The World Bank-funded US$1.4 billion Nam Theun 2 dam in central Laos on the Mekong River was supposed to serve as showcase for a better kind of dam.
From 5-7 January 2017, Mekong Watch visited villages affected by the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Lao PDR.
On January 4, 2017, the Forum for Development Studies published a new article by Kanokwan Manorom, Ian Baird and Bruce Shoemaker titled, “The World Bank, Hydropower-based Poverty Alleviation and Indigenous Peoples: On-the-Ground Realities in the Xe Bang Fai River Basin of Laos.” This article provides more detail on the project’s impacts following earlier articles on the situation along the Xe Bang Fai River published in 2015 by the same researcher team.
Since 2010 the river banks in Phuk Pheua village in Savannakhet province have started to rapidly erode, causing hardship for the village people. The extent of the erosion has increased every year, and each year the rate of erosion seems to be getting worse. This rapid erosion has been caused by the Nam Theun 2 dam, which discharges water into the river upstream of the river.
Nam Ngiep 1 dam is the second major Lao hydropower project conceived for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). EGAT’s first, Nam Thuen 2 has been riddled with social and environmental problems, and Nam Ngiep 1 is shaping up no differently.