A scientific study report last month, August 2009, revealed that the proposed Don Sahong Dam in Champasack Province, Laos, could have a negative impact on millions of people in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, as it will threaten a large fish spawning area in Laos.
The study report, which was written by Dr. Ian Baird, from the University of Victoria, Canada, states that the building of the Don Sahong Dam in the Mekong River's mainstream, in southern Laos, could threaten the food security of millions of people who live in the lower Mekong Basin.
Although this research report neither provides the details of the real effect resulting from this power dam building may have on people's lives, nor can it specify whether the dam building could make the fish population in the Mekong River extinct completely, it do point out that the Don Sahong Dam would block the migration of many fish species that pass through the Liphi Falls area throughout the year. These migrations are crucial to the fishes' lifecycle. And, the fisheries loss in the Lower Mekong region could negatively impact the lives of millions of people who depend on these fisheries, especially those who live in parts of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
Moreover, the report says, the mitigation measures proposed in the project's draft environmental impact assessment of the Don Sahong Dam development group are likely to be ineffective. Although, developer group's proposal presents to widen an adjacent channel, it will be highly risky as it is exceeding what the group has estimated.
The scientific analysis community
sent the report to the Lao and Cambodian governments to urge them to find
alternative options for meeting their countries' development needs, which would
preserve the natural and better support people's food security in their
For its part, the coalition of international environmental organizations insists that it will continue to oppose the construction of hydropower dams on the Mekong River and will endlessly maintain its campaign to raise awareness among Thai people to oppose the purchase of electricity from Laos and Myanmar. This is because Thai government has agreed in principal that it will buy electricity from Laos in the amount of approximately 7,000 MGW by 2015, which this coalition finds that it exceeds the real energy needs in Thailand.
Songrit Pongern reported from
Bangkok on 09/07/09. (English translation by Buasawan Simmala)