Government Announces 10-Year Suspension on Hydropower Dams Along Mekong River

A general view of Cambodia's new 400-megawatt Lower Sesan 2 hydroelectric dam as seen during the inauguration in Stung Treng province on 17 December, 2018. (Ly Lay / AFP Photo)
  • Phoung Vantha
  • March 23, 2020 8:19 AM

Environmental activists commend Cambodia’s decision to invest in alternative sources of power in a bid to preserve the mighty Mekong River.

PHNOM PENH--The Cambodian government has announced plans to suspend hydropower dam development along the Mekong River for 10 years, according to a statement from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Cambodia. 

Victor Jona, Director General of Energy at Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy Cambodia’s newly approved 10 years energy master plan 2020-2030 doesn’t include any hydropower dams on the Mekong mainstream.

Teak Seng, WWF-Cambodia country director said that WWF stands ready to work with the government to support the development of a system-wide sustainable energy plan that promotes clean and renewable energy alternatives, contributing to the country’s energy goals without damming Cambodia’s remaining free-flowing rivers. 

“Maintaining the lower Mekong in Cambodia free-flowing is the best decision for both people and nature, and WWF commends the Cambodian government for ruling out the hydropower dam development and instead pursuing other energy sources such as solar to meet the Kingdom’s power demand," he said.

Marc Goichot, WWF Freshwater Lead, Asia Pacific said that the 10-year moratorium on mainstream dams on the Mekong River announced by the government of Cambodia is the best possible news for the sustainable future of the tens of millions of people living alongside it and for the amazing biodiversity that depends on it, especially the world’s largest population of Irrawaddy river dolphins.

“The science clearly shows that those dams would significantly reduce wild fisheries and block sediment flows, speeding up the sinking and shrinking of the delta and threatening the future of Vietnam's major rice basket, countless fishing communities and long-term economic sustainability. Cambodia’s correct decision is an example for other countries, recognizing free-flowing rivers provide invaluable benefits for people and countless wild species that depend on,” he said. 

Open development Cambodia said the statistic showed that there are eight are operating in Cambodia most own by China, with under construction one, Lower Sesan II.


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