80-th of the last century, we started to witness the disappearance of one of the largest closed reservoirs in the world - Aral Sea. Civilization has not faced such case during its history yet: perishing of the whole sea in front of eyes of one generation!

Inhabitants of the Aral Sea area are seriously concerned by possibility of the further aggravation of environmental condition in our region owing to building of new enormous dams with HPS (HYDROELECTRIC POWER STATION) on the upper-streams of two great rivers.  The construction of Rogun HPS with its enormous dam of height 335 m. site pertains to the number of such disputable projects. Building of the given object and its exploitation in a power mode will lead to sharp deterioration of maintenance of potable water in the river basin of Amu-Darya. As a result about 18 million people will suffer from deficiency of water in the lower reaches of the river, the environmental and socioeconomic situation in the Aral Sea area will sharply impact.

Moreover, the area where Rogun HPS is to be constructed pertains to a category of earthquake-prone territories and a magnitude of earthquakes can reach 9 points or more by Richter scale. In case of a dam’s debacle 12 billion cubic meter of water in few seconds will direct to downstream area of Amu-Darya, bringing an irreparable loss, first of all to Tajikistan, then to Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Life of millions people, settlements and households, infrastructural and industrial sites will be under the threat. The largest failures have occurred recently in such dams as: Vajont (Italy), Yorstad, Furset (Norway) and other countries, that caused losses of thousand lifes and considerable damage to infrastructure and economy. On these failures the tsunami, caused by hills collapse, reached heights of 40-50 m. Tragic events in Japan in March of this year testify, that nature does not excuse our mistakes. Scientists believe that in future we should expect increase of similar failures on dams and sites due to climate change.

Scientists and experts, including internationally recognized, share our anxiety concerning consequences of building of Rogun HPS to nature and social environment. In the number of the European countries, for example, in Italy, Germany, France, knowing that large dams can result natural disasters, their construction has already been refused.

Is Mr. Stevenson, the member of the Committee of European Parliament on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, not aware about possible negative consequences of construction of enormous dams? Probably, during his two or three visits to the countries of Central Asia he has not managed to learn environmental problems of all five countries of the region properly. Did he take into consideration the opinion of millions inhabitants, whose conditions of life have worsened, first of all, because of building of the large hydro-power constructions that have created an intense environmental situation in downstream areas of the rivers?

It is also word to recall the address of Mr. Stevenson at the hearings in the European Parliament on “Ecocatastrophe of Aral Sea. Can we rescue the drying Sea?” held in October 12, 2010 in Brussels, where he has been a moderator Stevenson has called EU and the world community for assistance in solving of the Aral Sea catastrophe, naming it a “global problem”. Does Mr. Stevenson not really understand that building of Rogun HPS will become the serious factor that will aggravate the present situation in the Aral Sea area? So, where are logic, intelligence and integrity? 

We hope, that you and other members of the European Parliament will listen to voices of millions inhabitants of the Aral Sea area that are seriously anxious about possibility of further deterioration of situation owing construction of huge dams for hydropower generation on the upstream of the rivers that torture the Sea.

On behalf of environmentalists of Uzbekistan

Eco.uz, 22 June 2011

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