Located on the Danube River between Slovakia and Hungary, the Esztergom Dam is part of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Barrage System designed to provide flood control and hydroelectric power to both countries. The dam has been the target of protests by environmentalists almost since work began in 1984 and construction was halted several times during the late 1980's while additional studies were performed to assess the impact of the dam and power station on local ecosystems. In 1994 the Slovakian government took matters into its own hands and unilaterally decided to divert the flow of a 40-km stretch of the Danube into its own territory so that construction might proceed. The dispute between the two countries has been taken to the International Court at The Hague, but in the meantime the dam has gone into operation. According to experts, the impact of Esztergom upon the local environment has been considerable: increased silting, destruction of nearby forest habitats, and a severe drop in fish populations. As a result, the removal on Esztergom is high on the agenda of many European environmentalist organizations.