Dam in Mekong River not hindering water flow: Lao officials

Xinhua Net –

Lao government officials have dismissed social media reports that the Xayaboury dam in northern Laos is slowing the flow of water to downstream sections of the Mekong River.

The dam is built on the run-of-river model, which does not require water to be stored, local daily Vientiane Times on Monday quoted Somphith Keovichith, Lao director general of the Department of Energy Business under the Ministry of Energy and Mines as saying.

Water inflow equals water outflow, which is the concept behind a run-of-river dam. Due to unseasonably low rainfall, the level of the lower Mekong and other rivers in Laos has fallen significantly, and rice farmers have been suffering the effects, Somphith said.

The low level of the Mekong has been attributed to unusually low rainfall in Luang Prabang province, some 220 km north of the capital Vientiane, Xayaboury province, some 300 km north of capital Vientiane, and in areas of the Xayaboury dam, some 350 km upstream of Vientiane capital.

From January to July of 2019, the amount of rain recorded was the lowest in the last 10 years, said Somphith.

According to an announcement issued by the company which operates the Xayaboury dam, a trial run of electricity generation was conducted from July 15 to Monday ahead of engaging in full-scale electricity production for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) by the end of 2019.

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