Lower Mekong Mainstream and Tributary Dams

A renewed push to build hydropower dams on the lower Mekong mainstream is threatening the river’s ecosystems, aquatic resources and the fishery-dependent livelihoods of millions of people.

The governments of Laos, Thailand and Cambodia have granted permission to Thai, Malaysian, Vietnam, Russia, and Chinese companies to conduct feasibility studies for the construction of twelve large hydropower dams on the lower Mekong mainstream, including: Pak Beng, Xayabouri, Pak Lay, Sanakham in northern Laos, Don Sahong, Lat Sua and Thakho in southern Laos, Pak Chom and Ban Koum on the Thai-Lao border, Strung Treng and Sambor, in Cambodia. [See MAP]

The adverse transboundary impacts of large hydro dams on fisheries and fishing based-livelihoods have already affected thousands of communities on the banks of the Upper Mekong and the tributaries to the Lower Mekong.  Scientists, hydro-power consultants, community organisations and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) have confirmed the links between fish productivity and biodiversity in addition to the links between maintained seasonal water flows and connectivity among the river’s diverse habitats and ecosystems.  Research published by the MRC in 2004 identifies dams built for such purposes as irrigation, hydroelectricity and flood control as the “the overriding threat to the future of the Mekong’s fish and fisheries”. Most recently, in a 2007 report by the Cambodian National Mekong Committee and the WorldFish Center, the loss of even a small percentage of fisheries in the Mekong basin was found to represent thousands of tonnes and millions of dollars worth of fish, threatening the food and income security of people who rely on the Mekong for their way of life.

Despite the enormous ecological, social and economic costs of damming the lower Mekong, plans for these mainstream dams are proceeding in secrecy and without consideration of the countries sharing the river.

The loss of resources to the people of the Mekong, the impacts to their livelihoods and cultures are unacceptable.  Livelihoods cannot be allowed to be surreptitiously traded for electricity to feed the emerging energy giants elsewhere. An open and transparent process with full participation of affected communities must be held, and the inequities between the cost to the local communities and benefit to richer metropolises must be held to public account. 

Requesting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, as the representative of Thai government to Mekong River Commission Council, to take an opposing stand against Lao PDR’s Don Sahong Dam Project and investigate all dam projects on the mainstrea

