Downstream Impacts

Power Surge: The Impacts of Rapid Dam Development in Laos

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Laos has declared it a national priority to catalyze the country's development through the rapid construction of large dams that export high-risk hydropower to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. With six big dams already in operation, seven currently under construction, at least 12 more in the works and development deals pending on another 35, Laos is in the midst of an unprecedented dam-building boom. A new report from International Rivers, Power Surge, chronicles the social and environmental debt created by this boom. Power Surge's 11 in-depth case studies reveal that Lao villagers are being

Review of Environmental Impact Assessment for Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This review of the August 2007 drafts of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan for the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project was conducted by independent researcher David Blake. According to Blake, the EIA fails to adequately examine impacts from the existing Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Project such as loss of land from erosion and increased flooding. These impacts will only intensify under the expansion project. Nor does it discuss the extent to which mitigation and compensation measures implemented to date have dealt with the impacts. The review co

Review of Resettlement Action Plan for Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The proposed Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project in central Laos will displace up to 4,800 people and negatively affect another 48,441 people living downstream, on project construction lands and in host villages. This review highlights key concerns about the August 2007 Draft Final Resettlement Action Plan for the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project prepared by Norplan. It concludes that the resettlement plan is so poorly conceived and developed that it cannot and should not constitute a sound basis for decision-making. The plan obfuscates and downplays project impacts and fails to present a viable pl

International Rivers’ Statement on Nam Theun 2 Reservoir Flooding

Friday, April 11, 2008
The Nam Theun 2 Power Company, the Lao government and the World Bank announced that the Nam Theun 2 reservoir will begin filling this week with the sealing of the diversion tunnel. Dam gate closure to initiate full reservoir impoundment is planned for mid-June 2008. Shannon Lawrence, Lao Program Director for International Rivers, says: "By flooding the reservoir before addressing outstanding problems, Nam Theun 2 is once again prioritizing construction deadlines over social and environmental commitments. This two-track approach to such a risky project has left villagers unequipped to face the

Lao Dam Cover-Up: Scientist Protests Deceptive EIA Report

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The environmental scientist originally hired to conduct the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project in Laos has disassociated his group from the official report. Instead of accepting Dr. Murray Watson’s original – and highly critical – report, the Company ceased communicating with him and hired a Norwegian company, Norplan, to complete the EIA. Watson states that while the Norplan EIA claims to be based on his investigations, the EIA comes to different conclusions regarding the risks of the planned expansion project. According to Watson, “the N

Ruined Rivers, Damaged Lives

Ruined Rivers, Damaged Lives Cover
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The Impacts of the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Project on Downstream Communities in Lao PDR This report, commissioned by FIVAS, a Norwegian advocacy group, exposes the mounting social and environmental toll of the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Project in the decade since it was completed. The Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) is co-owned by Statkraft, a Thai power company and the Lao government. Ruined Rivers, Damaged Lives Cover The FIVAS investigation details increasingly severe flooding along the Hai and Hinboun Rivers over the last nine years largely due to water releases from the project.

Downstream Ecological Implications of China's Lancang Hydropower and Mekong Navigation project

Monday, January 1, 2001
China intends to develop Lancang or Mekong mainstream hydropower in Yunnan and make the Mekong mainstream navigable from Yunnan to the South China Sea, a distance of some 2,500 kilometers. This poses unprecedented environmental and social problems for the downstream countries Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Severe ecological deterioration of the Mekong River is a foregone conclusion if this plan proceeds. And of course the impacts will not be limited to the river. The downstream countries will be forced to undertake exhausting and largely futile efforts to protect themselves an

Downstream Impacts of Hydropower and Development of an International River

Monday, November 1, 2004
This paper describes the impacts of the Upper Mekong dams and Mekong navigation channel on the Mekong River hydrology and ecology and the livelihoods of communities living in Northern Thailand.

Will China's Rivers Survive the Next 20 Years?

Monday, August 15, 2005
Record-Breaking Dam Building Boom Could Make Free-Flowing Rivers an Endangered Species World Rivers Review, August 2005 For 20 years, International Rivers has focused a bright light on some of China's most controversial dam projects. For most of those years, it was difficult for Chinese citizens to organize around the issue of large dams or speak out against specific projects. But in recent years, a number of NGOs in China have begun to take on the role of monitoring China's dam plans – perhaps the most extensive river-engineering plan in the history of the world. Author Ma J

Dams in the Sekong basin: Environmental overviews fail to see Cambodia

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Norconsult’s initial environmental examinations for the environmental impact assessments for the Sekong 4 and Nam Kong 1 dams recognize many of the inevitable impacts of these projects on the environment and people living along these rivers in the Sekong River Basin in southern Laos. However, these IEEs fail to refer to the impacts of these projects on people living downstream in Cambodia. Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia, Ian Porter, and other proponents of large hydroelectric dams invariably claim that these dams produce electricity that is “environmenta


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