5 September 2014 | IMNA News - Independent Mon News Agency
A three-day workshop was held along the Salween (Thanlwin) River in which reports and monographs were read and discussions were held regarding the negative effects from dam construction along the river. The workshop took place September 2-4 at Moulmein (Mawlamyine) University in the Mon State capital of Moulmein.
More than 230 representatives participated in the workshop, including members of Thai environmental groups, experts from China, academic experts on environmental and other issues, and members of Mon civil society organizations.
The workshop, entitled “Workshop on Socioeconomics and Ecosystem Values of the Thanlwin River: Towards Trans-boundary Management Framework and Research Collaboration Network,” was held at the Mawlamyine University convention hall in Moulmein City.
“[During the workshop] academic experts [held] discussions about the 16 dams that have or will be built along the Salween River. They mainly discussed the consequences of blocking river water,” said U Min Min Nwe, a member of the workshop organizing committee.
U Min Min Nwe continued that after the workshop those who made presentations at the workshop will travel along the Salween River on September 5th in order to observe the communities and locals residing along the river and meet with locals to interview them about the changes that have effected them.
The workshop was organized by the Renewable Energy Association of Myanmar (REAM) and Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA). It was held to foster discussion amongst respective university researchers and experts regarding the ecosystem and resources of the Salween River.
“An expert who focuses on the Salween River said at the workshop that it’s completely not suitable to construct dams on the Salween River,” said workshop attendee Ko Kyi Zaw Lwin.
According to the Myanmar River Watch, dam construction along the Salween River will cause negative effects, not only to local residents and their farms, but it may also negatively impact the ongoing peace talks and nationwide ceasefire negotiations between the government and armed ethnic groups.
According to records and reports from networks working for rivers in Burma, certain companies—particularly the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT); the China Three Gorges Project Development Corporation (CTGPDC); Shwe Taung Hydropower Company; and Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise have gotten involved in dam construction projects along the Salween River. Reportedly, none of these companies have informed local communities about the potential negative impacts of dam construction on the river.