The Pak Mun Dam is the only case in the whole Mekong Basin where dam affected people have demanded the decommissioning of the dam.
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.
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.
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.
Hydro development of the Mekong River is causing downstream flow to become uneven, driving fish away and throwing the region’s food security into jeopardy. The Nation reports.
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.
Low water levels and stranded boats on the upper Mekong River — although, nothing new for a February in recent years — are once again stirring concerns over China’s dam-building program to the north. What is new is the apparent readiness of Chinese authorities to give an account of their actions to rectify the situation. The Lowy Interpreter reports.
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.
(October 10, 2012) China’s bid to secure its energy needs is leading to Tibet, where a subsidiary of one of China’s largest state-owned electric utilities has inked a deal to develop the region’s solar and hydroelectric power resources.
(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.
(January 5, 2012) Yang Yong on the future of river management in China and the issues currently facing the country’s more controversial dam projects.
(October 8, 2011) The Burmese president announced that the controversial Chinese-financed Myitsone dam on the Irrawaddy River would be suspended. Now the Chinese government is threatening legal action if the rights and interests of its state enterprises aren’t protected.
(August 16, 2011) Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, has called for a reassessment of Burma’s massive 6,000 MW Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project.
(May 10, 2011) Much has been written on the downstream impact of China’s dams on the Lancang-Mekong River, which flows through or along the borders of five other countries after exiting China. Most of the discussion relates to the hydrological impact of impounding water in the eight dams along the mainstream Lancang Jiang in Yunnan Province.
(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.