Chinese studies on impacts of dams

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3rd Mekong Forum on Water, Food & Energy. Presentation from Session 17: Governance, institutions and decision-making about dams.

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Chinese studies on impacts of dams

  1. 1. 3rd Mekong Forum, 19-21 November, Hanoi, Vietnam Session 17: Governance, institutions and decision-making about dams. Chinese Studies on Impacts of Dams Xing Lyu Yunnan University, Kunming, China
  2. 2. The Lancang Cascade Dams
  3. 3. Key actors and Relations Local gov’t Yunnan Provincial Government National Agencies NDRC, MoWR, MoEP and MoLR YASAC Local entity users Ecosystem Water & Land Resources Households and communities Huaneng Lancang (Huaneng, YEIC and Hongta) VS Dachaoshang HP Consulting Companies CIECC, WRHPDGI, CHKEC and other experts SASAC 2003
  4. 4. Justification: Developers’ perspective • Abundant water resources are barely exploited • Increasing and unevenly demands ought to be met and offset • Economy/local livelihoods are indisputably promoted • HP is green and renewable energy
  5. 5. Justifications: Consultants’ perspective • Abundant water resources and technically viable • Demand mainly from Eastern China while Yunnan and Guizhou are potential suppliers • Flow changed to benefit navigation • Local revenue and income increased so that social agenda can be pushed • Fuel-wood (less tree cutting) partially substituted by electricity
  6. 6. Justifications: Perspective of officials and scholars connected to gov’t • HP is a silver bullet to economic development • HP is technical viable to Yunnan • HP with huge regulating capacity can offset the seasonality • HP is well studies
  7. 7. Question • Questions: – How can the claimed justifications be validated if there is no information available to public? – How can these claims, rather than social and environment costs, be easily included in decision making? – ……
  8. 8. Impacts on: hydrology • Flow reduced in July, August and September • Sediments continuously reduced at Jinghong while that at Chiangsaen started to increase since 1997 • Thick sediments at Jinghong not correlated to that at Chiangsaen but fine sediment does • Surface water temperature increased before dams and decreased after dams
  9. 9. Impacts on: Biodiversity • • • • • • • Habitats threatened around dams Green algae increased and charophyta decreased Birds increased around dam because of food Fish species with contradictory findings A ratio of 1:5.6 of environmental gain over loss 9 plant communities threated …………..
  10. 10. Impact on: Livelihoods • More than 60,000 people to be reallocated and more affected • Large productive farmland land and forests taken • Income of affected people decreased in early projects • Income sources changed and depended more on seasonal labor wage and compensation and less agriculture • …….
  11. 11. More questions • Are critiques reliable given their limited scope of study? • What are the cumulative impacts of cascade dams? • How can various studies’ findings or critiques be included in dialogue or decision making? • Can the claimed national interests (?) transcend local communities’ and environment interests? • …….
  12. 12. Thanks!

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