What does the decision to recognize the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers as living entities mean for the construction of the controversial Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams on the Mekong River?
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(March 30, 2011) Communities dependent on the Mekong River for income and food say upstream dam development by China has disordered the river and endangered livelihoods.According to longtime residents who live alongside the river , topsy turvy tide flows caused by dam operation have brought floods, ruined crops, and made planning ahead impossible. With more hydropower projects on the cards, locals fear China is the only beneficiary of changes to the Mekong – a 5000 km waterway that flows through six countries.
(March 8, 2011) Vietnam News features statements from several experts on how the proposed damming of the Mekong River would destroy the region’s ecology, and harm tens of thousands of people.