Dams Built by China

Salween Dams

From its headwaters in the mountains of Tibet to its estuary in Mon State, Burma, the Salween River, known as the Nu River in China and the Thanlwin River in Burma, supports almost 10 million people. As the longest undammed river in mainland Southeast Asia, the Salween River sustains rich fisheries and fertile farmland that are central to the lives of many ethnic minority communities living along its banks.

Shweli 1 Dam

The Shweli 1 Dam, completed in late 2008, has impoverished the ethnic Palaung village of Man Tat, in Shan State, Northern Burma. The project is owned by a Chinese consortium that includes the Yunnan Machinery Equipment Import and Export Company Limited and a subsidiary of China Southern power Grid Corporation (CSG). The dam was built by China’s Sinohydro Corporation. Villagers were not consulted about the project beforehand, and have been unable to voice their concerns or submit claims for compensation.

Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam

Tang Hpre near the Myitsone construction site
The Myitsone Dam is located a mile below the confluence of the Mali and N'Mai rivers in Kachin State, the source of the Irrawaddy River. The dam's reservoir will submerge important historical and cultural sites at the Mali and N'mai Hka rivers, as well as what is widely recognized as the birthplace of Burma. The dam is also located in a region that is recognized as one of the world's top biodiversity hotspots and a global conservation priority. Construction was suspended in 2011 due to concerns about the impacts of the project.

Bui Dam, Ghana

Cashew farmers, Bui Dam area
Ghana has for decades had a very erratic electricity supply due to its over-reliance on hydropower from large dams, but it recently completed yet another large dam, and one that submerged a good portion of a national park. China's low-interest loans for Bui Dam got the project off the ground despite earlier vows by the energy ministry in Ghana to move away from hydro and diversify energy supply. Situated on the Black Volta River, the dam has been criticized by wildlife biologists, who say that Ghana's rare black hippopotamus populations are threatened by the dam project. Project construction

Belinga Dam, Gabon

Deforestation in Ivindo National Park
Deforestation in Ivindo National Park The Belinga Dam is one of two proposed dams that would generate power for the Belinga Iron Ore Project , which is located 500 kilometers east of Libreville, Gabon's coastal capital. The mine project is expected to produce some 30 million tons of iron ore annually. It is the country's largest investment and includes the Belinga iron ore facility, two hydropower projects to power the facility, 560 kilometers of railroad track from Belinga to Santa Clara, and a deep-water port in Santa Clara that will allow the ore to be shipped to China. China

West Seti Dam, Nepal

NOTE: This ARCHIVED webpage contains outdated information from 2012 and is no longer up to date. The West Seti River flows through northwestern Nepal. This region is rich in biodiversity and remains one of the least developed regions of the country. For 16 years the proposed West Seti Dam threatened the region's diverse natural resources and the communities that depend on them. In June 2011 the Government of Nepal decided to scrap the license of the Australian multinational, Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC), to build the 750-MW West Seti Hydropower project. Funding for the 195 m

Other Destructive Pipeline and Legacy Projects

The Mekong River in Vientiane, Laos
The Lao government has announced its intention to build between 120 and 140 new dams. Here are some hydropower projects in the pipeline and some projects which were built in the past that have left behind a lasting devastating legacy on affected communities.

Lancang River Dams: Threatening the Flow of the Lower Mekong

Thursday, August 1, 2013
The Mekong River, known as the Lancang in China, is the heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia. While countries in the lower stretch of the river have yet to complete a dam on the mainstream Mekong, China has already built six dams on the Lancang. At least 14 more dams are in the pipeline to be completed in the next five to 10 years. Despite concerns over hydrological impacts, sedimentation, water security and fish migrations, China has yet to share any significant information on how the Lancang dams are affecting its downstream neighbors.

Mphanda Nkuwa Dam, Mozambique

Although millions depend on the Zambezi River in Mozambique for their livelihoods, the Mozambique government is proposing to build a huge new dam, Mphanda Nkuwa, 60 kilometers downstream from the huge Cahora Bassa Dam, which has brought hugely destructive impacts to the lower Zambezi. Proponents hope Mphanda Nkuwa will help attract energy-intensive industries to Mozambique, but for the foreseeable future, much of its electricity will be exported to South Africa.

Merowe Dam, Sudan

The Merowe Dam in Northern Sudan is one of the world’s most destructive hydropower projects. Built on the Nile’s fourth cataract between 2003 and 2009, the dam created a reservoir with a length of 174 kilometers. With a capacity of 1,250 megawatts, the project doubled Sudan’s electricity generation. It also displaced more than 50,000 people from the fertile Nile Valley to arid desert locations. Thousands of people who refused to leave their homes were flushed out by the rising waters of the reservoir. No proper environmental impact assessment for the Merowe Dam was ever carried out. Pro


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