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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
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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
Road Map guides the MRC Member Countries during the prior consultation process. Xayaburi’s Prior Consultation Road Map
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