Environmentalists are again raising concerns about the controversial Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River, saying efforts to make the project in Laos more “fish friendly” are not serious, and employ untested technology.
The builders of the dam, which Laos hopes will make it a key regional hydropower producer, have introduced modern fish passage techniques in an attempt to deal with the concerns of scientists that it will lead to the devastation of fisheries and food security.
The controversial project is hotly opposed by Thailand and Cambodia downstream, as well as various NGOs.
Tens of millions of people depend on the 4,300km long Mekong for fishing and agriculture.
The project is being built by Thai firm CH Karnchang, with the guidance of consultants Poyry, a Finnish engineering giant.
During a visit to the dam site, Poyry Energy’s Asia director Knut Pierotzki, who is in charge of supervising the dam design said: “The fish-pass facilities are very clearly designed to allow key species to migrate through the dam. That is why we have not one but three systems for fish migration. We have a fish ladder, and fish lift (for the fish that either cannot or will not swim up the ladder) and a navigation lock.”