Buon Kuop Hydroelectric Project, Vietnam

"We, the 11,000 villagers living along the Srepok River have been facing negative impacts and are seriously concerned about the hydropower development for the Srepok River basin in Vietnam." (Villager statement regarding the dams’ impacts) [1].


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The Srepok River is a tributary of the Mekong River, originating in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and flowing across Cambodia’s Mundulkiri, Ratanikiri and Stung Treng provinces. The river basin covers around 29,450km2, of which 11,250km2 are located in Cambodia, being home to 144 villages, mainly inhabited by Punong, Jarai, Tampuon, Brao, Krueng, Thmon and Kraol ethnic minorities. Being a unique and resource rich ecosystem, the Srepok river basin has been of high importance for the livelihoods of the villagers, which is mainly based on agriculture, fishing and collection of non-timber forest products. The region has been further home to many cultural and spirituals beliefs of local indigenous [1]. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The river system, however, has experienced drastic changes with the construction of the 280 MW Buon Kuop hydropower project located on the Vietnamese part of the Srepok River. Construction started in 2006 and the project entered into operation on March 29, 2009. The construction of the dam was considered at least since 1973, when the Mekong Committee (which later on turned into the Mekong River Commission) first identified 12 potential spots for hydropower projects on the Srepok River. Later on, the project was included in Vietnam’s National Hydropower Plan Study (1999-2005) [1;2]. <br/><br/>As tributary of the Mekong River, the Srepok River is governed under the interregional 1995 Mekong Agreement, signed by Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, aimed at ensuring sustainable governance of the transboundary river system. However, the dam was constructed in absence of proper consultation on transboundary damages, which further caused related problems of attracting finance due to questionable environmental and social impacts, as well as revenue risks. In fact, after construction, its economic feasibility was questioned due to the dam’s unreliable power output; underestimated compensation costs and a shortened lifespan due to rapid sedimentation, among other reasons [1;2].<br/><br/>The dam construction has caused large-scale social, environmental and economic impacts on downstream Vietnamese [3] and Cambodian communities [1;4;5]. Transboundary environmental impacts reported from the Cambodian downstream communities included significant alteration of the hydrological ecosystem and its attached riparian forests; changing water flow dynamics and riverbank erosion; impacts on aquatic habitats; blocking of fish migration routes; dry ups and others. Socio-economic impacts included decreasing water quality and related health impacts; increase in water-borne diseases such as Malaria; reduced fish catch drastically undermining local livelihoods; losing access to non-timber-forest products; as well as loss of cultural identity and spiritual sites. During the construction, villagers experienced large fluctuations of water levels, ranging from dry periods to floods, heavily damaging their villages [1;4;5].<br/><br/>There was a clear lack of consultation of affected communities on the dam construction as well as regarding its implications. Villagers as well as international organizations, such as International Rivers and Probe International, started to campaign against the controversial project, demanding proper consultation as well as the public release of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Finally a hearing was achieved on January 12, 2007, and even though it was only a one-day workshop, villagers were able to present their concerns (see 4 and 5). In the following, also the EIA was made publicly available. Scrutinized after release, the EIA had emphasized large social environmental and economic impacts and recommended further impact assessments for downstream communities, before project approval. A follow-up assessment of the EIA reportedly judged it as incomplete and inadequate [1;4].<br/><br/>In spite of the large negative impacts, the lack of consultation during implementation, and the lack of evidence that the dam supports sustainable development, the Buon Kuop project requested, after completion, carbon off-setting credits via the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) [1;2]. Cambodian groups sent letters to voice their opposition to grant CDM credits, complaining about the downstream impacts and for unknown reasons, the application was later on cancelled [2;6]. To the contributor’s knowledge, the Cambodian downstream villagers still haven’t received proper compensation for the damages caused by the dam [2]. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Buon Kuop Hydroelectric Project, Vietnam</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/vietnam">Vietnam</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Đắk Lắk Province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Dak Nong, Srepok River</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Water Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Dams and water distribution conflicts<br /> REDD/CDM<br /> Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a><br /><a href='/commodity/carbon-offsets'>Carbon offsets</a><br /><a href='/commodity/water'>Water</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The Buon Kuop hydroelectric dam has a production capacity of 280MW and is a project operated by the Buon Kuop Hydropower Company, which his part of the state-owned Vietnam Electricity (EVN). The dam is reported to have a reservoir size of 560ha [8].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">In 2005, Japanese Sumitomo Corporation was contracted to provide two turbines and supervise the installation. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted by Swedish SWECO Company and funded by Swedish and Norwegian development agencies Sida and NORAD [1]. <br/><br/>The total estimated project cost was reported to amount to 286.5 million USD. Regarding finance of the project, in 2003, ABN-AMRO was reported to provide loans amounting to 100 million USD to Vietnam Electricity (EVN) for the project realization [7] and the Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam provided two loans; the first amounting to 136.3 million granted in 2003; the second amounting to 70.9 million USD, granted in 200 [1;7]. For further finance details, see [7].<br/><br/>In 2005, also the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) considered financing the project. However, following correspondences with the Sesan Protection Network (which later on turned in to the S3 Rivers Protecting Network), the Japanese finance institutions stepped back due to concerns regarding large social and environmental impacts [1]. <br/><br/>Around 144 Cambodian villages, home to around 11,000 villagers, are negatively affected by the project [1]. In total, around 1 million people live in the watershed area of the Srepok River [8].