How Laos’s major dam on the Mekong is taking shape
Yet the project is highly controversial. Over 50 million people rely on the lower Mekong for fishing or crop irrigation. Cambodia and Vietnam, which lie downstream from the dam in the Mekong Basin, oppose it for environmental reasons. In March, several international NGOs including conservation organisation WWF signed a declaration opposing the dam’s construction.
There are fears that changes to river flow and sedimentation could have disastrous consequences for the Mekong and the people who depend on it for food and livelihoods. The NGO International Rivers calls the dam a “looming threat”. The dam owners counter that they have altered the dam’s initial design to mitigate any possible changes to river flow, but critics point out that these have never been tested before.