Proposed dam development on the Srepok River, facilitated by the MWRAS, spells trouble for communities downstream


A new wave of large-scale water infrastructure projects are threatening the Mekong River, supported by the latest plan of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Mekong River Commission, called the Mekong Water Resources Assistance Strategy (MWRAS).

The MWRAS aggressively promotes the construction of controversial dam, irrigation, and water diversion projects (see map), while failing to account for these projects' risks to the complex Mekong River ecosystem and the communities that depend upon it. Rather than proposing innovative solutions to equitably share the region's rivers resources, the MWRAS deliberately misrepresents the results of a hydrological modeling exercise in an attempt to justify destructive plans for major infrastructure projects.

A key challenge faced in the Mekong region is how to equitably share the river's resources within and across borders. Inevitably, difficult decisions must be taken. When making these tough choices, representatives of all river users must be at the negotiation table, as called for by the World Commission on Dams. In direct contrast, only the region's governments have provided input into MWRAS's development, and the wider public - including those who would be directly affected by MWRAS projects - have not been consulted to date.

International Rivers is working with partners in the region to monitor the MWRAS and promote sustainable, equitable alternatives that benefit all customary river users.