Rivers in the Media

Blue Line

Serious water polluters in Taiwan could get life sentence under amended law

PUBLISHED: 27 JANUARY 2015   SOURCE: www.wantchinatimes.com; photo: Wang Hui-hsing, 2007

Taiwan's legislature approved amendments to the Water Pollution Control Act Thursday under which business owners convicted of causing death by illegally releasing toxic water or waste water can be given life sentences plus a fine of NT$30 million (US$1 million).


The amendments include provisions to protect whistleblowers, stop businesses from transferring properties and tracing culprit-owned properties to a third party to ensure that convicted polluters do not escape justice.


The toughened law comes after a public outcry over the small fine–just NT$600,000 (US$19,114)–slapped on Advanced Semiconductor Engineering in 2013 when the massive company was found to be dumping untreated waste water into a river in Kaohsiung.


Prior to the amendments, polluters were only liable for a maximum sentence of three years plus a fine of between NT$20,000 (US$637) and NT$1 million (US$31,900).


The revisions up maximum punishments for waste water discharge that causes illness or disease to seven years in prison plus a fine of NT$20 million (US$638,000).


If the pollution causes "severe injuries," the convicted party now faces three to ten years behind bars plus a fine of NT$25 million (US$796,400).


While polluters whose actions cause death could face seven years to life and a NT$30 million fine, agents or employees found responsible for assisting in the dumping of those pollutants will face fines 10 times that for their bosses–at NT$300 million (US$9.6 million).


Legislators made it a point that perpetrators must not profit from polluting the environment and harming people, adding a provision to the act to pay victims with illicit gains or otherwise have those profits confiscated.


The amendment also authorizes authorities to track down convicts' properties even if registered under a third party.


The Environmental Protection Administration under the Executive Yuan is charged with assessing and calculating the payout for each victim.


Whistleblowers in such cases are protected under the new amendments so that employers cannot lay them off, demote them or cut their pay.


To encourage employees to expose illegal activity by their employers, responsible government agencies will now also be required to set aside a budget for cash rewards given to whistleblowers.

The last major addition to the amended law is that confiscated profits and part of the fines levied on violators must go to a water pollution control fund, which allows the general public to join the campaign to monitor possible violations.

Dotted Line

LA River's flood role is paramount

PUBLISHED: 22 DECEMBER 2014   SOURCE: www.bbc.com

Any moves to modify the Los Angeles River, to return parts of it to a more natural setting or to capture water, need to be implemented with care.


Scientists say the key job of the concrete channel, which has featured in countless films and pop videos, is to protect the city from damaging floods.


And that role is likely to become more challenging if climate change brings heavier rains, they argue.

Alternatives to the river's current brutalism will not be easy to find.


"This is not a simple problem; it's not a matter, for example, of taking out half the concrete," said Bill Patzert from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


"One of the things the river attempts to do is to move water rapidly - the particular design, the angle, the slickness of concrete. It does that brilliantly.


"We've done something right through the middle of one of the most densely populated places in the world, and redesigning it is going to be very difficult."


Dr Paterzt and colleagues submitted an abstract on the topic to this year's American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.


They are conducting research that seeks a vision for a "greener" LA River.


The city has boxed itself into a very complex position.


On the one hand, its four-million-strong population requires a huge volume of water, 70% of which is imported from sources that include Northern California and the Colorado River.


And yet when rare, heavy rains fall on arid LA, most of that water is sent straight into the Pacific Ocean via the city's 2,500km of storm sewers and the famous 80km-long concrete conduit.


The river's flood-protection function was put into effect after catastrophic downpours in 1938, which resulted in more than a hundred fatalities and the destruction of over 5,600 buildings.


Since that time, the population of the megacity has boomed and there is now very little space to make modifications to the drainage system as it exists.

Dotted Line

First India Rivers Week held in Delhi

PUBLISHED: 15 DECEMBER 2014   SOURCE: indiatogether.org

The week of 24 to 27 November 2014 saw a unique gathering in New Delhi. Possibly for the first time in India, social activists, environmentalists, academics, researchers, project-affected people and  grassroots workers all came together to celebrate India’s rivers, and the role they play in  our society, economy and ecology. The gathering was called India Rivers Week (IRW), and was subtitled Rivers in Crisis.


While the reason to convene the Rivers Week may have been the crisis that faces our rivers, the gathering itself was a celebration of rivers, their contribution, and the many struggles and efforts to protect and conserve our rivers.  IRW was organised by the South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People (SANDRP), INTACH, Toxics Link, WWF and Peace Institute.


The Conference was inaugurated by a keynote delivered by well-known water expert and former secretary of the Central Water Resources Ministry, Shri Ramaswamy Iyer, while Shri Jairam Ramesh, former Minister for Environment and Forest was the chief guest. Minister for Water Resources, Sushri Uma Bharati delivered the valedictory address.


However, some of the most important discussions of the Conference took place between these two high profile events.


While it was not an academic conference, the IRW spent two days on extended deliberations on four key issues – What is a River (defining a river)? What are the essentials of a healthy river? What are the main threats to a river? Last but not the least, what would be a road map to river restoration?

