ALMATY, February 13, 2013 – The third information-sharing and consultation meetings on the Assessment Studies for the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project took place on February 11-12, 2013 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The purpose of the meetings was to share the interim findings of the two ongoing Assessment Studies – the Techno-Economic Assessment Study and the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – with the governments and civil society of the Amu Darya Basin countries, and to get their feedback and comments. The Bank also briefed representatives of the donor organizations and diplomatic community in Central Asia on the latest findings of the assessments and the outcomes of the riparian information-sharing meetings.
The draft Hydrology Report and the draft Geological Investigations Report, which are two of the building blocks of the Techno-Economic Assessment Study, were presented for review and discussion. In addition to these reports, the meetings discussed updates of findings on seismicity, Vakhsh River Cascade simulations, site geology, layout of different dam height alternatives, and cost comparisons of resettlement and infrastructure for various dam height options.
“The questions and concerns expressed by participants during these meetings and in written comments are vital to a robust regional dialogue on the proposed Rogun project,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. “We are committed to an open, independent, and inclusive process of information-sharing that follows international quality standards. The studies will continue examining issues that pertain to public safety, dam height options, potential downstream impacts, and the technical and financial viability of the proposed Rogun dam – and we will continue making efforts to get all the stakeholders at the table.”
The meetings provided an opportunity for riparian governments and civil society representatives to interact with two international firms conducting the Techno-Economic Assessment Study (TEAS) and the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), with members of two independent Bank-funded Panels of Experts that are providing additional oversight to the studies, and with World Bank experts.
On February 11, riparian government representatives from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan had an open and productive discussion on various aspects of the proposed project and its potential impacts. Questions and comments from the riparian governments focused on the seismic safety, geological aspects such as tectonic faults, use of design criteria for estimating maximum credible earthquake and probable maximum flood, environmental needs downstream, sedimentation, and impact of climate change on river flows and flood regime. The experts confirmed that sufficient hydrological data is available for project feasibility and downstream impact analysis. In addition, there was a fruitful discussion on site layouts, various dam height alternatives, and the implications that the dam height could have on the cost of resettlement and infrastructure.
On February 12, more than 55 civil society organizations participated in the discussion by means of a video-conference between Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Kabul, and Tashkent. Discussing the issues of water flows and water management, the participants focused on the impact of the proposed dam on downstream flows as well as the impact of the climate change on water flows and filling of the proposed reservoir. Questions and comments on dam safety centered on the risks of potentially strong earthquakes in the proposed project area, the impact of the reservoir on seismicity, and the necessity to include all existing data and previous analysis in the assessments. After the presentations on the alternative dam heights, the participants discussed the impact of the proposed dam on biodiversity and protected territories downstream, potential changes in the level of groundwater, resettlement of the affected population, and impact on infrastructure around proposed project site.
“All materials discussed at these meetings are drafts; they present emerging results and are subject to change, partly in response to feedback from the riparian meetings”, said Mr. Jha. “It is important to clarify again that the Assessment Studies will not decide whether the proposed Rogun dam will be built, they will only serve as an input to decision-making. A variety of other factors such as international agreements and financing would need to be considered before the future of the proposed Rogun project is decided. The World Bank has made no financial commitment to support construction of the proposed dam.”
The Government of Tajikistan and the World Bank disclosed a number of draft documents in English and Russian three weeks before the 3rd riparian meetings. These documents and presentations made in Almaty are publicly available on the Bank’s website at www.worldbank.org/eca/rogun. Comments on the newly available documents and presentations will be accepted until March 4, 2013, via email (email@example.com) or can be mailed to the World Bank Country Offices.
The next round of riparian information-sharing and consultation meetings is planned for late summer 2013.
For more information about the Rogun Assessment Studies, visit: www.worldbank.org/eca/rogun
In Astana: Shynar Jetpissova, Tel: (7172) 580-555, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Dushanbe: Nigina Alieva, Tel: (992 48) 701 58 07, email@example.com
In Ashgabat: Oraz Sultanov, Tel: (993) 12 262099, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Bishkek: Dinara Akmatbekova, Tel: (996) 312 454040, email@example.com
In Tashkent: Matluba Mukhamedova, Tel: (998-71)-238-5950, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Washington: Heather Worley, Tel.: (202) 489 2736, email@example.com