18 November 2013

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25 July 2016 | The Nation   The Water Resources Department has admitted it is beyond the Thai government’s power to challenge the Pak Beng Dam project in Laos and the only way to review the project is through the Mekong River Commission (MRC).  
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23 ​July 2016 | Montree Chantawong | Bangkok Post
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Mekong governments: Listen to the people! Statement by local people on dams in the Mekong Region We are people from local communities in the Mekong region, who depend on the eco-systems created by the Mekong river and numerous other rivers and lakes in the region, especially, the Tonle Sap, Sesan and Mekong Delta, for our food, health, livelihood, culture, society and incomes. The waters and resources of the Mekong region sustain our lives and economic security.
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17 August 2015 | The Nation PEOPLE in Vietnam hope Thailand will reconsider its plan to divert water from the Mekong - because it would seriously affect their ability to produce food. The Mekong Delta is Vietnam's most important agricultural area. Each year, the area produces the most rice and fruit in the country. This region also nurtures many freshwater fish species, which are an important source of protein for local people.
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24 August 2015 | The Nation Fishermen in delta and Northeast Thailand say dams in China and Laos have hit breeding and yields, forcing many to quit MEKONG River fishermen have already suffered dramatically from dams and irrigation works, which have decimated fish stocks and undermined livelihoods that supported families for generations.
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1 April 2015 | Denise Hruby | The Diplomat
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1 November 2014 | Will Jackson | The Phnom Penh Post
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20 October 2014 | Samean Yun and Richard Finney | Radio Free Asia
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3 October 2014 | Daniel Pye and Laignee Barron| Phnom Penh Post
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28 September 2014 | Thanh Nien News
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26 September 2014 | Vientiane Times
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18 September 2014 | Apinya Wipatayotin | Bangkok Post
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18 September 2014 | Ron Corben | Voice of America
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8 September 2014 | The Nation
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28 August 2014 | Eang Mengleng | Cambodia Daily
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27 August 2014 | Laignee Barron | Phnom Penh Post
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23 August 2014 | Paritta Wangkiat | Bangkok Post
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21 August 2014 | Bangkok Post
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20 August 2014 | Laignee Barron and Vong Sokheng | Phnom Penh Post
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31 July 2014 | Phouangphayom| Lao KPL News Online
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22 July 2014 | Supalak Ganjanakhundee, The Nation/Asia News Network | China Post
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16 July 2014 | Supalak Ganjanakhundee | The Nation
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26 Jun 2014 | Apinya Wipatayotin | Bangkok Post
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25 June 2014 | Laignee Barron | The Phnom Penh Post
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24 June 2014 | Amy Sawitta Lefevre | Reuters
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Thu, 19 June 2014 | Laignee Barron | Phnom Penh Post
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Phnom Penh Post 20 February 2014
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Bangkok Post 20 February 2014
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Phnom Penh Post 17 November 2013
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Bangkok Post 3 November 2013
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The Wall Street Journal 7 November 2012
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Phnom Penh Post 6 November 2012
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The Wall Street Journal 6 November 2012
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Phnom Penh Post 14 September 2012
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Bangkok Post 5 August 2012
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The Diplomat 2 August 2012
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Bangkok Post 1 August 2012
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Bangkok Post 29 July 2012 : Spectrum
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Phnom Penh Post 24 July 2012          
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Bangkok Post 21 July 2012
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Bangkok Post 18 July 2012
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Phnom Penh Post 16 July 2012
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Phnom Penh Post 28 June 2012
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RFA  22 June 2012
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Phnom Penh Post 23 April 2012
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Bangkok Post 27 February 2012 
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Bangkok Post 8 December 2011
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Bangkok Post 7 December 2011
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Bangkok Post 6 December 2011
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The Economist 12 November 2011 | from the print edition
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The Phnom Penh Post 10 November 2011 
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Bangkok Post 10 October 2011
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Phnom Penh Post 5 August 2011
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Phnom Penh Post 11 July 2011
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Women's eNews 4 July  2011
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Phnom Penh Post 24 June 2011
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The Phnom Penh Post 14 June 2011  By Adam Miller and May Titthara KbalL Romea village sits in an isolated corner of the eponymous district in Stung Treng province, on the banks of the Sesan River. Livestock roams freely in the community, while local villagers mill about among the wooden homes along the river bank. Residents of Kbal Romea say their way of life has not changed for decades.
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RFA 10 June 2011
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The Economist 9 June 2011 | PHNOM PENH | from the print edition
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Thanh Nien Daily 3 June 2011
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VietNamNet Bridge 28 May 2011 
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Down to Earth 23 May 2011
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Thanh Nien News 13 May 2011
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Vientiane Times 12 May 2011
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VietNamNet Bridge 9 May 2011
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Bangkok Post 24 April 2011
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Bangkok Post 23 April 2011
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AAP [Australian Associated Press] 22 April 2011 
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Thanh Nien News 21 April 2011  
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Bangkok Post via AFP 20 April 2011
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Vientiane Times 20 April 2011
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BBC News 19 April 2011
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Vientiane Times 19 April 2011
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Phnom Penh Post 19 April 2011
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Bloomberg Markets Magazine 19 April 2011
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Radio Free Asia 19 April 2011
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Bangkok Post 18 April 2011
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Phnom Penh Post  18 April 2011 
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The Wall Street Journal 18 April 2011
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China Dialogue 18 April 2011
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Bangkok Post 17 April 2011
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The New York Times 17 April  2011
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Huffington Post 1 April 2011
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Vietnam News Agency 7 March 2011
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Economic Observer 22 November 2010
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VietNamNet 9 November 2010
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Bloomberg Markets Magazine 27 October 2010
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By Milton Osborne 25 October 2010
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The Diplimat 22 October 2010
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Bangkok Post 20 October 2010
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RFA 18 October 2010
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Phnom Penh Post 17 October 2010
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Bangkok Post 17 October 2010 EDITORIAL
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Thanh Nien News 15 October 2010
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Vancouver Sun 30 August 2010 
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Bangkok Post 24 August 2010  
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Bangkok Post 13 August 2010
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The Irrawaddy 12 August 2010
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Vietnam News Service 4 August 2010
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Bangkok Post 28 June 2010
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Asia Sentinel 2 June 2010    
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Caixin Online 15 April 2010
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The Phnom Penh Post 12 April 2010
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VietNamNet 12 April 2010
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The Phnom Penh Post 9 April 2010
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Phnom Penh Post 8 April 2010
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Bangkok Post 31 March 2010
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Bangkok Post 25 March 2010
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The Irrawaddy 17 March 2010
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Bangkok Post 15 March 2010
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Asia Times 13 March 2010
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Bangkok Post 12 March 2010
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Bangkok Post 10 March 2010
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Union of Catholic Asian News 10 March 2010
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The Irrawaddy 5 March 2010
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By Vientiane Times Reporters 1 February 2010
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Bangkok Post 3 October 2009
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The Cambodia Daily 22-23 August 2009
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 Bangkok Post 10 March 2009
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The Nation 5 November 2002
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New Scientist 13 July 1991
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