While defining a river might sound trivial, in practice, it has serious legal and regulatory implications. Most of the time, a river is understood very narrowly – only as the water that flows through it. This leads to legally permitted interference in rivers like floodplain encroachment, embankments, the regulation of flows through dams etc.


The IRW deliberations came out with a holistic description of a river indicating that a river is much more than just water, that even the flow needs to be understood down to its constituents such as water, silt and sediment, nutrients; that the floodplains and many  channels entering the river are part and parcel of it; that the aquatic and terrestrial bio-diversity is an integral part of the river; and that a river performs many functions beyond the economic and commercial, including social, cultural, ecosystems and life support.  The IRW has recommended that laws to protect rivers be designed keeping this holistic understanding in mind.

Dotted Line

Oil spill on a Sundarbans river triggers environment concerns

PUBLISHED: 11 DECEMBER 2014   SOURCE: bdnews24.com


hey say 350,000 litres of furnace oil spilled in the river will cause serious ecological disaster in the biggest mangrove forest in the world.

Forest officials say oil from the tanker which sank early on Tuesday after being hit by another vessel spread around 20 kilometres of Shela River until the afternoon.

The situation was getting worse as the local government offices including the forest department and Mongla Port Authority had no tools to control or clean up the oil spill.

Sundarbans east region Divisional Forest Department official Amir Hussain Chowdhury told bdnews24.com: "The Mrigmari-Nandabala-Andharmanik dolphin sanctuary is facing serious threat due to the oil spill. The sanctuary may have to be moved."

The Sundarbans is the biggest roaming ground for this kind of dolphins, known as Irabati Dolphins or locally as Sushuk. The area adjacent to the Shela River has been declared sanctuary for the dolphins by the government.

Biodiversity and ecology researcher Pavel Partha told bdnews24.com: "The oil will reduce the amount of oxygen in the water. This will create a crisis for all the aquatic animals including the dolphins."


He was concerned that the plants and aquatic resources of the mangrove forest would be fatally harmed.

His concerns were also echoed by Khulna University's environmental science department Prof Dilip Kumar Dutta.

"This huge amount of oil on the water would heavily affect the coastal biodiversity for a long time," he said.


He said there was a slim chance that high and low tide would clean up the oil from that part of the river fast because water flow in the downstream was not strong.

Dotted Line

IRF Allumni News Feed

Blue Line
5 1

Contribute to our River News!

Blue Line

Would you like to write a story on something river related in your area?  To do so, send us an original article that is 500 words or less (.txt or .doc files only), upload a picture in jpeg format (max 2mg) and if we like it, we’ll post it on our site as well as send you out an IRF gift pack.

Select an article to upload.
Select an image to upload.


Blue Line
Archive 2015
Archive 2014
Archive 2013
Archive 2012
Archive 2011
Archive 2010

Privacy Statement

Blue Line

International Riverfoundation is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of personal information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect personal information in our care.

How do we collect personal information?
We may request information about you when you purchase or make enquires about our products and services; when you enter competitions or register for promotions or when you request brochures or other information. We may also collect information when we invite you to complete surveys or provide us with feedback.

What personal information do we collect?
We collect information that is required for use in the business activities of International Riverfoundation This may include: name; mailing address; e-mail; telephone number(s); financial details necessary in order to process various transactions and any other information you may elect to provide to us.

How do we use personal information?
We may use personal information to provide information and services. International Riverfoundation may use the information for related purposes such as:

Identification of fraud or error
Regulatory reporting and compliance
Internal accounting and administration
Servicing our relationship with our customers by, amongst other things, providing updates on promotions and services we think may interest you or to involve you in market research.

Is the information disclosed to third parties?
We may disclose information about individuals as permitted by law. We may share information with regulatory bodies and law enforcement officials, provide information to protect against fraud and share information with your consent.

Security of information
International Riverfoundation has implemented appropriate physical, electronic and managerial security procedures in order to protect personal information from loss, misuse, alteration or destruction. International Riverfoundation regularly reviews security and encryption technologies and will strive to protect information to the fullest extent possible.

Access and correction of personal information
We invite you to access and correct any personal information we may hold on you. To do this, you need to contact us by email at info@riverfoundation.org.auThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to make the necessary enquiries.

Should you no longer wish to receive information on services we think may be of interest to you , kindly email us at info@riverfoundation.org.auThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Linked Sites
Our website may contain links to other sites. International Riverfoundation is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements of any linked sites as their Privacy Policy may differ from ours.

Feedback & complaints
We welcome your inquiries or comments about our Privacy Policy. Should you have any comments or complaints please contact us at info@riverfoundation.org.auThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Changes to our privacy policy
From time to time it may be necessary for us to review and revise our privacy policy. We reserve the right to change our privacy policy at any time.


Terms of Use

Blue Line

This website is owned and operated by International RiverFoundation.

Use of this website is subject to the terms of use.

