Hydropower Development on the Mekong and 3S

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  • 1. University of Canterbury Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering 31 Aug 2011, Stimson Center, Washington DC, USA Dr. Thanapon Piman and Dr. Tom Cochrane Hydropower Dams on the Mekong and “3S” Rivers: A Regional Environmental and Socioeconomic Perspective
  • 2. Content
    • Basin-wide overview
    • MRC Basin Development Plan
    • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)-ICEM
    • Hydropower simulations in the 3S basin
    • Development in the 3S basin
    • Mekong mainstream dams vs. 3S dams
    • Strategic planning and decision making
    • IWRM-based basin development strategy
    • Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) for the Xayaburi mainstream dam
  • 3.
    • Basin-wide overview
  • 4. Snapshot of the Mekong basin Rich in water = 6,950 m 3 /person/year Low volume of water stored in reservoirs 13.54 billion m 3 (active volume) = 219 m 3 /person (2007) GDP per capita Rich in biodiversity 17 of 60 million people are poor
  • 5. 1995 Mekong Agreement Mekong River Commission (MRC)’s role in sustainable development of water and related resources
    • Monitoring - river flow, water quality, sediment, salinity, fisheries;
    • Knowledge base - building capacity, sharing knowledge and good practice;
    • Enabling framework - implementation of procedures under the 1995 Agreement, providing advice to government decision-makers;
    • Basin-wide planning - understanding of cumulative impacts of development options and interactions between sectors.
  • 6. Assessment of basin-wide development scenarios
    • Assess cumulative impact of development on environmental, social and economic objectives of the LMB countries
    • To identify opportunities and risks of current and future developments
    • To prepare a “Basin Development Strategy”
    BL UMD DF 20Y w/o MD 20Y w/o LMD 20Y w/o TMD 20Y w/o CMD 20Y with all MD LTD VHD
  • 7. Changes in flow and water level
    • Flow regimes will change significantly in Definite Future Scenario, mainly caused by regulation of hydropower developments in Lancang River
    • Dry season flow will increase while wet season flow will decrease
    • All scenarios in 20-Year Plan Scenarios and Long-Term Scenarios add smaller further changes to Definite Future situation
    Definite Future (Black) Baseline (Red) Long-Term (Blue) 20-Year Plan (Green) Vientiane
  • 8. Changes in river bed and bank erosion Chiang Saen Nong Khai Pakse Strungteng Delta
    • Cause:
    • Reduction of sediment entering to Mekong mainstream
    Alluvial Alluvial Bedrock Bedrock
    • No major change in bedrock reaches
    • Sandbars from Nong Kai to Pakse are readily erodible
    • Some sediment loss may occur immediately downstream of Kratie and changes in Delta will be visible in long term including coastal erosion
  • 9. Impact on environment hotspots
    • 32 environmental hotspots identified: Ramsar sites, biosphere reserves, protected areas, Important Bird Areas (IBA’s)
    • Major causes are
    • Definite future
    • Change in flow and flood patterns
    • Foreseeable future and long term
    • Change in sedimentation, nutrient and water quality
    • Change in wetland habitats (deep pools, sandbars and rapids) and productivity
    • Blockage of migration route
    • Climate change
    • High impact by proposed developments in the 20-Year Plan Scenario with all 11 LMB mainstream dams
  • 10. www.themegallery.com Company Logo
  • 11. Reduction of salinity intrusion Baseline-dry year 20Y Plan-dry year Reduction in salinity intrusion mainly caused by increase in dry season flow of the current developments in the Definite Future Scenarios (272,000 hectares)
  • 12. Impact on capture fisheries yield
    • Capture fisheries yield is estimated based on habitats: river-floodplain, rain-fed and permanent water include reservoirs
    • Reduction will mainly happen in river-floodplain habitat due to many factors i.e. barrier, flow changes, habitat loss
    • Major losses in capture fisheries yield caused by two mainstream dams in Cambodia
    • The losses are particularly severe in Cambodia and Viet Nam Delta
    Thailand Cambodia Viet Nam Delta Lao PDR Viet Nam Highland
