Damming the Mekong

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Anchor Moy
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Damming the Mekong

Post by Anchor Moy » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:33 pm

Hi

This isn't strictly Cambodia news, but there is a dam being built in the 4000 Islands on the Mekong quite close to the Laos/Cambodian border (Don Sahong). This will have an impact on countries downstream. There are also plans to eventually build dams on the main branches of the Mekong in Cambodia.

I know that the region needs electricity, but with the amount of corruption going on, will any of these dams benefit the local populations? For example, the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams are largely financed by Thai interests and the electricity will go to Thailand. Local interests don't seem to be considered at all, let alone the longterm environmental impact on the region. If Laos can do this, why not Cambodia ? (Ethics or environmental concerns should not be a problem here either.)

Another question is, how safe are these constructions ? When you look at the state of the roads in Cambodia, why would they do a better job with building dams? Also, I have seen a proposed dam site here in Cambodia near Sambor and it's totally flat land - I am not an engineer but I don't see how you could contain a dam there - looks like arbitrary lines on a map.

In fact, I guess that I know most of the answers to these questions, but thanks for letting me vent.



Wednesday June 25, 2014
Save the Mekong Coalition Calls on Prime Ministers to Cancel Mekong Mainstream Dams:
Protect Food Security and People from Transboundary Impacts

Bangkok, Thailand - As Mekong ministers meet for the 20th Meeting of the Mekong River Commission Council in Bangkok tomorrow, the Save the Mekong coalition has issued a statement calling upon the Prime Ministers of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam to work together to address the threat posed by a proposed cascade of eleven Mekong mainstream dams to the region’s food security and people. The coalition requests that immediate action be taken to cancel the planned mainstream dams, including the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams, which are already under construction. And to ensure that future decisions over the shared river are based on scientific knowledge, transboundary impact assessment, robust consultations, and respect for the rights of all riparian nations and the public to a transparent and participatory decision-making process.

“The Mekong mainstream dams are gambling with our food security, by irreversibly harming vital fish migrations and blocking sediment needed for our floodplains,” said Youk Senglong from the Fisheries Action Coalition Team in Cambodia. “It’s time the Mekong leaders recognize the gravity of the situation and take action. Hundreds of thousands of people in the region and internationally have been demanding the dams to be cancelled through petitions, letters and protests.”

“The Cambodian and Vietnamese governments have repeatedly demanded that the Mekong mainstream dams’ transboundary impacts are studied and that decisions over the mainstream dams are deferred ten years,” said Nguy Thi Khanh from GreenID and the Vietnam River Network. “Yet, Laos has continued to unilaterally push forward with the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams, without adequate knowledge of the risks and a meaningful consultation process. At the same time Thailand’s companies and banks are profiting at the expense of regional cooperation and millions of people in the region who depend on the Mekong River for their food and livelihood.”

At Thursday’s meeting, the Mekong River Commission (MRC)’s Council is scheduled to make a decision whether the Don Sahong Dam in Lao PDR must undergo prior consultation as requested by Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, after failing to reach agreement during a MRC’s Special Joint Committee Meeting in January. As the second Mekong mainstream dam, the Don Sahong Dam, is already following the dangerous precedent set by the Xayaburi Dam, in which project construction began while MRC deliberations were underway and unilateral action has triumphed over regional interest. Furthermore in both projects transboundary impact assessments have been absent, unproven technologies are being proposed as mitigation solutions, and attempts to follow the MRC’s procedures have exposed significant ambiguities and problems.

“Its clear the MRC has failed to guarantee a balanced and fair decision-making process, in which upstream and downstream considerations are considered. It’s a broken process in desperate need of reform, during a time when the Mekong River’s health and productivity is at stake,” said Tek Vannara from NGO Forum on Cambodia. “Decisions over the future of the Mekong River cannot continue to be made on a project-by-project basis without consideration of the cumulative transboundary impacts or the opinion of the millions of riparian people who rely upon the river.”

“It’s time to cancel the Mekong mainstream dams and protect the river for present and future generations. Thailand doesn’t need electricity from destructive dams that will undermine our development,” said Terrapong Pomun of Living River Siam in Thailand. “We urge the Lao government to immediately stop all construction of the Xayaburi and Don Sahong projects, for Thailand to cancel the Xayaburi Dam’s power purchase agreement, and for the riparian rights of neighboring countries and all peoples dependent on the river to be respected. As a first step towards improved Mekong cooperation, the Don Sahong Dam must undergo prior consultation.”
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by OrangeDragon » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:38 pm

[admin edit: fixed the article in the OP and deleted the extra post.]
4000islandsguy
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by 4000islandsguy » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:16 pm

The Lao government has reassured all of it's neighbors that there will be no negative impact from the dam. What more do you want?
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by StroppyChops » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:20 pm

I feel much more settled.
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by walkjivefly » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:37 pm

4000islandsguy wrote:The Lao government has reassured all of it's neighbors that there will be no negative impact from the dam. What more do you want?
Oh well that's alright then!
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by Sailorman » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:22 am

Let me see, build a dam on a river with heavy silt. Build a dam on a river with major fish populations that need to travel up stream. Build a dam with sub-standard material. Is there something wrong with this picture, can you find it? There is a slow speed turbine technology that doesn't use dams, just plant them on the river and they produce electricity. (very cheap.)
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by 4000islandsguy » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:17 pm

The dam they are building in the 4,000 islands is supposedly going to be a flow through turbine system. Although I would really rather them not build it at all. For the measly 360 megwatts it will produce too much is at risk.
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by FreeSocrates! » Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:45 pm

Developments like these and all the Aeon Mall's going up (there's another one by the airport and I believe one more somewhere else) could radically alter this country and it's culture.
The cedar roasted asparagus has good chew. I don't know how to enjoy it, so I'll Instagram it instead.
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Re: Damming the Mekong

Post by Anchor Moy » Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:22 pm

Latest news:
http://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/8351" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Seems like a yes, but no, response from Laos - yes,we do take environmental concerns seriously, but no, we have no intention of waiting for the answers and acting on them.
At least the Laos govt are trying to look like they give a shit about their relations with their neighbours - I guess it's a step up from not even making that effort ?

Meanwhile in Thailand...
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/2 ... PN20140624" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Any local protests in the 4000 Islands ? Even if the dam will impact tourism there, it's possible that the Laos govt prefers to get rid of the cheap nature-loving backpacker/bungalow set in favour of promoting mass tourism from other Asian countries - build some big hotels and sell group tours to see the dam instead of the dolphins. So, it's possible that the repercussions on the 4000 Is. tourism business has in fact been considered and discarded as irrelevant.
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