Laos starts construction on Don Sahong hydropower project

Cambodia Construction News Laos Vietnam

Laos starts construction on Don Sahong hydropower projectVietnam, which is located on the lower course of the Mekong River, is expected to see fish resources decline and erosion and saline intrusion increase because of the new hydropower plant in Laos.

KPL News has reported that the commencement ceremony of the construction of Don Sahong hydropower plant took place on August 16 in Champasak in the south of Laos.

This is the second hydropower dam on the Mekong River built by Laos.

The construction of Don Sahong hydropower plant began in October 2015 with 8 percent of the construction works fulfilled.

The plant has designed capacity of 260 MW and investment capital of $500 million.

Don Sahong is an important part of the Lao government plan to get one more source of revenue from electricity exports.

However, since Don Sahong is situated on the mainstream of thevMekong, the project has been facing strong opposition from international organizations and neighboring countries on the lower course of Mekong.

The countries, including Vietnam, have expressed their concern that the dam will result in big changes of the Mekong’s flow. It will make the volume of sediment going downstream decrease, and disrupt aquatic stream, thus bringing losses to the communities in the lower course areas.

At the 2015 Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food, and Energy held in Phnom Penh in October 2015, experts warned that the existing fish volume is likely to decrease sharply in the next years, thus raising concern about regional food security.

In June 2015, the negotiation of the four members of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand – finished with no agreement reached.

According to the Vietnam National Mekong Committee, fish output exploited from the Mekong has been decreasing.

It is estimated that the fish volume in Mekong River’s lower course is worth $7 billion a year, more than half of which is located in Vietnam and Cambodia. The fish consumption level is 46 kilos per head per annum.

The warning about fish resources, landslides and disappearance of cultivation areas in Vietnam has become true. The saltwater intrusion in this year’s dry season caused damage to 200,000 hectares of rice fields and 2,000 hectares of shrimp areas.

Vu Trong Hong, chair of the Vietnam Water Resources Association, showed his concern when talking about solutions to declining water resources in the Mekong Delta.

“There are two floodwater containing areas in Mekong Delta – Dong Thap Muoi and Long Xuyen Quadrangle. However, the areas are getting narrow because people have built houses and paved roads,” he said.