Cambodia: Member countries of the Mekong River Commission request the Lao govt. to carry out impact studies before Pak Lay hydropower dam construction

Author: Sotheary Pech, Khmer Times, Published on: 18 January 2019

"Laos urged to conduct impact studies", 18 January 2019

Member countries of the Mekong River Commission have sent a request to the Lao government to carry out thorough impact studies prior to the construction of the Pak Lay hydropower dam in order to minimise risks in the future...

Watt Botkosal, deputy secretary-general of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, ... said during an MRC forum in Luang Probang, Laos, that the proposed dam is about 1,000 kilometres away from Cambodia and that the Lao government needs to conduct thorough assessments with MRC member countries before breaking ground.

“When there’s a dam being constructed there will be a cut off of fish migration, which is important for agriculture and biodiversity,” Mr Botkosal said. “Changes to the nature of the river affect social economy and livelihoods of people living along the river.”...

Satit Phiromchai, a representative of the Thai National Mekong Committee Secretariat, ... said the Thai government is also concerned about the impacts of the dam on fish, agriculture and Thailand’s economy.

“We suggest more clarity on the standards of the design and we request for a simulation of what would happen if the dam collapses,” Mr Satit said...

Phakkavanh Phissamay, deputy director-general of Laos’ Environment Ministry’s natural resources department, ... said her government has carried out ten years of studies with a design firm and international consultants to lay a solid foundation for the Pay Lay hydropower project.

Ms Phakkavanh said the Lao government has also complied with national and international guidelines prior to consultation with the MRC.

“This shows that the government of Lao PDR attaches great importance in development projects and is committed to sustainable development and the well-being of people,” she said...

MRC CEO An Pich Hatda ... said the consultation process helps facilitate discussions between member countries and non-governmental institutions involved.

“These concerns and suggestions will be recorded formally and treated highly in our technical review report to be submitted to the member countries,” he said...

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