The Lower Sesan II dam in Cambodia’s Stung Treng province has resulted in inundation of seasonal wetlands, relocation and the fragmentation of local communities. Previously self-sufficient communities are struggling as they become low-income wage labor in distant cities but face mounting debts, economic insecurity, homesickness, and mental stress. Community leaders are striving to invest in education for local youth to gain a better future.
Ethnic communities relate their stories of resettlement by the Pleikrong dam in the Se San River in Vietnam’s Central highlands: unfair compensation, poor or infertile soils, and lack access to their forests has degraded their livelihoods and made them cheap wage labourers.
To protect their forest and river, the Areng Valley’s Chong indigenous community keeps on fighting to stop the hydropower dam project, and to fight for their identity to be recognized by the Cambodian officials.
If built, the Sambo dam will displace more than 20,000 people, affect livelihoods of many thousands more, and disrupt fish migrations including critical deep pool fish habitats. It is time to rethink hydropower as an energy generation source. Why do we need dams that destroy people’s lives and rivers when there are cleaner and safer renewable energy options for Cambodia?
In Thailand, communities still suffer impacts of the World Bank’s Pak Mun Dam over 25 years after construction started. Whilst fisheries are decimated, and the communities’ fishing culture largely lost, compensation is inadequate. Yuka Kiguchi asks what are the responsibilities of the World Bank and Government for restitution and redress?
Women fishers in Kratie Province, Cambodia are concerned about plans for the Don Sahong Dam upstream in Laos. They worry that the river’s fisheries and the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin will be affected. Working with civil society groups, they have raised their voice through a campaign that has involved both protest and radio shows.
The Ywarthit Dam in Karenni State, Myanmar is a huge hydropower project planned for the Salween River. To date communities living nearby have not been consulted, and there is little attention by the media or wider public. Ko Thaike highlights the social and environmental impacts of the project, and says it’s time we talked about it.
Riverbank erosion along the Xe Bang Fai River in central Laos caused by the Nam Theun 2 hydropower dam creates problems for villagers’ riverbank crops, homes and livelihoods. Without compensation or assistance from the company, and with concern about their future, villagers are starting to plan their own protection strategy.
The Mekong Delta Study initiated by Government of Vietnam (2013-2015) aimed to look at the impacts of Mekong mainstream hydropower on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta that is the rice and fruit production centre for Vietnam. But the weak study process ignored local people’s concerns and has failed to protect the Mekong Delta and its communities.
Originally lauded as a model for the world, the 1995 Mekong Agreement has since demonstrated legal ambiguities, gaps and limitations, especially in regulating dam construction. Rémy Kinna argues that 20 years on, the UN Watercourses Convention, the most authoritative global treaty on international rivers, can strengthen and revitalise it.