Dam building activities in many countries, particularly developing countries, have been stalled for various reasons such as environmental considerations. The problems are site-specific and vary from country to country and region to region. As there is not enough time during the Annual Meeting and Congress of the international-commission-on-large-dams (ICOLD) to discuss such matters in the necessary detail, it was considered to be more beneficial if regional meetings were held. These would provide greater scope for interaction, enabling members to share experiences in order to solve similar problems in a cost-effective manner.

With the above in mind, the Asia Pacific Chapter of ICOLD National Committees was formed during the 66th Annual Meeting of ICOLD in November 1998 in New Delhi, India. The aims of the Asia Pacific Chapter in relation to dams in Asia are:

•To encourage improvement in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of large dams.

•To co-ordinate civil engineering works by bringing together relevant information.

•To study the technical, economic, financial, environmental and social aspects of dam building in the Asia Pacific region.

The Chapter’s aims will be achieved by:

•Exchanging information among ICOLD’s member countries.

•Holding executive, public or other meetings regularly.

•Organising and co-ordinating studies and experiments.

•Promoting seminars, symposia and conferences.

•Publishing proceedings, reports and documents.

The 12 founder members of the Asia Chapter are the ICOLD National Committees of India, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Membership is open to all the countries in the Asia Pacific region which share the objectives of the Chapter.

Issues to be discussed at this regional level include:

•Rehabilitation of existing dams.

•Environmental aspects.

•Dam safety.

•Raising finance for dam projects.

•RCC dams.

The Asia Pacific Chapter will co-operate with ICOLD and the European Club of ICOLD and does not engage in activities which are against the interest of the Commission. The governing council committee of the Asia Chapter will meet once a year during ICOLD’s annual meeting to plan and discuss its future activities. With its headquarters in the Indian ICOLD office in New Delhi, the governing council comprises Professor Zhang Jin Sheng from China (chairman); CVJ Varma from India (executive chairman); JT Phillips from Australia and Dr Toshio Fujii from Japan (vice chairmen); and ARG Rao from India (secretary).

European example

ICOLD’s Asian Club has followed in the footsteps of a successful example — the European Club, which came into operation in 1995. The Club began with six members — France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Membership has now grown to 15, and the latest recruit, Ireland, became a member at the 1998 ICOLD meeting in New Delhi.

It is customary for the European Club to meet once a year, at ICOLD or European symposia. Chairmanship of the Club changes annually, in alphabetical order, and the national committee chairman of ICOLD also acts as the Club chair. In 1999 the chair is Hans van Duivenduik of the Netherlands. The Secretaryship is supported by Spain, and at the New Delhi meeting Jose Gaztanaga of Iberdrola accepted a second three-year term as secretary.

The European Club is not a pressure group or political club, members insist, but a group of specialists. Its most important function is to allow members to learn from each other, and its second aim is to allow members to optimise their work. European dam owners and operators share some common constraints, the members point out, which can be dealt with effectively as a sub-group of ICOLD.

The Working Groups currently in operation reveal some of the Club’s concerns. They are currently considering:

•Floods. A report has been completed.

•Uplift. A report is due for submission.

•Legislation. This will be a permanent Group.

•Risk analysis.

•Internal erosion.

The Club’s work is intended to be directly relevant to its members, but can also offer support to the entire ICOLD membership. An example is the Club’s working group on geomembranes. The group has almost completed its work and the report has been circulated. Now the group will be preparing geomembrane and geotextile Bulletins to be provided to the ICOLD Committee on materials for fill dams.

New work under consideration includes reservoir de-silting, seismic stability, and dam break.

Members of the European Club

Austria Finland France Germany Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Portugal Romania Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey UK

Members of the Asian Chapter

Australia China India Japan Korea Indonesia Malaysia Nepal New Zealand Pakistan Thailand Sri Lanka.