International RiverFoundation is not liable to you or any other for any loss in connection with the use of this website or a linked website. This general disclaimer is not restricted or modified by any of the following specific warnings and disclaimers. Please read the full terms of use.
Please note: International RiverFoundation reserves the right to amend the terms of use at any time. However, since you are bound by these terms of use,  you should periodically refer to them.



General Disclaimer

International RiverFoundation is not liable to you or anyone else for any loss in connection with use of this website or a linked website. This general disclaimer is not restricted or modified by any of the following specific warnings or disclaimers.
Specific Warnings and Disclaimers

The Trade Practices Act and similar State and Territory legislation in Australia may confer rights and remedies on you in relation to the provision by us of goods or services on the Website, which cannot be excluded, restricted or modified. We do not exclude these rights but do exclude all other conditions and warranties implied by custom, law or statute.

We are not liable to you or anyone else if interference with or damage to your computer systems occurs in connection with use of this website or a linked website. You must take your own precautions to ensure that whatever you select for your use from this website is free of viruses or anything else (such as worms or trojan horses) that may interfere with or damage the operations of your computer systems. We do not warrant that your access to the website will be uninterrupted or error free or that any defects will be corrected.

We may, from time to time, change or add to this website (including these terms of use) or the information, products and services without notice. However, we do not undertake to keep this website updated. We are not liable to you or anyone else if errors occur in the information on this website or if that information is not up-to-date.

Under no circumstances (including but not limited to any act or omission on the part of International RiverFoundation) will International RiverFoundation be liable for any indirect, incidental, special and/or consequential damages or loss of profits whatsoever which result from any use or access of, or any inability to use or access, the website.

In these terms of use, certain words (particularly capitalised ones) may have special meanings. If they do these special meanings are set out in the "General" section.

The terms of use are effective until terminated by International RiverFoundation and International RiverFoundation may terminate this agreement and your access to the website at any time without notice. In the event of termination you are no longer authorised to access the website, but all restrictions imposed on you and all disclaimers and limitations of liability set out in the terms of use will survive.


This website is our copyright property. You are provided with access to it only for your personal and non-commercial use. Other than for the purposes of and subject to the conditions prescribed under the Copyright Act 1968 or any other applicable legislation throughout the world, you may not, in any form or by any means:  
•    Adapt, reproduce, store, distribute, transmit, print, display, perform, publish or create derivative works from any part of this website; or
•    Commercialise any information, products or services obtained from any part of this Website without our written permission.


International RiverFoundation products and services referred to in this website are trade marks of International RiverFoundation. Other product and company names mentioned in this website may be the trade marks of other people or entities. Nothing contained in the website should be construed as granting any licence or right of use of any trade mark or part of any trade mark displayed on the website without the written permission of International RiverFoundation or third party owner.


This website may contain links to linked websites. Those links are provided for convenience only and may not remain current or be maintained. Links to those websites should not be construed as any endorsement, approval, recommendation or preference by us of the owners or operators of the sites, or of any information, products or services referred to on those other sites unless specifically stated. Unless otherwise stated the linked websites are not under the control of International RiverFoundation and International RiverFoundation is not responsible for the contents of any linked website. You link to any such website at your own risk.


In this website:

"IRF" means International RiverFoundation unless otherwise specified.

"linked websites" means websites of persons or entities other than International RiverFoundation which are hyperlinked from this website.

"Personal Information" means any information from which your identity is apparent or can be reasonably be ascertained.

"website" means the whole or any part of the web pages located at www.RiverFoundation.org.au (including the lay-out of this website, individual elements of the website design, underlying code elements of this website, or text, sounds, graphics, animated elements or any other content of this website.)
"We" and "us" refer to International RiverFoundation, and "our" has the same meaning.

These terms of use are governed by the laws in force in Queensland, Australia and you irrevocably and unconditionally submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Queensland, Australia and any courts which may hear appeals from those courts.

Nothing contained in these terms of use derogates from International RiverFoundation right to comply with law enforcement requests or requirements relating to your use of this website or information provided to or gathered by International RiverFoundation with respect to that use.

© 2007-2010 International RiverFoundation
All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without consent.


Online Contact Form

Blue Line

To send us a message, please fill in the required field (*), then press the submit button.  The subject and/or message fields may be prepopulated with information pertaining to your enquiry.


(Title Dynamically Inserted)

(Player HTML Dynamically Inserted)
(Caption Dynamically Inserted)

(Dynamically Inserted)

Blue Line

IRF eNewsletter Subscription

Blue Line

Thank you for your interest in subscribing to our eNewsletter.  Please take the time to fill in a couple more bits of information so we know a little bit more about you.  All your information remains secure and private for our records only.

Please also put me in the Riverprize
marketing database

Apply Online

Blue Line

In order to begin the online application process, please fill out some simple details for us and select which application you'd like to complete. Text fields with asterisks are mandatory. You will then be emailed a secure link to your online application form which you can access at any time.

Note: When your country is chosen a list of available contests for which you are eligible will be presented.

We're Sorry! There are no Riverprizes currently open for your country at this time. Please contact us regarding Riverprize opening dates.