Independent Expert Review of the Myitsone Dam EIA

Monday, September 30, 2013

A survey of the “Environmental Impact Report of Hydropower Development in the Upper Reaches of the Ayeyawady River” has found that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) contains some serious deficiencies and flawed conclusions. Based on the reviews from 12 experts in fields including ecology, fisheries, environmental and social impact assessment, public health, flood management and hydrology, the survey found that the analysis of the dams’ impacts on terrestrial fauna was “relatively robust,” but that there were serious flaws in the methodology and structure of the EIA, total neglect of the temporal and spatial scale of the social and environmental impacts of the dams, superficial analysis of the dams’ impacts on freshwater biodiversity, and that public participation failed to meet best practice.

The environmental transformation precipitated by even one or two of proposed dams in the Upper Ayeyawady Cascade would be significant. The impacts of Myitsone Dam alone on riparian communities upstream, within the reservoir inundation areas (already being subject to involuntary resettlement) and for hundreds of miles downstream of the Myitsone Dam, would be considerable. Yet, the Report commissioned by China Power Investment and published in 2011 fails to identify numerous impacts that could reasonably be expected to occur as a result of such large, complex and cascade hydropower scheme. Despite China Power Investment’s commitment to abide by international standards and conduct its work in accordance with the highest standards, seven of the eight expert opinions found that the Report falls well below best practice.

The full EIA published by the dam developer can be accessed here.