Landslide at Chinese dam site signals looming risks

Another deadly landslide at a hydropower construction site in Fujian, south-east China, highlights the growing risks of dam building in mountainous regions of Asia. Chinadialogue.net reports.

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

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.

Too many dams to look after

As China continues to embrace a new era of hydropower expansion, demand for dam inspection has outpaced the country’s supply of inspectors, ramping up safety fears for thousands of small- and medium-sized dams in China’s rural areas that have been “ignored”, reports Ecns.cn.

The silent partner

The future looks good for Canadian arms manufacturers, says journalist Paul Christopher Webster in this in-depth look at the sale of Canadian-built light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia — a sale approved by the Conservative government and supported by the Trudeau administration despite concerns the vehicles could be used against civilian populations.

Mekong Delta loses half of silt to upstream dams: scientists

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.

Why linking rivers won’t work

India’s proposed Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) project would entail the creation of 3,000 large dams and “environmental tinkering on an epic scale”. Proponents say ILR is the “only way forward” for a country facing a projected population of 1.6 billion in 2050. Detractors say “there’s simply no evidence to justify what the government wants to attempt”.

The myth of sustainable hydropower

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.