Discover the nature: Eco Lodges near Vientiane

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lao Power for Thailand: New dams on Bolaven Plateau affect the Dong Hua Sao National Biodiversity Conservation Area

See the locations on Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Hydroelectric Project Google Map

Picture by Piboon Boonsong
Houay Makchan River: Plans for a dam

Laos has signed a 32-year land lease with investors to develop the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric project according to emergingfrontiersblog.com. Lao Deputy Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Akhom Tounalom signed the agreement with the chief executive officer of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co, Young-Ju Choi, in Vientiane. Construction of the project in Attapeu and Champasak provinces is expected to start in July, with commercial operation planned for February 2019, project officials told The Vientiane Times. The initial investment cost of the project was about 2,100 billion kip (7.8 billion baht). The firm is a joint venture between the Lao government, which has a 24% stake, SK Engineering and Construction Co (26%), and the Korea Western Power Co and Thailand-based Ratchaburi Electric Generating Holding Plc with 25% each. The hydro dam is designed to produce 390 megawatts. Around 90% of the energy will be sold to Thailand with the rest for domestic consumption.

Picture by Piboon Boonsong
Xe Pian River: Plans for a dam

In this project, 1,000 MCM of water, which is received from Houay Makchan Dike and Xe Pian Dam, will be stored in Xe Namnoy Dam. The dams are located on the Bolaven Plateau while the power plants are installed at the base. The flow of water from the height of 630 meters by a 13.5-kilometer headrace tunnel to the powerhouse at the bottom of the Xe Kong Valley enables the generating of electricity. The water will then be discharged into Xe Kong River, notes teamgroup.co.th. Xe Kong River flows into Mekong River.

Picture by Piboon Boonsong
Xe Namnoy River: Plans for a dam

Thousands of people have been forcefully moved from their old villages between 1996 and 2001 along the Xe Pian and Xe Namnoy rivers to make way for two dams that were being planned at that time, the Houay Ho and Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower projects, as International Rivers reports. The dams then were not built because the Korean developer’s original plans ran aground during the Asian financial crisis. Two villages, Ban Houay Chot and Ban Nong Pha Nouan rejected the resettlement packages and stayed behind. Now this villagers are confronted with the beginning work. Unclear is, which consequences the project has for ethnic minority people in Cambodia living downstream along the Xe Kong River.

The dam projects are situated in Dong Hua Sao National Biodiversity Conservation Area, Read more about this Area on visitlaos.org and see photostream and comments by Ben. 1996 there was conducted a wildlife and habitat survey.

Picture by 杨德寿/Yang Deshou
Xe Namnoy River


Nearby is Xe Pian National Biodiversity Conservation Area. The Xe Pian National Protected Area (NPA) stretches out over 240,000 hectares in the Provinces of Champasak and Attapeu and touches the National border of Cambodia. It is one of the most important nature reserves in Laos. It has extensive wetlands and is home to rare wildlife such as elephants, gaur, sun bear, Asiatic black bear and the yellow-cheeked gibbon.

Read more:
Trekking around Kiet Ngong and Phapho wetlands - in Xe Pian National Protected Area


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