Mekong Mainstream Dams

Cambodia: Opting For The Big Dam

Thursday, January 1, 2009
Published by Inter Press Services PHNOM PENH, Jan 1 (IPS) - It has been a long held plan of Cambodia's government -- a hydropower dam on the mainstream of the Mekong River in the central part of the country.But political and financial considerations coupled with considerable environmental and social consequences have combined to prevent the project from going ahead.Until, it appears, now.In a move that will fuel concerns about hydropower development on the mainstream of the Mekong, Phnom Penh is moving ahead with a dam that would block the entire width of the river at Sambor, Kratie province,

Vietnam: Rare Criticism of Dams Surface

Friday, November 21, 2008
Originally published at IPS News CAN THO, Nov 21 (IPS) - While arguments against the development of hydropower dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries have from time to time emerged in Vietnam's state-controlled press, rarely have government officials been as open with their criticism as they have in recent months. In late September, the ‘Thanh Nien' newspaper reported the deputy secretary general of the Vietnam National Mekong Committee (VNMC), Dao Trong Tu, telling an international meeting that "the development of dams for hydroelectricity generation (on the Mekong and its tributaries

Paying Southeast Asia's Power Bill

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Published by Inter Press Services VIENTIANE, Sep 25 (IPS) - There is an uneasy calm that swirls through this South-east Asian capital, which sits on the banks of the Mekong River. White sandbags piled waist-high over a 13 km stretch along the river offer the reason why -- floods. For now, the swollen waters of this region's largest river laps at the embankments, just below the sandbags, which were hurriedly placed in August to protect the main city of Laos from the rising Mekong. Some of the city's outlying areas were not so fortunate, as the waters surged inland, in one of the worst floods wi

Mekong at Risk: Report Damns Plans to Make Laos the “Battery of Southeast Asia”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Report recommends moratorium on damming Mekong mainstream, life-of-project payments to the poor, transparent basin-wide planning, enforcement of environmental laws and exploration of economic alternatives.VIENTIANE, LAOS – An 88-page report released today by International Rivers chronicles the social and environmental debt created by river-rich Laos’ unprecedented dam-building boom. Environmental scientist Dr. Carl Middleton, International Rivers’ Mekong Program Coordinator, will present the report to government and donor representatives today in Vientiane, the Lao capital, at an officia

A Healthy Mekong River: Priceless

Friday, September 19, 2008
September 2008 World Rivers ReviewThe timeless rhythm of the Mekong’s seasonal cycles has nourished and inspired the peoples of the region for millennia. Many rural peoples’ lives and cultures are intimately tied to the river’s health. Even residents of the region’s bustling cities, whose lives appear more distanced from the river, are linked by the cultural richness it spawns. While China is midway through building a controversial dam cascade on the Upper Mekong, the river’s lower stretch – shared by Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – has so far escaped hydropower developm

Sambor Dam

From the flooded forests of the Tonle Sap Lake to the banks of the mighty Mekong River, fishing has always been central to the peoples’ way of life in Cambodia. Yet, a threat now looms large to these rich fisheries and the communities that depend on them. If built, the Sambor Dam would block major fish migrations between Southern Laos and Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, destroy critical deep pool fish habitats, and interrupt the river’s hydrological, sediment and nutrient cycles, impacting the river’s wider ecology.

Southeast Asia Partner Organizations

International Day of Action against dams on the Salween River, March 2006
In the Mekong region, civil society organizations, academics, and community movements from Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam have built determined national coalitions committed to defending the region's rivers. As widespread dam development threatens many rivers shared between countries, these groups have worked together in regional coalitions, joined by a network of supporters worldwide. International Rivers works with groups throughout the Mekong region, supporting their efforts to protect the region's rivers. International Day of Action against dams on the Salween River, March 2006

Plans for some old dams unfortunately never die

Monday, June 23, 2008
Opinion piece published in the Bangkok Post Perhaps Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej thinks it is still the 1960s. As new prime minister, he autocratically announced water diversion projects for the Mekong and Salween rivers, callously calling these international rivers ''public waters'' in the faulty belief that anyone can utilise them without repercussions. In power for only four months, he has already revived almost all the historically rejected water infrastructure schemes, including the infamous Pa Mong dam _ the Mekong's Hoover, proposed by the US some four decades back _ along with oth

Academics in bid to stop Mekong plan

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Article from The Nation, Bangkok's Independent Newspaper The prime minister's idea to push ahead with the Mekong River water-diversion project and to build three hydro-electric dams in the Northeast region has caused concern among social science academics who yesterday came up with a statement opposing the plan. In an open letter to the prime minister, 18 academics together with 95 environmental and community organisations demanded the government suspend any agreement related to the issue it has signed with the Laos government unless information about the projects is disclosed and public opin

Mekong Commission Fends Off Credibility Charges

Sunday, May 11, 2008
PHNOM PENH, May 11 (IPS) - The head of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has defended the regional body against charges that it faces a crisis of credibility arising from inability to guide hydropower development on the Mekong mainstream.In an interview with IPS, Jeremy Bird, who took over as chief executive officer of the Vientiane-based organisation in late March, agreed that among the challenges facing the MRC, "obviously a key one relates to mainstream dams and some of the perceptions of the different players about these".His comments come as civil society groups intensify their criticism


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