Independent Review of Don Sahong Dam EIA

Monday, February 24, 2014

A technical review of the Don Sahong Dam’s 2013 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reveals critical knowledge gaps and inaccuracies, which call into question the credibility of the report. The following summary is based on independent reviews from a series of experts in fields including fisheries, the Irrawaddy dolphin, hydrology and transboundary impacts. The review highlights the shortcomings and concerns with the EIA including:

  • Vague and limited information about fish migration for specific species in the Hou Sahong channel along with the other 16 channels in the Khone Falls area;
  • A lack of credible data with which to conduct comprehensive analysis of the complex flow regime for each channel, to understand how the hydrology will be altered by the project and;
  • No transboundary impact assessment, despite the dam being located on a shared river less than 2 kilometers from the Lao/Cambodian border;
  • No meaningful consultation with communities downstream in Cambodia, or indication of specific measures of compensation for local affected communities.

The EIA claims that the project will not have significant impact on fisheries due to the proposed mitigation measures. However these claims are based on models which have never been tested in the Mekong, and there are doubts as to whether they could be successful on such a large scale. The project developers claim that they are taking an “adaptive approach” to fishery mitigation by continuing to conduct studies as they go along for a period of 10 years. However this “trial and error approach” belies the very serious impacts that this project would have on the Mekong River. 

Given the serious flaws found in the report and the fact that the Mekong River transcends geographical boundaries, International Rivers recommends that the project developer be required to carry out a new EIA for the Don Sahong Dam, which includes transboundary impacts, before any decision is made over whether to build the project.

Read the full EIA Review: