Category: Mekong Utility Watch

An alternate past/future for Mekong River dams under the UN Watercourses Convention

Mekong River. Source: Rémy Kinna.

This three-part article by international water law consultant Rémy Kinna looks at dams in the Mekong. Kinna examines the existing legal framework for regulating dam development in the region and how its legal gaps and ambiguities have led to ongoing disputes (particularly in regard to the Xayaburi Dam in Laos), and how to improve dispute resolution and strengthen water governance across the Mekong River mainstream and its tributaries under the UN Watercourses Convention.

Mekong Delta loses half of silt to upstream dams: scientists

A sinking section along the Mekong River in Vietnam. Photo credit: Huynh Xay/Dan Viet.

A soft shield of silt that took over 6,000 years to form and which protects the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam against intrusion from seawater, erosion and declining groundwater levels has been seriously stripped by Chinese dams on the Mekong River, say experts. Half of the river’s essential sediment is now trapped upstream and the delta may be in jeopardy of disappearing altogether. Thanh Nien News reports.

The myth of sustainable hydropower

NGO mobilization in Thailand against the Don Sahong Dam.

2016 will be a decisive year for hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong. Southeast-Asia based journalist, Tom Fawthrop, looks at the notion of ‘nice dams’ that supposedly don’t inflict too much damage on their surrounding environments and their opposite reality: the hidden costs of hydropower and the irreversible destruction of unique ecosystems.

Silence of the dammed

Among the conflicting opinions over hydroelectric development of the Mekong River Basin, one voice seems to be missing, writes longtime development worker and researcher JeeRung: the local communities of Laos directly affected. She breaks down why.

China’s Lacang River dams – impacts already ‘extensive’

Click on the image to read the report

Already, newly completed cascade dams along China’s Lancang River are altering the river’s hydrological regime and sediment flow, blocking fish migration and posing a risk to food security and livelihoods. As more cascade dams roll out along the Lancang, International Rivers offers a better understanding through their research of the environmental impacts of current development and what further impacts can be expected as more projects come online.

Thai lawsuit filed to block Laotian dam on Mekong

A recent investigation of the Xayaburi Dam site by International Rivers revealed that Thai company Ch. Karnchang has already undertaken significant resettlement and construction activities at the project site, contrary to claims that only preliminary work is underway. Photo: International Rivers / flickr

(August 13, 2012) Thai opponents of the proposed Xayaburi dam for the Mekong River in Laos are taking their case to court. A group of Thai villages have filed a lawsuit to block a state-run company from buying electricity generated by the dam in a bid to halt the project, opposed by downstream nations, altogether and set a precedent for future cross-border projects.

Cancel the Xayaburi Dam

SavetheMekongCoalition

(May 6, 2011) The Save the Mekong coalition and its alliances have called for the halt of construction activity at the dam site and for the Government of Thailand to cancel its plans to purchase the dam’s electricity. Many groups from around the Mekong region have also called for cancellation of the Xayaburi Dam as it would jeopardize the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in the region.