  • 13. Impact on vulnerable resource users
    • Definite Future : 0.9 million people at some risk of loss of livelihood in near future
    • 20-Year Plan without mainstream dams: + 0.5 million at risk
    • 20-Year Plan with all 11 mainstream dams: + 4.4 million at risk
    • Cambodia and Viet Nam are most impacted
  • 14. SEA of the hydropower on the mainstream Mekong
    • To provide a broader understanding of the risks and opportunities of proposed 11 mainstream projects
    • To bring together the two decision-making spheres IWRM decision making & Power sector
  • 15. www.themegallery.com Company Logo km 2 km
  • 16. Capture fish production
  • 17. Livelihoods
    • 2.1 million people, ~10% of people living & working within 5 km of the river, are expected to be most at risk:
    • Direct impacts: 106,942 people
    • Indirect impacts: 2 million people
    www.themegallery.com Company Logo
  • 18. Strategic options of to LMB countries
    • 1. No mainstream dams
    • 2. Deferred decision on all mainstream dams for a set period
    • 3. Gradual development of mainstream power
    • 4. Market driven development of the proposed mainstream projects
    • The SEA team main recommendation:
    • Decisions on mainstream dams should be deferred for a period of ten years (strategic option 2) with reviews every three years to ensure that essential deferment‐period activities are being conducted effectively.
  • 19.
    • Hydropower simulations in the 3S basin
  • 20. Objectives
    • To assess how existing and future hydropower development and operation in the 3S rivers can change flow regimes at critical points in the basin
    • To compare changes in flows and water levels in the Mekong induced by development in the 3S basin
      • current development in the Mekong (including China dams)
      • proposed mainstream dams in the Lower Mekong Basin
    • To provide strategic options for dam development and operations in the 3S basin
  • 21. Study area: 3S basin
    • A transboundary river basin in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam
    • Hydropower development is accelerating
    • Significant flow contribution to the Mekong river ( 17-20%)
    • Rich biodiversity and ecosystem services: fish, habitats, and migration routes
  • 22. Se San, Sre Pok, and Sre Kong
  • 23. Simulated scenarios
    • Levels of hydropower development
    • Baseline scenario (BL)
    • No dams
    • Definite future scenario (DF)
    • Existing and under construction dams
    • Development in main tributaries scenario (DMT)
    • DF plus proposed dams in main tributaries
    • Development in main and sub tributaries scenario (DMST )
    • DMT plus proposed dams in sub tributaries or All dams
  • 24. Simulated scenarios DF DMT DMST
  • 25. Simulated scenarios
  • 26. Hydrologic modelling
    • SWAT model (ARCSWAT and SWAT 2005)
    • Set up and calibration by MRC (2010)
    • Simulation period 1986-2006
    • Divided into 118 subbasins
  • 27. Reservoir operation modelling
    • Hec Ressim model (Version 3.0)
    • Set up by UC (2011)
    • Simulation period 1986-2006
    • 41 dams are modelled
  • 28. Seasonal flow changes
  • 29. Impact of operation rules
  • 30. Mekong mainstream dams Manwan 1995 Dochushan 2003 Xiaowan 2010 Jinghong 2007
  • 31. Installed capacity vs Active storage
  • 32. Changes in Mekong mainstream flows
  • 33. Changes in Mekong mainstream WL
  • 34. Potential downstream impacts Wetland and habitats Stung Treng reach
  • 35. Potential downstream impacts
    • Impact of 3S development flood levels of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong Delta
  • 36. Collaborations
    • MRC – Detailed hydrological modelling of 3S dams, Chinese dams, and other LMB dams
    • NHI – Sediment dynamics and re-operation of dams
    • WWF – Impacts to habitat and river geomorphology between Stung Treng and Kratie
  • 37. Conclusions
    • Water level changes in the Mekong River:
    • 3S projects Chinese dams 11 mainstream LMB dams
    • The way dam operations are managed can have a significant effect on flow changes and electricity production
      • Operation under energy focused to maximize power production results in the largest modification of downstream flow patterns.
