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  • Diverting the Mekong River into Thailand: The Khong-Loei-Chi-Mun project

    06/07/2016

    Extensive irrigated agriculture in Northeast Thailand has long been a dream of the Royal Irrigation Department (RID). Over the decades, various visions have been expounded but never fulfilled, including the Green Isan Project in the early 1980s, the Khong-Chi-Mun Project in the late 1980s and 1990s, and the Water Grid Project in the early 2000s. Local communities and civil society have often challenged these projects, questioning the project’s economics and potential environmental and social impacts.

    Recently, the RID has reinvigorated its irrigation plans through the “Mekong-Loei-Chi-Mun River Management and Diversion by Gravity in the Northeast” project. It entails diverting water from the Mekong River’s mainstream into the Loei River in Northeastern Thailand, which would then be connected via tunnels to the Chi and Mun Rivers.

  • Mekong Drought and Water War

    06/07/2016

    Klang Village is located next to Loei river of Loei province, Thailand. In this area, there will be a project name Kong – Loei- Chi-Mun. This project aims to storage water for Thailand by dredging the Loei River further 5m deeply and spreading 250m wide of Loei estuaries. In addition, around 24 tunnels will be constructed at the bottom of the Loei river so there will more water volume from Mekong river flowing into Loei river, then to Chi and Mun river that help keep water for dry season in Thailand.

    The head of Klang Village, Ms Sorarat Kaeswsa worried that if the river bottom is dredged, then there will be no fish anymore for their livelihoods. For many years their life has been based on this Loei river. The project director with the Thailand irrigation department, Ms Chawee Wongprasittiporn, said that the project will construct 1 to 2 tunnels first to see how water flows from the Mekong River to Loei River. Then they will decide about continuing construction or revising the plan.

  • A Thirsty Mekong Delta

    06/04/2016

    Located at the end of the Mekong River basin, the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is currently experiencing the most severe drought and salinity intrusion in 100 years.

    According to experts, the principal reason is development activities in GMS countries related to the use of the Mekong River’s water resources, including the operation and construction of mega-dams along the river as well as water diversion for agricultural purposes.

  • Loose management of FDI blamed for environmental disasters

    05/27/2016

    The mass fish deaths in the central provinces in April were believed to be caused by untreated waste water from Taiwanese Formosa’s plant have once again raised public anger.

    Eight years ago, the public was stunned by the discovery that Vedan, also a foreign invested enterprise, discharged untreated waste water, turning the Thi Vai River in Dong Nai province into a dead river. The polluter then had to pay VND119 billion in compensation for the damages it caused to aquaculture.

  • Plan continues for waterway transport system and hydropower on Red River

    05/23/2016

    Vietnam’s Ministry of Investment and Planning (MPI) received the requirement for approval the investment project of Xuan Thanh group (Xuan Thien Co Ltd) about the construction the waterway transport system and hydropower on Red River, the North of Vietnam. MPI has informed the Prime Minister and consulted with MONRE about this project as MPI thinks that this project will have potential impacts to environment by dredging the riverbed or process of hydropower construction. But in order to understanding how specific the impacts, its need to conducting the EIA report.

    The Prime Minister has not yet approved this project as its still lack many information and legal documents. Prime Minster assigned MONRE to establish the exploitation master plan of Red River to ensure the sustainable development.

  • Vietnam’s New Environmental Politics: A Fish out of Water?

    05/23/2016

    The cross-country demonstrations currently taking place in Vietnam to protest massive fish die-offs along the central Vietnamese coast are truly remarkable. Not only were demonstrations at this scale unheard of even five years ago, but they beg the question of why thousands of demonstrators as far off as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are subjecting themselves to the threat of beating and arrest over dead fish in Central Vietnam.

    Has a new environmental sensibility suddenly taken hold of the nation? Is it a rude awakening to the costs of decades of rapid industrialization and economic growth? Or is it simply a convenient expression of developmental malaise projected onto a foreign scapegoat, namely the Taiwanese Formosa Ha Tinh steel factory ,whose 1.8 km underground waste pipe is widely suspected as the principal cause of the die-off? Even as such sensibilities may be taking shape, they hardly explain the scale or intensity of the current confrontation.

  • Mekong River in danger, but MRC is ‘weak’

    05/23/2016

    Dams and water diversion projects along the Mekong River threaten to overwhelm an ecosystem that supports 60 million people and thousands of species, according to a consensus of scientists, NGOs and governments. But amidst this pending crisis, the main mechanism set up to protect the river is becoming all but irrelevant.

    The Mekong now needs more protection than ever, experts say, but the Mekong River Commission (MRC) – an international body that manages Mekong development and water resource use – has been steadily losing power for years, say current and former employees who spoke on condition of anonymity.

  • Mekong Investment Underscores Japan’s Economic Clout in Southeast Asia

    05/23/2016

    Earlier this month, Japan announced a three-year, $7 billion investment deal with the countries of the lower Mekong River to boost development and improve infrastructure. In an email interview, Phuong Nguyen, an associate fellow with the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed Japan’s relations in Southeast Asia.

  • Scientists recommend fewer coal power plants

    05/19/2016

    Vietnamese state agencies have been insisting on the necessity of continued development of coal power plants, affirming that this is the best solution for Vietnam as coal power is cheaper than wind and nuclear power.

    However, scientists have argued that coal power is not as cheap as thought, saying that the price Vietnam has to pay for coal power would be very high if counting all the expenses related to social and environment problems.

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