Lower Sesan 2: Construction resumed, troubles restarted

Thousands of workers, mostly Chinese, are hustling working on the Lower Sesan 2 (LS2) dam site in Northeast Cambodia, and nearly 40% of their work is complete. The US$816 million project was approved by Cambodia’s Council of Ministers in 2012. However, in November 2014, the dam construction was stopped due to environmental controversy and opposition from communities and some NGOs, but has been re-started since March 2015. And, as construction has resumed, the communities concerns have been reprised and the trouble has restarted.

Lower Sesan 2 Dam jeopardizes lives of millions of Cambodia’s river dwellers

With an increasing need for energy, the Royal Cambodian Government has spent nearly a billion US dollars on a hydroelectric dam that it claimed was necessary for industry. However, the real social and economic cost of the dam, which will flood an area equivalent to a small province and submerge thousands of families’ houses, might far exceed its construction cost as it might deprive millions of Cambodians of their most important food staple.

Vietnamese plea to Thailand: Don’t divert the Mekong

Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha voiced plans to use water from the Mekong and Salween rivers to fill dams that have run low because of drought and poor water management. But the PM’s remarks have caused shockwaves in the Mekong Delta, which would be directly affected if such a project was to go ahead.

Southeast Asian Journalists Explore Dams and their Impacts

Hydropower development is racing across Southeast Asia’s Mekong region, and Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is helping journalists investigate the costs and benefits for the environment and communities. As part of the USAID-sponsored Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) program, EJN supported 15 journalists to meet researchers, affected communities, Cambodian government officials and local NGOs in a workshop last week, “Understanding Energy: The Benefits and Costs of Hydropower”, focusing on hydropower dams in Cambodia.