The Gifu district court in Japan, has rejected two lawsuits filed by activists opposed to the Tokuyama dam project in Gifu prefecture.

One of the suits opposed the expropriation of land for the dam site, while the second suit sought an injunction on Gifu prefecture to prevent it from shouldering the cost of the construction. The lawsuits argued that the dam was not necessary, as the area already has an oversupply of water. The plaintiffs argued that the amount of water needed in the area for domestic and industrial use was not increasing, and that the dam would have only a limited role in flood control while its construction would damage the environment.

Handing down the ruling, the court ruled that the dam would benefit the public and there was a need for municipalities to ensure they had enough water for their residents in the long term. The court, while ruling in favor of the government and prefecture authorities, also urged the government-affiliated Japan Water Agency, which is promoting the project, to swiftly review its water supply projections and resolve such issues as the excess supply of water in the near term and how the cost of the dam’s construction should be met. After the ruling, the agency said it aimed to complete the dam in fiscal 2007.

Dawson river dam halted

The green movement has won a federal law suit to halt the construction of the US$116M Nathan dam on the Dawson river, in central Queensland, Australia.

The Australian federal court has ruled that more studies of the dam’s impact on the downstream area, including the Great Barrier Reef, are needed. Proponents of the dam said it would have little impact on the Great Barrier Reef, as it is at least 300km from the coast. The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) and World Wide Fund for Nature took legal action against the Australian federal government under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act, which requires specific impact studies on World Heritage sites such as the Great Barrier Reef. The QCC says the proposed 880,000Ml dam cannot proceed until such studies mandated by the courts are done. A spokesperson for Federal Environment Minister David said the government would consider the judgement in detail before making an announcement on the Nathan dam’s future.