The government of Laos must devise a comprehensive plan for the development of dams in the land-locked country, a dam expert said Thursday, as villagers downstream along the key Mekong River express concern that the new Xayaburi dam will adversely affect farming and fishing.
The expert, who spoke to RFA’s Lao Service on condition of anonymity, said that he does not oppose the construction of dams in Laos, but wants the government to form a plan of action that will result in more sustainable use of the country’s river systems.
“I do not mean stopping all dam construction, but the government should better consider which dam should be built where, and which dam should not,” he said Thursday in marking International Day of Action for Rivers.
“They must consider which dam should be built first and which should be built later,” he said.
“The government needs a development plan.”
According to Ittiphon Khamsouk, a Thai representative of eight riparian provinces along the Mekong River, one example of a dam project that the Lao government has not thoroughly evaluated is the Xayaburi dam, which will become the first dam to be built across the mainstream of the Mekong River.