WWF calls for delay in dams' construction on Mekong River

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Construction on any dam projects along the Mekong River's lower mainstream should be delayed for ten years to ensure a comprehensive review of their impacts, the World Wild Life announced Thursday.
 

The WWF issued the statement amid controversy over the construction of 12 proposed dams on the world's tenth longest river.

 

The statement came a little more than a month prior to the consultation deadline for construction of the Xayaburi dam in Northern Laos.

 

Early this month, the Laos government told the other three stakeholders (Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand) in the Mekong River Commission that they had until April 22 to officially comment on their proposed construction of the first dam to be built on the mainstream of the Mekong.

 

The international NGO warned that the Thai developers of the Xayaburi should have learned their lessons from the failed Mun River dam in Thailand, according to the international agency.

The international NGO warned that the Thai developers of the Xayaburi should have learned their lessons from the failed Mun River dam in Thailand, according to the international agency.

The international NGO warned that the Thai developers of the Xayaburi should have learned their lessons from the failed Mun River dam in Thailand, according to the international agency.

Built in the early 1990s, the Thai dam has decimated fish populations and displaced local residents.

 

Energy yields from the US$233 million-project fell to a third of expected capacity during the dry season and return on investment dropped from a projected 12 percent to five percent.

 

The WWF warned that similar risks may accompany the Xayaburi project, due to critical gaps in the understanding of fisheries and sediment movements within Asia's most biodiverse rivers.

 

WWF also criticized a recently-released feasibility study, saying that it "blandly" assures people that impacts of the dam will be low "without providing anything much to justify this optimism."

 

Last year the MRC's independent scientific review underlined the grave environmental and economic impact from the dams' construction, calling for a decade-long moratorium on any damming of the river's main stream.
 

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