Environment at risks with Mekong dams

VNA 29 June 2010

Hydro-power projects on the Mekong river were of major concerns at a two-day workshop closed in Ho Chi Minh City on June 29 under the sponsorship of the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

Le Duc Trung, Director General of the Vietnam National Mekong Committee, raised fears that Vietnam would be the victim if dams of 12 hydro-power projects designed by lower reach MRC members are built on the main tributary of the Mekong River , although none of them lies on Vietnam ’s territory.

These projects are scheduled to be built on the Cambodian, Lao and Thai territories.

“ Vietnam has therefore been of great concerns over the research results on the projects, especially impacts on agriculture and fisheries likely caused by their dams,” Trung said.

The senior expert added that Vietnam also paid attention to solutions to mitigating negative impacts on the environment penetrated by hydro-power projects as well as measures to put into full use benefits brought in by these projects.

His views were echoed by a majority of participants, who cited saltine infiltration among possible damages to the environment and living conditions to the Mekong River basin .

The workshop, that drew representatives from six member of the MRC including China and Myanmar, will provide member countries with foundation to consider and decide on the construction of hydro-power projects along the main tributary in line with rules that govern MRC members developing tributaries.

These rules call for member countries to inform, exchange hydrological data and reach agreements before embarking on any project.

Also on discussion was a plan to build eight similar projects on the upper reach of the Mekong River on the Chinese territory./.