Laos Hydropower Project Deprives Villagers of Water, Food, Income

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Back in November, I visited Navan Tai village on the Xe Bang Fai River in Laos. The morning sun shone down on a bustle of activity. The surface was scattered with small fishing boats as people cast nets into the sparkling waters. Women and children were bathing, while a couple of young boys showed off daring dives.

Last month I returned, but the morning scene had completely changed. There were no fishing boats to be seen. The riverbank was underwater and nobody was bathing.

Locals told me the water level had increased by 2.5 metres over the past two days. Why? Because on March 15, the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project began full operations for the first time.

The power-generation scheme has been launched in violation of legal obligations to provide compensation and livelihood support to affected communities. The Xe Bang Fai River is particularly impacted because the project is diverting six Olympic swimming pools of water per minute into the river… read full article.

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