Natures Crisis As A Facilitator For Expanding The Resource Base

The decision to construct a dam at Evinos River was the second of the Emergency Measures that was implemented as a response to the drought crisis in Athens. The Evinos River is situated in the Aetoloakarnania region, 250 km away from Athens. The project proposal included the construction of a dam, 100 m in height with a capacity of 130 million m3, as well as the construction of a 30-km-long channel that would transport water from the dam to the city's main reservoir (Mornos) and feed it from there into the existing network. It was estimated that the project would supplement the Mornos Reservoir with 50-120 million m3 of water per year and cover the city's water needs until the year 2020 (YnEXQAE 1990b). The cost of the project was initially estimated at 55 billion dr. (€160.8 million), and 85 percent of the total investment cost was funded through EU Cohesion Funds.

The project embodied the continuation of modern Fordist development schemes and the associated large-scale transformation of nature's water, a process that started in earnest in Greece with the construction of the Marathon Dam in 1925 (see Kaika 2005) and became an important part of Greece's postwar urban planning and development (Emmanouil 1985; Getimis 1994; Panayiotatou 1990). However, the contemporary rise in environmental awareness means that dam constructions are no longer objects of public veneration, and social consensus in favour of their construction requires more than mere references to "progress" (Roy 1999; Topping 1995). In what follows, I shall examine the mechanism through which public consensus was built around the construction of the Evinos Dam. I shall argue that public acceptance of the project was fabricated through the combination of a threat and a promise: the threat of a pending "natural disaster" and of further increases in water prices, and the promise for development and economic growth that the new dam project would bring.

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