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Laos vows to limit dam impacts

Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with Bounnhang Vorachith (center right), General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, on Saturday. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with Bounhang Vorachith (center right), General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, on Saturday. Facebook

Laos vows to limit dam impacts

The head of Laos’ ruling party reportedly pledged to limit the downstream impacts of the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam in his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen in Vientiane on Saturday.

According to a Cambodian state television report covering the visit, the Cambodian premier raised the issue during the meeting and asked his counterpart to do everything he can to ensure “sustainable” water use.

“Laos will make an effort to ensure that there will be no impact” in the neighbouring countries, replied Bounhang Vorachith, secretary-general of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, adding that Laos had studied potential impacts at length.

Multiple environmental studies have raised concerns that the dam will devastate fisheries and reduce water quality and availability downstream.

Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum, said yesterday that the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and other river stakeholders remain concerned over the Don Sahong.

“If the Laotian government has the good will to avoid the impacts on the environment . . . [it] has to recognise a previous report by the MRC, which requested it suspend the project for 10 years to study the impact.”

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