Mekong Eye

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Dams

  • Administrative court rules in favour of Egat over Xayaburi Dam

    01/19/2016

    THE Administrative Court Friday dismissed complaints over the Xayaburi Dam against five state agencies. However, the 37 plaintiffs, from eight Mekong provinces, say they will appeal further.

    The judge, who read the verdict, said the defendants had fully complied with their obligation according to the law, so the case was dismissed.

  • Ecological trade-offs

    01/08/2016

    Hydroelectric dams grace bank notes in developing countries, from Mozambique to Laos, Kyrgyzstan to Sri Lanka, a place of honor reflecting their reputation as harbingers of prosperity. That esteem, now enhanced by hydropower’s presumed low-carbon profile, continues to overrule concerns about environmental consequences and displaced people, as evidenced by a surge in dam-building in the developing world.

    A recent paper in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests a seemingly obvious, yet novel approach: Bring in aquatic scientists at the beginning so that engineers can consider ecological principles first, not last. The paper came out of meetings organised by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2013. Engineers and aquatic scientists discussed their core requirements for a hypothetical case study of the Iowa River in the United States.

  • Kaeng Sua Ten dam project: three decades of heroic community struggle

    01/08/2016

    After 30 years, community-led anti-Kaeng Sua Ten dam movement is still hailed as a watershed of Thailand’s environmental conservation. Villagers have not only argued for their rights to protect livelihood and natural resources, but also articulate socio-economic losses if the project is to be built. The dam, proposed by the Royal Irrigation Department, would inundate many villages and Thailand’s last teak forest ecosystem in the Mae Yom National Park in northern Thailand. Environmental economic studies find that environmental opportunity losses will be greater than gains from flood control and irrigation as promised by the project.

  • Report: Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of Hydropower Development in the Lower Mekong Basin

    01/08/2016

    The Mekong River is the largest freshwater fishery in the world (estimated fish catch 2.1 to 2.5 million tons/year) and the third most bio-diverse river system (with approximately 800 fish species) after the Amazon and the Congo. However, this would change drastically if all proposed hydropower projects are constructed as fish migration routes would be blocked.

    This paper focuses on potential economic consequences and is based on the Costanza report which in turn used much of the data, assumptions and projections reported in BDP2 and SEA. The main differences between the Costanza report and BDP2 were the estimated fish value, valuation of ecosystem services and discount rates for natural capital such as capture fisheries and wetlands.

  • Upper Paunglaung hydropower project opened in Sittang River valley

    01/07/2016

    Myanmar’s 140-MW Upper Paunglaung hydropower project officially opened this week in a ceremony that included officials from the country’s Minsitry of Electric Power and President U Thein Sein.

    Located in central Myanmar along the Paunglaung River, the $24 million plant will help meet the country’s demand for power, which is increasing about 15 percent per year. An estimated 50 percent of Myanmar has no access to the power grid.

    The hydropower project includes a 1,700-foot long, 322-foothigh “roller-compacted” concrete dam that will impound a reservoir of more than a million acre-feet. It will generate 454 million KWH and the electricity generated will be transmitted through the national power grid.

  • South Korea and Laos agree to work on hydropower project

    01/07/2016

    South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn and his Lao counterpart, Thongsing Thammavong, agreed Monday to work closely on a hydro-power project in the Southeast Asian country, a South Korean official said.

    The two sides had planned to sign a deal on the development of Sepon III hydro-power plant at their meeting, though they failed to ink the deal due to differences.

    The two sides remain at odds over which country will build a road leading up to the power plant, among other things.

  • Stop Sesan Dam, Locals Tell Gov’t

    01/07/2016

    More than 90 percent of people affected by the $800 million Lower Sesan II hydroelectricity project want the government to halt construction of the dam and the area turned into one of the world’s largest eco-tourism reserves, a survey released yesterday by the NGO Forum found.

    One of the survey’s authors, Kem Ley, who is also a political analyst, said the compensation and resettlement process was inconsistent and lacked transparency and the whole project was undermined by the lack of community consultation from the beginning.

    “About 93 percent of those affected demand the government cancel the construction project because they don’t want to lose their culture and their burial and spiritual lands,” he said.

  • The New Mekong: Changes And Expectations

    12/15/2015

    The construction of mainstream dams on the Mekong River pose significant environmental and social impacts for riparian communities in Cambodia and Vietnam. Vietnam National Mekong Committee’s Mekong Delta Study – set to be released in December 2015 – preliminarily predicted that hydropower dams will eliminate approximately 50 percent of fish catches in the region, which poses food security, public health, and economic crises in both Cambodia and Vietnam.

  • Dams may worsen arsenic problem: study

    12/15/2015

    A Stanford University study conducted in Cambodia has shed new light on the natural introduction of the poison arsenic into groundwater – an established problem in Cambodia that could be exacerbated by hydrological development, particularly dams, researchers say.

    According to a report on their findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Friday, the Stanford team carried out experiments on wetlands in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district in order to better understand how water is contaminated by the lethal toxin here and in other parts of South and Southeast Asia.

  • Climate initiatives must not include large hydropower projects – NGOs

    12/15/2015

    In a global manifesto released on the 3 December, a coalition of more than 300 civil society organizations from 53 countries called on governments and financiers at the Paris climate talks to keep large hydropower projects out of climate initiatives such as the Clean Development Mechanism, the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds, and green bonds.

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