Petitions submitted against Yanba dam

More than 5,000 people from six prefectures in the Kanto region separately petitioned auditing committees of each prefectural government Friday to halt the expenditure of public money for the Yanba dam project in Gunma Prefecture.

According to the petition, the estimated cost of building the Yanba dam was raised to 460 billion yen in November from an initial estimate of 211 billion yen. Together with ancillary projects associated with the dam, the total cost is now estimated at 580 billion yen.

Under a burden-sharing formula, the six prefectures of Tokyo, Gunma, Chiba, Tochigi, Saitama and Ibaraki are expected to pay 250 billion yen for the entire project, which is being undertaken by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry.

The petitioners in the six prefectures — mostly members of civic groups — say that building a new dam, designed to provide a supply of tap water, is unnecessary because there are plenty of water sources in the region.

The petition also points out that the population in the greater Tokyo area will peak around 2015 before beginning to decline, thereby reducing the water supply demands of the region.

It says that spending public money for such a project is “illegal.”