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Stakeholders visiting dam call Lao Hydro developer to share data

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Water level downstream of the Xayaburi dam during the construction stage in November 2018. Supplied

Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese stakeholders have urged Xayaburi hydropower developer to share information on its hydropower plant in northern Laos, Mekong River Commission said.

In a statement released yesterday, the Vientiane-based intergovernmental agency said the comments were made during a visit to the plant on February 7.

The 1,260-megawatt plant, which includes the first dam across the mainstream of the Mekong River outside China, started operating late last year.

Chea Narin from the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy said Cambodia wanted to see the plant developer and owner continue addressing past concerns and share more information with the MRC Secretariat.

“The dam operation rules should also be shared with the MRC Secretariat and the other MRC member countries so that coordinated operations of the dams on the mainstream of the Mekong could be established,” he said.

Patchara Jaturakomol, a researcher from Thailand’s Kasetsart University, said in the statement that an absence of flow data sharing made her think the facility was storing water.

“It’s hard not to think that the dam isn’t storing the water when you saw the water levels on the upstream and downstream of the dams are different,” she said.

Nguyen Nhan Quang, from the Vietnamese Centre for Promotion of Integrated Water Resources Management, said data on sediment and fish migration above and below the dam should be shared along with information on power generation.

Anoulak Kittikhoun, chief strategy and partnership officer at the MRC Secretariat, said the agency wants stakeholders to see the dam and its operation with their own eyes and pose questions to the developer so they could make their own assessments.

“The MRC wants the site visit to speak for itself regarding the situation of low flows and drought in the Mekong,” he said.

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