  • 38. Final comments and Recommendations
    • Strategic selection of dams and a coordinated management of dams operated under a wider set of rules among projects needed to minimize changes to natural flow pulses.
      • Are the 7 large dams in Cambodia and Laos economically feasible given their large potential impact?
      • Assess changes in sediment flows, dam trapping, water quality, ecosystems, and social and economic impacts:
        • overall costs and benefits
        • provide more comprehensive strategic options for dam development
      • Simulations at hourly intervals to investigate fluctuations in intra-daily flows and durations
      • Climate change
  • 39.
    • Strategic planning and decision making
  • 40. Planning cycle
  • 41. IWRM-based basin development strategy
    • The IWRM-based Basin Development Strategy was approved by the MRC Council during its 17th Meeting on 26 January 2011
    • The strategy sets out how the LMB countries will share, utilize, manage and conserve the Mekong water and related resources to achieve the goals of the 1995 Mekong Agreement
    • It also provides initial directions for sustainable basin development and management that are subject to review and updating every 5 years
  • 42. Strategic Priorities for basin development
    • Address opportunities and risks of current developments (to 2015)
    • Expand and intensify irrigated agriculture for food security
    • Enhance environmental and social sustainability of hydropower development
    • Acquire essential knowledge to address uncertainty and minimize risks of the identified development opportunities
    • Identify options for sharing development benefits and risks
    • Prepare Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and initiate its implementation
    • 7. Integrate basin planning considerations into national planning systems
  • 43. Strategic Priorities for basin management
    • Define basin objectives and management strategies for water-related sectors, including fisheries and navigation
    • Strengthen national-level water resources management processes, including water resources monitoring, licensing and data and information management
    • Strengthen basin-level water resources and related management processes, including the implementation of MRC procedures, state of basin monitoring and reporting, and project cycle monitoring
    • Develop basin-wide environmental and social objectives and baseline indicators
    • 5. Implement capacity building programme for transboundary water resources management
  • 44. Implementation of the Strategy
    • The Strategy defines a clear Roadmap setting out priority actions, timeframe and outcomes of Strategy implementation
    • An early action in the Roadmap is the preparation in 2011 of a Basin Action Plan comprising a Regional Action Plan and four complementary and consistent National Indicative Plans
    • National Indicative Plans will comprise those additional actions needed to supplement current national plans in order to implement the Strategy
    • These actions will vary, reflecting individual country focus areas and priorities
  • 45. Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) for the Xayaburi mainstream dam
    • PNPCA process is a requirement of the 1995 Mekong Agreement for countries to jointly review any development project proposed for the mainstream with an aim to reach a consensus on whether or not it should proceed, and if so, under what conditions.
    • Prior consultation is an inter-governmental process. Several technical groups have been established to support Member Countries with the Xayaburi prior consultation.
    • A Joint Committee Working Group
    • A PNPCA Task Group is undertaking a technical review
    • Input on specific issues is provided by external specialists including Expert Groups on Fisheries and Sediments
  • 46. Road Map guides the MRC Member Countries during the prior consultation process.        Xayaburi’s Prior Consultation Road Map
  • 47. Xayaburi Project
  • 48. Road Map guides the MRC Member Countries during the prior consultation process.        Final decision making
    • 19 APRIL 2011 , Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam agreed that a decision on the prior consultation process for the proposed Xayaburi hydropower project be tabled for consideration at the ministerial level , as they could not come to a common conclusion on how to proceed with the project
    • May 13, 2011, Statement on Lao Government Decision to Delay Xayaburi Dam . The announcement was the result of a meeting between the Prime Ministers of Laos and Vietnam during last weekend’s 18 th ASEAN Summit. Laos stated that it has temporarily suspended the project in order for an expert review to be completed
  • 49. Thank You