Laos urged to conduct impact studies

Khmer Times –

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.

Last year, the Lao government suspended the approval of new dams after the collapse of the Se-Pian Se Nam Noi hydropower dam caused dozens of deaths and left scores missing.

Watt Botkosal, deputy secretary-general of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, yesterday 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.”

“A dam sometimes poses a risk when it collapses because it would bring raging water downstream,” he added.

He noted that before proceeding, the Lao government and its development partners must avoid all potential disasters, such as the collapse of the dam last year.

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