Nineteenth-century Mekong explorers marvelled at the wetlands of Siphandone in southern Laos, a district of spectacular waterfalls, swirling rapids, steep narrow gorges and myriad islets.
Beyond the rapids, a colony of rare Irrawaddy Dolphins still frolic near the Cambodia border.
The dam would cause serious nutritional problems in the Mekong region DR IAN BAIRD
But experts say this ecotourism paradise, known as the \”Four Thousand Islands\” region, could soon be irreversibly damaged by the construction of a hydro-electric dam recently announced by Laos, only a few kilometres from the renowned Khone Waterfall, a major tourist attraction.
The communist government notified the Mekong River Commission [MRC] on September 30 of its plans to launch construction of the Don Sahong Dam next year. The 260 megawatt dam would be Laos\’ second Mekong hydropower project.
The commission is the multi-nation body that supposedly oversees development on the vital waterway.
Concerns about the new dam were raised this week in Bangkok at a forum of 103 Thai NGOs campaigning against it.