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German government provides $0.6 million for MRC’s dam impact monitoring

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
German Ambassador to Laos, Jens Lütkenherm, addresses the attendees at the handover ceremony in Vientiane. MRC

The German government today provided equipment worth $0.6 million to support the Mekong River Commission’s pilot programme on impact monitoring of two dams.

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The projects run from this year to next year.

The equipment includes sediment and discharge monitoring tools, microscopes, water quality loggers, algae torches, a boat, fish tags and traps, and GPS devices.

At the handover ceremony in Vientiane attended by German embassy staff, the MRC Secretariat and the Secretary-General of the Lao National Mekong Committee, German Ambassador to Laos Jens Lütkenherm, said Germany acknowledges that hydropower development can offer a high potential for economic growth.

He said it also poses great challenges in terms of adverse transboundary impacts on the environment and people’s socio-economic well-being.

“We support the MRC in monitoring the impacts from the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams and in advising the four governments on measures to reduce the adverse cross-border environmental impacts,” he said.

“With the equipment provided by Germany today, we will be able to collect key data to inform us on the effectiveness of the dam facilities, including fish passes and sediment flushing gates,” said An Pich Hatda, MRC Secretariat Chief Executive Officer.

“This is the first but crucial step for us to identify some practical adaptive management actions and initial mitigation measures that could eventually help address some of the potential impacts from the two dams,” Pich Hatda said.

Germany has been a traditional funding partner of the MRC since it was founded in 1995, the MRC’s statement said, adding that it has provided both technical and financial support to the MRC worth about $59 million.

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