On the Loei River, a tributary of the Mekong River, an “unreal” project of water diversion by Thailand is about to commence, which would cause severe conflicts on water usage on the Mekong. The project with the name of Kong-Loei- Chi-Mun is a “massive operation” on the whole of the Loei River and will result in villages and houses being wiped out to make way for water containment. Not only the livelihood of the people connected with Loei River will be threatened, but also serious impacts of such a project will spread down to the Mekong Delta.
Just as forests are more than only trees, rivers are more than water. The Mekong river carries massive loads of sediment and nutrients from upstream to downstream and across national borders, replenishing and enriching the land as it goes. This process is key to sustaining the ecological integrity of the river and surrounding landscapes, which in turn supports the economy.
However, a boom in sand mining and hydropower development on the Mekong is transforming the river’s sediment flows, with profound consequences for the region if left unchecked. For a prosperous, sustainable future for the region, all Mekong countries must come together now and adopt international standards for managing transboundary river resources.
Newly declared protected areas in Prey Lang forest are being illegally logged by companies belonging to a three-star general and his sister, according to Goldman Environmental Prize-winning conservationist Ouch Leng and NGOs with which he is working.
Leng, along with 15 NGO officers, patrollers and environmental activists, allege the forest in Preah Vihear’s Rovieng district is being logged daily by two companies and hauled to a timber processing facility, known as Factory 95.
Preparations should be made to prevent dam building on the Salween River, the home of many ethnic people, replacing the Irawaddy River’s Chinese backed Myitsone Dam project if it is cancelled.
The comments were made by the Mon State Hluttaw (parliament) Deputy Speaker Dr Aung Nai Oo at the press launch of a Mon Youth Progressive Organisation (MYPO) report entitled ‘In the Balance’, held at the Ramanya Hotel in Mawlamyine, Mon State on 9 September.
Representatives of six German companies on Monday began their business trip in Vietnam to explore the potential of the local solar photovoltaic market.
The Delegate of German Industry and Commerce in Vietnam, which organized the trip, said the representatives participated in a conference in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss and learn about investment opportunities.
They also presented their products and services to some 150 Vietnamese companies and participants, and attended bilateral meetings.
Huge hydropower dams and irrigation systems to power modern farming in the Mekong region have changed humans interact with the river.
Thailand plans to dust off Hatgyi Dam in Myanmar and divert “surplus” water to Bhumipol Dam to alleviate drought. EGATi is eager to invest more than 100 billion baht in Hatgyi project. As for Mong Ton Dam project, EGATi plans to invest over 300 billion baht but it still waits for Myanmar government’s approval after the redesign to lower impacts on surrounding communities.
Ethnic Shan, Mon and Karenni environmental activists have voiced strong concern over alleged government plans to push ahead with hydropower dams on the Salween River, which they believe would destroy the livelihoods of ethnic communities.
At a press conference in Rangoon on Wednesday, Shan environmentalist Sai Khur Hseng of the Sapawa organization claimed that U Htein Lin, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, said during a closed-door meeting in Naypyidaw in August that to fulfill Burma’s energy needs, planned dams should proceed on the Salween [also known a the Thanlwin] River.
Southern Vietnam, which is home to commercial hubs like Ho Chi Minh City and manufacturing clusters such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong, may face more power shortages from 2017.
The country’s total power output is likely to fall short of the south’s demand by 10-15 percent, said Duong Quang Thanh, chairman of state monopoly Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).
The state utility plans to run more power plants on diesel to produce about 5 billion kilowatt-hours per year starting from next year to supplement supplies in the south, Thanh added.
The new law, a consolidation of existing Myanmar Citizen Investment Law and the Foreign Investment Law, introduces a new form of approval called MIC Endorsement, in addition to issuing MIC permits.
If a company’s business activities do not fall under one of the restricted categories, it will not require an MIC permit to do business in Myanmar. Instead, they can apply for an MIC endorsement, which will provide the same benefits as an MIC permit such as long-term lease and tax incentives.
Mi Ah Chai said: “The livelihood of the people in the delta area and the ecosystem of the river can be damaged by this project. So, we demand that the government halt all the dam projects; respect the objections of the ethnic people living along this river and the social organisations calling for the conservation of the Salween River; and prevent this project from affecting the peace process.”
The 87-page report details the background of the Salween River, the construction of the dams on the river, the ecosystem of the Salween River delta, the dams’ impact on the communities who depend on the delta eco system and public awareness of the dam projects.