Downstream Impacts

Time to Scrutinize 'Win-Win' Mega-Dams

Villagers living downstream of the Nam Theun 2 Project have seen fish stocks depleted and seen their riverbank gardens destroyed since dam operations began
Despite the messaging promoted by the World Bank that dams spur on sustained development, including their 'model project' in Laos, Nam Theun 2, the situation of dam affected populations reveals a very different reality.

US Rebukes World Bank’s IFC Over Environmental Concerns in Pakistan Hydro Loan

Poonch River, Pakistan
In the World Bank’s board that thrives on consensus, the United States took the unusual step of voting against The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) investment in the 108 MW Gulpur hydropower project on Pakistan’s Poonch River. Calling the methodology to assess the project’s environmental impacts “fundamentally flawed,” the US cited IFC for breaching its own rules by failing to ensure sufficient downstream flows to sustain endangered fish species (see more below). The IFC is the World Bank arm that lends to private companies. While not enough to block the project, the US’

Gibe III Reservoir Begins Filling, Launching Lake Turkana’s Slow Decline

Gibe III reservoir is filling. Photo: Landsat
International Rivers has learned that the reservoir behind the huge Gibe III Dam on Ethiopia's Omo River has begun filling. The result could be the death of Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake, which is almost completely dependent on the Omo for replenishing its water levels. Kenya seems to be taking a "see no evil" approach.

Une source de vie pour plus de 1 million au Mali menacé par les plans de la Banque mondiale de relancer le barrage de Fomi

Hippo grass fields sustain the Inner Niger Delta
Le delta intérieur du Niger au Mali est l’une des plus grandes zones inondées de la planète. C’est une zone verdoyante et biologiquement riche qui borde le désert du Sahara. Non seulement elle accueille des millions d’oiseaux migrateur, le delta assure aussi un moyen d’existence de plus de 1 millions de personnes qui sont tributaires de la pèche, l’agriculture et l’élevage. Les écosystèmes uniques du delta intérieur du Niger sont soutenus par la crue annuelle du fleuve Niger qui inonde jusqu'à 30.000 km2 – soit une superficie qui représente la Belgique entière. Cepend

Downstream Impacts of the Theun-Hinboun Dams: Field Report

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 201

Life-Giving Deltas Starved by Dams

Protest against destructive dam building on the Indus
Deltas belong to the world's most fertile regions. Many of them are suffering a slow death due to the downstream impacts of dam building. This blog summarizes the findings of a new report.

Communities Downstream from Nam Theun 2 Still Need Support

Thursday, November 29, 2012
November 30th, 2012 Ingo Wiederhofer, Senior Operations Officer Sustainable Development Dept., East Asia & Pacific Region World Bank Lao PDR Country Office Vientiane, Lao PDR Re: Khammouane Development Project and the Nam Theun 2 Downstream Program Dear Mr. Wiederhofer, I am writing to follow up on our earlier discussions regarding the World Bank’s Khammouane Development Project (KDP) and support for the handover of responsibilities of the Nam Theun 2 Downstream Program. I appreciate that you and your colleagues took the time to meet on October 16th, 2012 to explain the KDP prog

Ongoing Problems Faced by Communities Affected by Nam Song and Nam Leuk Dams

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Oct. 24, 2012 Anthony Jude, Director Energy Division, Southeast Asia Department Asian Development Bank 6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines Re: Nam Song and Nam Leuk Hydropower Projects, Lao PDR Dear Mr. Jude, I am writing to follow up on the implementation of the Nam Song-Nam Leuk Environmental Mitigation Plan and review missions conducted by the ADB. In March 2012, an International Rivers’ consultant conducted a site visit to eight villages affected by the Nam Song Dam and three villages affected by the Nam Leuk Dam to assess the state of the mitigation plans. In light of

Letter to THPC About Ongoing Concerns of Affected Communities

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Robert Allen Jr. General Manager Theun-Hinboun Power Company Ltd. P.O. Box 3382 Vientiane, Lao PDR RE: Concerns about Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project Relocation and Resettlement Sites Dear Mr. Allen, I am writing to follow up on THPC’s response to the letter International Rivers sent to you on February 3, 2012 and to communicate unresolved matters of concern reported to International Rivers by headmen and villagers in the relocation sites of Ban Phousaat, Ban Tha, Ban Phoumakgneng, Ban Thasala (new and old sites), the resettlement site of Ban Nongxong, and affected villages in Zones 3B and

The Salween River Basin Fact Sheet

Villagers at the Thai/Burma border gather to bless the Salween River and oppose construction of large dams.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Dam Cascades Threaten Biological and Cultural DiversityFrom its headwaters in the Tibetan Plateau to its estuary in Burma, the Salween River supports over ten million people. For many decades, it was the longest free-flowing river in Southeast Asia. It sustains rich fisheries and farmlands central to the lives of many indigenous communities living along its banks. However, large dam cascades in China and Burma are being planned in complete secrecy, with no participation from affected communities and no analysis of the cumulative impacts or seismic risks of these projects.The Salween River, kno


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