An update for those who are interested in the dam proposed for the Batoka Gorge section of the Zambezi River:
We had a meeting recently with a company called Environmental Resources Management (ERM) who are doing the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Batoka Gorge Dam on the Zambezi.
The situation is as follows:
- The dam wall will be built 47km downstream of the falls
- It will be 181m high and when the dam is full the water would reach all the way to the last pool before the falls – ie ALL the one day rafting and more would be under water.
- It will take 2 years to build the roads and workers camps and then 7 years to build the dam.
- At the moment the Scoping part of the ESIA has been completed and they are now working on the Baseline Data Gathering and then they must do the Impact Assessment and then the ESIA is ready to be presented. They think this will only be finished earliest about June.
- The IRF sent questions in on behalf of the IRF during the scoping phase (see Batoka Gorge Dam – 18 Nov 2014) – this was the same as the African Paddling Association letter) and so these questions MUST be answered in the ESIA.
- From our meeting we felt these people are approaching this in a professional and very thorough way. Having said that, we were able to open their eyes to a number of issues that they were not aware of and which they duly noted to include in their research.
- One of the things we pushed with them was that this project has huge international interest and so should be directed that way or it would not be a thorough, complete study. They have agreed to work with us and International Rivers to get news out of meetings and questionnaires, etc when data gathering.
- The World Bank has funded the ESIA ONLY. There is no funding available yet for the building of the dam and the funding will most likely depend on the outcome of the ESIA.
So – it is REALLY, REALLY important that when this company do start requesting input from the public that we get everyone around the world to participate! We’re not sure when this will be but it will be some time in Dec or Jan.
There’s no way we can let them do this dam – but it will take a concerted effort at times from all of us, especially those of us that have access to large numbers of people through social media, to get them to respond at the right time and in a consolidated way that has the right impact.
Please spread the word.
Anyone that has any other questions please feel free to ask.
Other links –
Skål International announces Rios Tropicales, Costa Rica’s leading adventure company, as the
winner of its 2014 Sustainable Tourism Award in the category of Tour Operators.
What began in 1985 as a simple dream to pursue a love of paddling, provide jobs for fellow Costa Ricans and support rainforest land protection developed into Rios Tropicales, Costa Rica’s award-winning adventure company and geotourism leader. Skål International’s 2014 Sustainable Tourism Awards follows an evaluation carried out by three independent judges with scores summed at the Skål Secretariat. The project getting the highest score is declared winner in the respective category. “We’re honored to receive this award recognizing our consistent programs and principles that support replicable, community-driven, sustainable tourism,” says Rios Tropicales President and Cofounder Rafael Gallo. Description of the project.
Rios Tropicales runs its adventure company with a foundation of sustainability principles that benefit all its stakeholders: employees, local communities, tourists and the environment. One of its signature projects, involving the nearby village of El Tigre, exemplifies how Rios Tropicales engages with the local community and environment, and innovates with private-public funding partnerships to promote sustainability and conservation.
The El Tigre South-South Project is an international collaboration between the Republic of Costa Rica and the Kingdom of the Bhutan, involving the rural community of El Tigre, and the newly created Association of Bhutanese Outfitters. The South-South project transformed El Tigre into a sustainable community tourism destination, providing income, jobs, education, while prioritizing conservation and protection of the fragile rainforest environment. For more information, watch the El Tigre mini-documentary video:
The following quotations from the Skål international judges illustrate why Rios Tropicales won this honor:
“Rios Tropicales is an international best-practice model for how adventure ecotourism can be used as a tool of education, conservation, community empowerment and sustainable rural development.”
“A true model of community development for sustainable tourism that is long-term and replicable.”
“…development of tourism clusters and adventure routes as a tool to support and empower the local community to develop their own tourism initiatives is highly commendable.”
The winners were announced and honored at the 75th Skål World Congress, held in Mexico City on Sunday, October 26, 2014.
About Rios Tropicales
Rios Tropicales, founded in 1985, offers sustainable adventure tourism packages in Costa Rica to travel agencies and individuals within the country and around the world. Rios Tropicales operates throughout Costa Rica offering adventure activities that allow tourists to see Costa Rica’s natural richness, such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, cycling, cultural encounters and wildlife tours.
