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Laos: Protests continue against Xayaburi Dam for the reduced river flow and risk of livelihood crisis as it begins operations
Author: Panu Wongcha-um, Reuters, Published on: 10 November 2019
"New Mekong dam in Laos opens to protests, dried-out downstream", 28 Oct 2019
The first hydropower dam on the lower Mekong River began commercial operations in Laos…amid protests from villagers in Thailand who say the Xayaburi Dam and several others in the works will destroy their livelihoods.
The…Xayaburi Dam's debut coincides with parts of the Mekong drying to a trickle even at the end of the rainy season, though its builders and operators say it is not responsible for the reduced river flow…
The new spate of dam-building is poised to turbo-charge already-fraught water and food security disputes after years of worry about the 11 existing Beijing-built dams on the upper Mekong in China are choking the river on which millions depend for their livelihoods in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam…
"When Xayaburi dam officially generates electricity ... we won't be able to know how the river will change and how bad it will deteriorate, said activist Montri Chanthawong.
About 150 km (90 miles) to the south of Xayaburi, the fishing village of Ban Namprai is having its driest year in living memory…
Xayaburi's main developers, Thailand's CK Power PCL , blamed the dried-up patches of riverbed downstream on late monsoon rains and an upstream Chinese dam.
CK Power, a subsidiary of Thai construction company CH. Karnchang Public Company Limited , declined requests for interviews from Reuters and did not respond to written questions.
Its Facebook page features videos of special 6 billion baht ($200 million) "fish ladders" and sediment gates that CK Power says will ensure the Mekong's fragile ecosystem of fish migration and the sediment crucial to farming in Vietnam's Mekong Delta will not be harmed.
The company will invest in "the most sustainable manner", Thanawat Trivisvavet, CK Power's managing director, said in an article in a local newspaper…