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>560</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>286,500,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>11,000 most directly affected in Cambodia, much more indirectly affected in Cambodia and Vietnam</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2006</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/buon-kuop-hydropower-company'>Buon Kuop Hydropower Company</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>hydropower</small><br /><a href='/company/the-electricity-of-vietnam-group-evn'>The Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN)</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>energy industry</small><br /><a href='/company/sweco-group'>SWECO group <small>(SWECO)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/sweden'><small>Sweden</small></a> - <small>consultancy</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/abn-amro-bank'>ABN Amro Bank <small>(ABN AMRO)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/netherlands'><small>Netherlands</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/vietnam-bank-for-agriculture-and-rural-development'>Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development</a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>finance, investment, banking</small><br /><a href='/institution/swedish-international-development-cooperation-agency'>Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) <small>(SIDA)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/sweden'><small>Sweden</small></a> - <small>development agency</small><br /><a href='/institution/norwegian-agency-for-development-cooperation-norad'>Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) <small>(NORAD)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/norway'><small>Norway</small></a> - <small>development agency</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>3S Rivers Protection Network; The NGO Forum on Cambodia; International Rivers; Probe International</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Fishermen<br /> Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups<br /> Local scientists/professionals<br /> Punong, Jarai, Tampuon, Brao, Krueng, Thmon and Kraol ethnic minorities</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Malnutrition</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Impacts due to floods caused during the construction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Displacement</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Compensation<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> The project's application for CDM credits was cancelled</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Affected communities demand proper compensation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The dam was construction and is now in operation, while downstream communities are heavily affected.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> 1995 Agreement on the cooperation for the sustainable development of the Mekong river basin<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/lao7478.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [2] International Rivers, online: "Srepok Dams" (accessed 08/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/campaigns/srepok-dams" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] ICEM online (15/07/2013): "ICEM fieldwork reveals significant local impacts of dam projects" (accessed 08/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" http://icem.com.au/icem-fieldwork-reveals-significant-local-impacts-of-dam-projects/climate-change-1/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [7] Banktrack.org, online. Buon Kuop dam project Viet Nam. (accessed 08/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/buon_kuop_dam_project#tab_dodgydeals_finance" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [1] International Rivers, online (29/06/2009): "NGO Forum on Cambodia Comments Re Buon Kuop Hydroelectric Project (Vietnam)" (accessed 08/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" http://www.internationalrivers.org/km/node/3126" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] International Rivers, online (01/02/2007): "Sharing the Srepok River: Cambodian Communities Downstream of Vietnam Dams Finally Get a Hearing" (accessed 08/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/km/node/2580" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] International Rivers, online (20/09/2011): "Success Stopping CDM Registration of Harmful Large Hydro Projects" (accessed 08/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/success-stopping-cdm-registration-of-harmful-large-hydro-projects-1651" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Damaged houses after 2006 flooding</strong> Source: http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/buon_kuop_dam_project#tab_dodgydeals_finance<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/c__broken_house_fomr_Srepok_flooding_2006.JPG" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Kid suffering from skin rash</strong> http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/buon_kuop_dam_project#tab_dodgydeals_finance<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/c__kid_suffering_from_skin_rash_from_srepok.JPG" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Dam site</strong> Source: http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/buon_kuop_dam_project#tab_dodgydeals_finance<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/c___thumbimage.php.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Boat on the Srepok River</strong> Source: http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/buon_kuop_dam_project#tab_dodgydeals_finance<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/c__srepok_boating.JPG" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Villager - Srepok River</strong> Source: http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/buon_kuop_dam_project#tab_dodgydeals_finance<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/c___srepok_woman.JPG" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>[5] Community Statement over Hydropower Dam Construction on the Srepok River Vietnam (12/01/2007)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/ATTACHMENT_srepok_community_statement_jan_12_2007_english.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>[8] Mekong Utility Watch (2007) on the Buon Kuop Project (accessed 08/07/2015)</strong> Source: http://www.banktrack.org/manage/ems_files/download/utility_performance_electricity_of_vietnam_buon_kuop_hydropower_project/070401_utility_performance_buon_kuop.pdf<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/ATTACHEMENT_Mekong_Utility_watch.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>10/07/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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