The top 5 water stories in 2016

Water is an irreplaceable component in the fight against climate change but it is also its biggest victim. The World Economic Forum named water the number one threat in 2015 and it was also ranked a top risk in 2016.

Over the last 12 months, the world was given a sneak preview of the global water wars scientists have predicted for the century ahead, and tensions surrounding dams and the control of water within drought situations were flashpoints for conflict. Companies can expect water use to hit their bottom lines harder and prices of electricity are likely to go up as hydropower comes under threat.

Decisions due on coal, gas, petroleum auctions

After a year of changes in the global and domestic energy market, Thailand can expect further challenges in the years ahead.

Of these, the most crucial issues are the development of two coal-fired power plants in the South, the retirement of the Erawan and Bongkot gas blocks and the long-delayed 21st round of new concessions for 29 petroleum blocks.

The Mekong Part III: Scaling Back Lao Dams

Farmers and fishermen in downstream countries are complaining about the impact of Mekong River dams located upstream in both China and Laos.

But a think tank now has a plan to reduce the damage done to crops and fish stocks by hydroelectric dams. Its focus is on Laos, Southeast Asia’s poorest country, which it says could benefit from scaling back on some of its planned dams.

Laos’ Xekaman 3 Dam Break Shuts Off Power to Vietnam

A break in a critical waterway shut down a hydro-electric dam in southern Laos and raised questions about the quality of construction at the facility that sends most of the power it generates to Vietnam.

While officials said the Dec. 16 break in the Xekaman 3 facility’s penstock posed no threat to people living downstream, it marked the second breakdown in the tunnel that channels water to the power turbine, RFA’s Lao Service has learned.

Fight against dams along the Irrawaddy River

The Myanmar government decided in February, 2011 to postpone the Myitsone hydro-electricity dam which is to be built at the upper stream of the Ayeyarwady River. The justification was that the project would be harmful to the country’s economy and society.

Dam Design and Greed May Factor Into Flood Devastation in Vietnam

The poor design and management of Vietnam’s power-generating dams are likely one of the main factors that led to recent deadly floods that inundated the country’s central provinces, experts tell RFA.

Flooding over the past two months has devastated Vietnam’s central provinces, killed dozens of people and caused millions of dollars in economic damage as unusually heavy rain has pelted the country.

The Mystery of Sombath Somphone Still Resonates in Laos

The disappearance of Sombath Somphone remains one of the most enduring and heartbreaking mysteries of modern Laos as the abduction of the world-recognized rural development activist at a police checkpoint four years ago remains unsolved.

“As the fourth anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance approaches, my heart becomes heavier by the day,” his wife Shui Meng Ng told RFA’s Lao Service on Tuesday. “I never expected that I would still have no news of Sombath after so long.”