Experts ‘greatly disappointed’ by yet another Mekong hydropower dam

International environment experts are urging Vietnam and its Mekong River neighbors to cancel another hydropower project amid concerns that the project is flawed and needs to be fixed.

At a meeting held by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) last Friday, officials from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam agreed to set December 20 as the start date for a six-month consultation process for the Pak Beng Dam, the third on the lower Mekong mainstream following Xayaburi and Don Sahong.

Xayaburi dam: ‘Testing ground for untried technologies’

“I miss the Mekong.” A sad smile flickered across the face of Thongkham Phalibai, a mother of two and owner of a grocery store in Luang Prabang.

“I was living by the river for so long, earning money from gold panning and farming. But I can’t go back there anymore. I don’t know where my old house used to be.”

It has been four years since Thongkham left a simple life in her old village of Pak Neun for a new one in Neunsavang, a remote village 80 kilometres south of Luang Prabang. She was among the 2,986 villagers who were forced to resettle because their homes either sat on the location of the controversial Xayaburi dam or were in areas that will be flooded.

CK gets B19bn environmental contract for Xayaburi dam

SET-listed Thai construction firm Ch. Karnchang Plc (CK) has secured an additional 19-billion-baht construction contract to optimise the environmental performance of the Xayaburi hydroelectric power plant in Laos.

Company president Supamas Trivisvavet said the additional construction aimed to fulfill requests by the Mekong River Commission to create an earthquake-resistant structure, navigation log, fish passageway and sediment flushing system.