About Skål International
Skål International is the only professional organization promoting global tourism and friendship. It is also the only international group uniting all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. Skål has 17,000 members in 400 clubs in 87 countries. www.skal.org
If you use the rivers for your fun and sport and yet on the other hand you do not take care to conserve and not to pollute water – that would be hypocritical.
Are we doing everything to keep our waters clean and safe, are we always acting responsibly? This is not just about our behaviour on the rivers, but also off the rivers and back home. On the one hand, we worry about whether everything we have taken to the river will be taken back with us and what we shouldn’t even take to the river in the first place, but then back in our homes are we considering the water we are using for our modern way of life?
So the message I want to bring to you is: Every drop counts!
The river you choose to paddle is most likely not polluted, but have you thought about the other rivers in your area? Has industry been kept away from some rivers (which you now enjoy) but others are being destroyed because of it? We often lose sight of those rivers, the ones that get sacrificed so we can have our modern life styles which put great demands on industry and hence on our environment.
Every drop counts!
Many of us leap at the chance to judge others on what they are doing to the rivers and are quick to sign petitions that want to protect rivers. But how many actually make it a part of their every day life to conserve, protect and recycle water where possible and so have a right to attack others for not doing it?Are we simply hypocrites?
Do not forget: Every drop counts!
The products we use every day need tons of water to be produced. We use enormous amounts of water every day for drinking, cooking, washing ourselves, our possessions and for flushing in the bathrooms. It was only during recent water shortages when I was forced to fetch water in containers for our daily lives I became very aware of how much water we consume each day!
Some of those who attended the 2011 WRC in Costa Rica complained about various aspects of the event, but nature did not complain! That event was certified as the first carbon neutral world sports event ever! And that is no small task and is one we should be extremely proud of.
Water – every 20 seconds a child in the world dies as a result of technically defective water, 1.5 million annually!!!
Spending = Polluting!
Water used for every products –
- approximately 9 5 litres of water is used in the process of refining and 4 litres of gasoline.
- For the production of one piece of A4-paper 10 litres of water is used.
- 2650 litres of water for one new cotton shirt.
- Production processes of alcoholic drinks and beverages use a lot of water. For production of glass of beer is used 75 litres of water, for glass of wine is used about 120 litres and for cup of coffee 140 litres. If you choose to drink orange juice than you should know that for growing a single orange is used about 50 litres of water and for production of 1 litre of juice is used 1200 litres of water.
- During the growing of a 1 kg of potatoes is used 500 litres water and for production of 1 kg of rice is used 1900 litres of water.
- If you want to eat chicken you should know that during the growing of a chicken used is 1500 litres water, production of 1 kg of chicken meat needs 3500 litres water and for production of an egg is used 500 litres of water.
- A dairy cow must drink 15 litres water to produce one gallon (3.78 litres) of milk. If you eat beef than be aware that 10,000 litres of water are used for production and it if you choose a burger amount of water used is 2400 litres.
- It takes around 6800 litres of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of regular ol ‘blue jeans. Not as bad as jeans, it still takes a whopping 1500 gallons of water to grow the cotton required for an ordinary cotton shirt. Production of a pair of jeans uses 8000 litres water and production of one t-shirt uses 2700 litres.
- About 95 litres of water is used to manufacture a plastic bottle and about 40 litres for aluminium can.
- It takes an estimated 148,000 litres of water to make a car. It’s unclear if that includes the 7600 litres used to make its tires.
I could go on and on but I just wanted to make a point and to remind you to rethink about some things – have we really raised the standard to a higher level? Or have we just sunk a little lower?
So next time you are ready to protest someone’s actions, remember that you need to keep your head up too and to try alter your lifestyle so as to minimise your own contribution to polluting the water.
I’m not saying this because I am an angel, I too forget about all this and do not give my best to prevent excessive pollution. But I am trying and hope that I will steadily improve at it and I hope to encourage more of you to improve as well. “Let only those who are not sinful throw stones.”
I hope this little prompt will encourage at least some of you to make those baby steps in the right direction.
For those who prefer a visual picture of why we need to do this …
At our last Congress, the IRF decided to set aside 12 July to be World Rafting Day. And here are some of the ways that this day was celebrated in Serbia, Iran, New Zealand and the USA.
Drina Regatta – Serbia
This regatta gathers together a large number of fans of the river and of World Rafting Day.
