Vientiane Times, 7 October 2013
The government has notified the Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its decision to proceed with construction of the Don Sahong Hydropower Project on the Hou Sahong channel of the Mekong River in Champassak province.
In its notification, submitted to the MRC Secretariat and dated September 30, 2013, the government provided a complete technical feasibility study,
including the project’s social and environmental impact assessments and fisheries study, the MRC said on its website.
The notification will be shared with the other MRC Member Countries – Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, the MRC said.
Construction of the project is expected to start in November this year and finish by February 2018. Commercial operation is set to begin in May 2018.
The run-of-river dam will operate continuously year-round and produce 260 megawatts of electricity. Energy generated by the project will be fully sold to the national power utility, Electricite du Laos (EDL), to meet the increasing domestic demand for power.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Viraphonh Viravong, told the Vientiane Times recently Laos planned to build the dam after carrying out an
intensive study over a number of years that yielded positive results.
“We asked a third party to review the design and found that the dam would have no impact on the river downstream,” he said. The deputy minister made the statement following talks with Thailand and Vietnam in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the 31st Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting when he informed the two nations of Laos’ intention to proceed with the project.
Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat, Mr Hans Guttman, said on the MRC’s website the project was submitted as an intra-basin water use on the Hou Sahong channel under the process of notification.
As stipulated in the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement under the 1995 Mekong Agreement signed by the four MRC countries,
the notification process is one of three prerequisites for the development of different types of water use projects in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Notification is required for year-round intra-basin water-use projects and inter-basin diversion projects on the Mekong’s tributaries, and for wet-season water use on the mainstream. The other two processes are Prior Consultation and Agreement.
Up to now, in addition to the Don Sahong notification, 41 projects on tributaries of the Mekong have been submitted under the notification
process – three projects by Cambodia, 17 by Laos, two by Thailand and 19 by Vietnam.
The run-of-river Xayaboury Hydropower Project is the only one so far to have been proposed on the mainstream and therefore submitted for the Prior