Mekong Utility Watch

Cooperation key to Mekong’s use and protection


July 11, 2009

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry sokesman Le Dung expressed Vietnam’s wish for regional cooperation in the protection and exploitation of the Mekong river.

Answering correspondents’ queries about Vietnam’s viewpoint on the dams being built for hydro-electricity projects on the upper Mekong river, Dung on July 9 said that “As a country located in the Mekong river sub-region, Vietnam is concerned about information on the harmful impact exploitation has on the river’s flow and its ecological environment, particularly in countries along the river’s lower section.”

Dung stressed that the Mekong is an international river so its exploitation should take into account the interests of the countries through which it passes, as well as issues related to the protection of environment, water resource management and the welfare of inhabitants.

Vietnam has been actively coordinating with member countries of the Mekong River Commission to work out cooperation programmes and projects in order to protect and find the best ways to use the natural resources of the river, especially the Mekong river’s water itself, the spokesman said

“ Vietnam hopes related countries will cooperate on these issues for their mutual interests and to satisfy the demands for sustainable development of all the countries in the river basin,” heconcluded.

According to AP, China has built eight dams on the upper Mekong River in Yunnan province. It recently finished the construction of the 292m Xiaowan Dam, the world’s highest arch dam. The UN report released on May 21 said that this dam’s capacity is equivalent to the entire capacity of all reservoirs in Southeast Asia.

At the same time, Laos has begun to build 23 dams on the lower Mekong River and its estuaries. This work is scheduled to finish in 2010.

In Thailand, besides Sekamen 1 and 3 dams, the government announced it was resuming the construction of some dams on the Mekong River, worth around $11 billion, which can yield around 4,000 MW of power. According to the Bangkok Post, these dams will help provide water for agriculture in Thailand.

In the lower section of the Mekong River, Cambodia also has two hydro-power projects named Sambor and Stung Treng totalling around 3,600 MW.

(Source: VNA)

Categories: Mekong Utility Watch

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