Bad weather conditions did not dampen the spirit of the many lovers of the Drina River who came together again to participate in the Drina Regatta which this year, was held on World Rafting Day. A large number of water sports lovers gathered on this beautiful river to paddle down stream from Rogacica to Ljubovija, a distance of 40 km. The regatta was sponsored by the Serbian Rafting Federation and the hosts were Ljubovija rafting club “Drinska regatta”.
The race was started by the firing of the cannon that “pirates from Ladjevci” brought to Ljubovija for many years. This year the race was opened by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Sports, Nenad Borovčanin. He enjoyed the “flood of optimism, good mood and joy” so much he decided to stay for the full event. A video of the opening of this year’s race is HERE.
Serbian Rafting Federation President, Boris Purjakov, thanked Rafting Club “Drinska regatta” which, he says, has a decade and a half of experience in organizing this event which, unfortunately, Serbia is not yet aware of. “We are working to make this day declared the international day of rafting, and the central event will be held here in Serbia. It is a great honour for us and we want to show that we can gather more than 10,000 people, which has not been done any where else in the world.” said Purjakov. Video here.
Head of the Iranian Rafting Association, Kianoosh Mehrabi said “As a member of international rafting family, we celebrated “World Rafting Day” with the first ever “Moonlight Rafting” in Iran. Our program started in the small hours on the 12 July 2014 with the slogan “Eco-Rafting – to care about Nature and Local People”
This was our plan:-
- Pre-Opening: Safety briefing (11 July 11:30 am)
- Opening: Night Rafting (under moon light on the beginning of 12 July, 00:01 am)
- Lecture by the Province Head of Tourism, Head of Iran Rafting Association (8:30-9 am)
- Training villagers (morning 9:30-11:30 am)
- Rafting for the province Tourism Organization managers and employees and other local organizations-To become familiar with Eco-Rafting and meet the villagers (12 am-2 pm)
- River Swimming Competition for villagers (3-3:30 pm)
- Rafting Competition for villagers- Sprint (4-4:30 pm)
- Workshops for villagers (5-6:30 pm):
- Conserving nature
- Rafting and Employment
- Importance of Safety
One of the advantages in New Zealand is that some of their rivers are geothermally warmed and so are at quite a nice temperature even though it is winter! So they took to the rivers and had some fun on World Rafting Day:
Here is a great photo album of the day.
And here are two videos of rafting on the River Tarawera on World Rafting Day.
American Whitewater – a non-profit organisation which has been “Saving Rivers Since 1954” and whose mission statement is: “American Whitewater restores rivers dewatered by hydropower dams, eliminates water degradation, improves public land management and protects public access to rivers for responsible recreational use.” was also promoting World Rafting Day and this is what they had to say on the 12 of July:
“Today is World Rafting Day! Whatever your choice of craft, get out there, enjoy a river and have a great weekend!
Remember to post your adventuring photos with #MeetTheMoment and Clif Bar will donate $1 to AW each time you do!”
Many of the Euro countries were, understandably, too busy with Euro Champs to have focussed on making this a big occasion – we hope that next year we will see a bigger response from all our member federations and from companies, guides and everyone out there who loves rafting!
The IRF came to the decision that the World Rafting Day should be celebrated each year on the second Saturday in the month of July. This year, that date is July 12th, and we wish for it to be acknowledged on all rivers that participate in rafting.
Celebrating World Rafting Day can be done in numerous ways, such as lectures, video presentations, media appearances, etc., as it is here that our creativity and passion will best be seen.
It is especially our wish to have a large number of participants at these events, and the largest event will receive a special prize. We are inviting all those interested in participating in these events, and for them to first post their ideas and afterwards event reports on the IRF Facebook page wall.
It is our wish to utilize this day in order to promote rafting both as a sport, as well as as a healthy way of spending time in nature with friends and promoting ecological awareness, in the best method possible.
Best wishes to you all,
“This year is surprisingly rich with natural calamities!” says Oleg Grigoriev of the Russian Rafting Federation. “The Altay region is now suffering the most severe floods since 1969. Many towns along the lower Katun River are covered with water.
The biggest city of the region, Biisk, has become like Venice and a wave of water is moving down to Barnaul – the capitol of the Region.
Most of rafters are out there working with the rescue teams.”
See the photo gallery of these teams in the flooded regions.
504 km is a very long rafting regatta!!! The two rivers of Vrbas and Sava linked the two cities of Banja Luka, BiH and Belgrade, Serbia through this amazing regatta which lasted from the 23rd September to the 6th October.
