The statement described hydro-electric dams as "innovative practices" and "acknowledged the importance and implementation" of such projects, despite the criticism big dams have drawn from environmentalists for decades.
Diplomats close to negotiations on the document - released at the end of the 4th World Water Forum - said the dam clause had been inserted at the insistence of
Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment on that version.
The most noteworthy omission was the lack of any reference to private investment in water.
The final statement from the 2003
This year's declaration reflected anti-privatisation sentiments, which dominated the water forum, noting that "governments have the primary role in promoting improved access to safe drinking water".
Larger dams must be made more
On Wednesday in
Ernesto Cespedes, the director of global affairs for
A statement from the four dissenting nations, said: "We declare a profound concern regarding the possible negative impacts that international instruments such as free trade and investment agreements can have on water resources and reaffirm the sovereign right of every country to regulate water and all its uses."
However, the anti-privatisation victory at the forum may be more apparent than real.
Private firms have vastly increased their sales of bottled water in the developing world in recent years, in what some see as a "stealth" privatisation of water services in countries where the tap water is unsafe.
Critics said there had been a resurgence of lobbying at the forum to promote dams, led in large part by the World Bank, whose representatives appeared unfailingly at panel discussions to advocate that all countries build a "minimum platform of water infrastructure."
Annan: More people need to have
The pro-dam campaign argued that climate change will increase the need for dams.
Walter Erdelen, Unesco sub-director, said: "Many regions will likely need to increase water storage capacity in order to cope with climate change."
However, the UN World Water Development Report, also released on Wednesday recommends small dams instead of big ones - or at least making the larger projects more environmentally friendly.
Every day, 6000 people, most of them children, die from water-related causes.
The UN water report recommended government reforms in water management, including better salaries for water officials and more controls on potential corruption.
The water-forum declaration recommended expanding water services to reduce poverty and considering carefully the environmental, social and economic impacts of water projects.