Damning disclosure

a proposal to dam the Tigris river in Turkey could pose a serious threat to the environment and for human health. This warning was given in an environmental impact assessment commissioned by the uk government.

The Ilisu dam is a key feature of a massive regional development programme for the country. It will generate hydroelectricity. But the assessment, by a team of independent consultants, warns that nitrogen and phosphorus in fertiliser washing from up to 500,000 hectares of irrigated fields will feed the growth of toxic algae in the reservoir. The pollution is likely to cause a serious eutrophication of the Ilisu reservoir.

The assessment also warns of serious repercussions for people living downstream. It says that during the filling of the reservoir, water shortages downstream might have a dramatic effect not only for people but also for ecosystems. The turbines of the dam will be opened and closed several times a day, causing sudden changes in temperature and dissolved oxygen downstream, as well as rapid flow changes. This could affect the fish species.

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