The technical organizers of the regatta were Rafting Klub “Kanjon” from Banja Luka and Nauticki Klub “Liman” from Belgrade; supported by the Rafting Federation of Serbia and Canoe-Kayak and Rafting Federation of Republica Srpska; and the tourism organisations of Belgrade and Banja Luka. The project was supported by the Office of the Republic Srpska in Serbia and the General Consulate of Serbia in Banja Luka, BiH.
The aim of this first regattas, which next year will become an international tradition, was the establishment of new rafting clubs and the promotion of river tourism in all the municipalities along the route of the regatta. It was also to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the ecology of the river, to work on the promotion of other nautical disputes and to connect the people living along these rivers. During the race all the local communities that gravitated towards the River Vrbas and Sava were actively involved in the event, which contributed to the popularization of the sport of rafting.
To be able to show people what rivers can provide, for these rafters it was not a problem to paddle 504km over 14 days! They were led by Aleksandar Pastir, well known to many of us, organizer of Euro Champs 2005, World Rafting Champs 2009 and the R6 Euro Champs 2014! That’s why we talked to him to get a better understanding of this venture aimed at the development of rafting and more.
This is an amazing thing that you have done over these past 14 days – what was the response like and were new clubs formed that will take part in this regatta next year?
“In the name of the IRF we are promoting rafting and our biggest goal is to establish new clubs and promoting rafting which we managed to do very well in these regions along the river.
In every city, we had a welcoming club and so this is how we started from the head of the rivers Vrbas and Sava. There we were greeted by the Mayor and Diving Klub “Gnjurac”, and on to the city Brod where we were greeted by Kayak Klub “Premium”, in the city Brcko – Kayak and Canoe Kluba “Hariz Suljic”; and newly established Klub “Semberija” from the city Bijeljine. In Sr.Mitrovica we were greeted by the group of boaters and anglers “Zlatna ribica”. In the city of Obrenovac / Zabrezje we were greeted by Kayak Canoe Klub “Zabrezje” and the rafting team of Serbia. On the last stage we were greeted by every rafting club from Serbia who paddled with us into Belgrade. In each municipality we were greeted by media and representatives of the municipalities.”
He also added that next year the regatta will start from Slovenia and Croatia as well as Bosnia and Serbia. To understand this we have to explain that the river Sava flows in Slovenia and then through Croatia into BiH and on into Serbia. Midway the Vrbas River, which starts in BiH, flows into the Sava River. So the regatta next year will, remarkably, be an even bigger undertaking. Everyone will start from their countries and promote rafting to all the places where the Sava River flows past and all the way to where it flows into the Danube in Belgrade. There is no doubt that this promotion of rafting along these two rivers will not be hard for these lovers of rafting.
Aleksandar Pastir pointed out that this is a great and unusual sporting venture, as they daily paddled stages of 30 to 60 kilometers! I must mention that it was all on flat water which makes this project even more amazing, and that in this race were two brave rafting girls who participated: Milena Kolobaric and Irene Karlas.
Milena – when you two started on this venture, I’m sure that you were not aware of what it really meant to paddle 500km, but what did you think would be the most difficult moments, and what were they actually? What are your overall impressions?
“No, we were not aware of how much we would be paddling. Uh, we were faced with various challenges: rain, head winds, low temperatures; 4-5 days in a row paddling 56, 52, 49, 53 km; 14 days on the water and away from civilization is an invaluable experience. At the end you realize how mentally strong you actually are when you are focused on a great goal. You appreciate yourself more and reach for greater challenges.The crowning moment was when we paddled in the dark with the sky full of stars and the moon leading our way. There is also the bonus of making new friends and the creation of new clubs … invaluable…”
Of course all this would not be possible without sponsors. Aleksandar, who are the sponsors you’d like to thank?
“The Main Sponsors are: “M:Tel”, “Samsung” and “Hemofarm“
We know that many towns that lie on the flat water do not see the potential of rafting, which is a big mistake. This is definitely one of the ways that this concept can be changed. Many of the top teams do training work on the flat water. Teams from Holland, Hungary, Denmark – countries with flat water – bring medals back from international rafting competitions and promote the places from which they come, and their countries. It will be very nice to see all these new clubs participating in the European and World rafting scenes. We welcome them warmly and congratulate the organizers and participants of this great regatta.
