Downstream Impacts of the Theun-Hinboun Dams: Field Report

Sunday, June 22, 2014
Power lines cross the Hinboun River to bring electricity to Thailand.
Power lines cross the Hinboun River to bring electricity to Thailand.
Credit: International Rivers 2013

“Failure to Restore: An Assessment of the Impacts of the Theun Hinboun Hydropower Dam Projects on Downstream Communities in Laos” documents the serious and ongoing concerns of  villagers in central Laos living downstream of the Theun-Hinboun Dam and Expansion Project. It is based on the findings of interviews conducted in Phousaat, Tha/Geng, Thonglom, Thana Nua and Nong Boua in November 2013. The report can be downloaded here: Downstream of the Theun-Hinboun Dams: Field Report (June 2014).

Villagers interviewed commonly testified they felt pressured to move to the consolidated settlements that have been set up as 'relocation' sites. They continue to be highly concerned about household food and income insecurity, and typically report that the company's livelihood programs for dry season rice farming, fish raising and livestock end up leaving them in debt as opposed to boosting family incomes. People also remain concerned that the grievance mechanism in place does not offer safe channels for having complaints heard or addressed.

The report calls on the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) to review and revise livelihood programming for the consolidated relocation sites. It also recommends that the THPC-initiated Panel of Experts (POE) should come into compliance with World Commission on Dams' guidelines related to independent monitoring, and that POE reports and recommendations be made publicly available.