Facebook page – Regata-Banjaluka-Beograd
Article by Nada
The International Rafting Federation delivers the first certified carbon neutral World Sports Event with the Costa Rica 2011 World Rafting Championships. This article explains how they did it. A model for the world.
Costa Rica raises the bar in global sustainable environmental initiatives once again. The World Rafting Championships (WRC), held October 4-11, 2011 in Costa Rica, is the first ever Certified Carbon Neutral world championship sporting event. EARTH University certified Costa Rica’s WRC as Carbon Neutral as a direct result of the leadership of the International Rafting Federation and Rios Tropicales , along with a team of Costa Rican host sponsors, communities, and organizations, including Turrialba Chamber of Tourism, and The Costa Rica Paddle and Adventure Association.
The organizers of the 2011 WRC realized they could successfully deliver a first-ever Carbon Neutral event, with over 600 participating athletes from 35 countries in the host country Costa Rica. They contacted the Carbon Neutral Commission of EARTH University to plan how to certify the seven day event. Event certification efforts were led by Rafael Gallo, who has transformed Rios Tropicales into Costa Rica’s top geotourism adventure company and sustainability advocate – and owner/manager of Costa Rica’s largest private native rainforest reserve for carbon mitigation.
“We saw the perfect opportunity to make our environmental stewardship ideals real when the World Rafting Championships came to Costa Rica in 2011. Costa Rica has the knowledge, systems, people, and product in place to be able to develop and host a certified Carbon Neutral International Sports event.” said Mr. Gallo
To achieve carbon neutrality, Costa Rica had to remove, reduce, or compensate for 100% of the total carbon emissions associated with the 2011 World Championships. Event organizers used the GHG Protocol (Greenhouse Gas protocol) to measure the total carbon footprint, including the indirect impact of all participants’ international flights to/from the event. The total event “footprint” came to over 1,000 tons of CO2. Organizers reduced fossil fuel consumption through centralized participants’ housing, sourcing local food and products, waste recycling, organic matter composting, and solar energy. Over 250 international athletes planted 3,000 native tree species in a 5.5 acre (2.2 hectare) deforested area of Costa Rica’s rainforest on Oct 7th, 2012. These seedlings will absorb carbon and generate oxygen over a 15-year period to mitigate for all remaining event carbon emissions.
“The oxygen generated from the trees we planted in Costa Rica will eventually reach us in Norway“, says the Norwegian Womens Rafting Championship Team.
Dr. Edmundo Castro, Director of the Neutral Carbon Program at Costa Rica’s EARTH University, verified and validated the event’s actions. Carbon Neutral Certification was awarded in a ceremony after the tree planting work in one of Rios Tropicales Natural Reserves, to the enthusiastic applause of over 250 participants from Japan, Canada, Norway, Chile, Slovenia, Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries.
“By thoroughly inventorying all carbon emissions associated with the planning, and operation of this event, IRF was able to then reduce and mitigate 100% of the event’s carbon impact, thus becoming the very first Certified Carbon Neutral World Sporting Championship in modern history.” said Dr Castro.
The lessons learned at 2011WRC in Costa Rica went around the world. A total of 48 teams from 35 different countries participated in the Costa Rica WRC 2011, and took the knowledge shared on recycling , composting , solar energy, local sourcing, and tree planting mitigations back to their home countries.
For more information about carbon neutrality and certification standards, visit EARTH University (Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda)
Oregon Raft Team will be participating in the “We Love Clean Rivers” clean up campaign which in partnership with Clackamas River Basin Council, hosts the 10th Annual Down the River Clean Up on the Clackamas – SUNDAY, SEPT 9th.
This is a 15-mile, on-river clean up made possible by a rich network of river recreationalists and a strong NW community that joins together on drift boats, kayaks, rafts, tubes and even with SCUBA gear, to scour the banks and river bottom for trash!
Attracting over 400 people, and typically cleaning out 3 to 4 TONS of trash from the river, this is a great initiative that hopefully many other teams and rafters will follow!
Investigation by deputies points to government interference as driving force behind approval.
A congressional committee formed to investigate the Environmental Impact Assessment for the HidroAysén dam project released a report Wednesday identifying a number of “anomalies and irregularities” in the approval process.Read full article by Steve Shea in the Santiago Times