Nam Mang 3 hydropower dam, Lao PDR

The comparatively small Nam Mang 3 hydropower and irrigation dam caused the first villager-led protests against the rapidly growing hydropower sector in Lao PDR

<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 comparatively small Nam Mang 3 dam, with an installed capacity of 40MW, caused an unprecedented protest by affected ethnic minorities, threatened to be displaced to make room for the reservoir. On November 22, 2002, some 40 villagers, armed with guns and sticks, marched to the construction site, urging contractors to stop the work and to inform villagers about the project, where they would be relocated and what kind of compensation they would receive [1]. According to International Rivers [1], this was the first recorded villager-led protest against hydroelectric dams in Lao PDR, a sector experiencing enormous growth since the turn of the millennium [2]; much of it due to Thailand’s involvement as contracted importer of Lao produced hydroelectricity [3;4]. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Based on a pre-feasibility study [4], construction of the dam began in late 2001, characterized by a lack of adequate impact assessments, non-transparent planning, finance and approval [1]. Loans for the $63 million project were provided largely by Chinese Export-Import Bank (80%) and partly (20%) by Electricite du Laos (EdL) [5]. Reports [1;4] estimated that around 2,745 people needed to be relocated from the catchment and reservoir area, while other 12,800 people upstream and downstream would be negatively affected through changing hydrological dynamics and related decline in fisheries. Located in the Phou Khao Khouy National Protected Area, the dam’s reservoir affects wildlife biodiversity, and additional transmission lines and access roads further fragment habitats, while providing entry points for illegal loggers [1]. Apart from social and environmental impacts, also its economic viability was questioned, for which reason the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank urged to stop the project, raising concerns regarding Lao PDRs’ increasing debt burden [1]. Nevertheless, construction was completed in 2004. <br/><br/>Since the beginning of project planning, affected villagers, mainly ethnic Hmong, were not informed about the construction, or about the social impact mitigation and compensation measures [1] and environmental Impact Assessments were completed only after construction was finished [4]. The protesting villagers, demanding information and participation in impact mitigation, achieved to stop construction activities for a few days; however, they could not stop the project, driven by corporate and governmental interests, who responded by sending military units to the site to intimidate villagers [1]. While this protest has marked an unprecedented event in people’s public engagement against hydropower projects in Lao PDR, it remains, so far, one of the few instances of public protest in a country where civil society is largely repressed.<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>Nam Mang 3 hydropower dam, Lao PDR</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/lao-pdr">Lao PDR</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Vientiane Province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Namyam Village, Thulakhom district</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 /> Land acquisition conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</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 Nam Mang 3 Hydropower plant is multi-purpose project; it produces electricity and supports irrigation [5].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The dam has an installed capacity of up to 40MW, with an average annual production of 138 to 140 GWh/year [5]. 95% of produced electricity is exported to Thailand [4].<br/><br/>The reservoir size covers 1,000ha. The dam has a height of 28 m and a length of 150.9 m [5].<br/><br/>Investment size amounts to USD 63 million. Related loans come from the Export-Import Bank of China (80%) and from Electricite du Laos (20%) [5].<br/><br/>The constructor company was China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) [1].<br/><br/>The first feasibility study was conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which later on stepped back from the project [1]. British consultants Resource Management & Research (RMR) was hired during project construction phase (2002) to prepare an environmental impact assessment, environmental management plan and a social action plan within less than 5 months; a task that, properly done, would require at least two years [1]. The impact assessment identified serious concerns regarding the government’s capacity to handle the social and environmental impacts [4].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>1,000ha (reservoir size)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>63,000,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>2,745 people displaced; 6,000 negatively affected upstream; 6,800 people negatively affected downstream</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>22/11/2002</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>31/12/2004</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/electricite-du-laos'>Electricite du Laos <small>(EdL)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/lao-pdr'><small>Lao PDR</small></a><br /><a href='/company/cwe'>China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) <small>(CWE)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/china'><small>China</small></a><br /><a href='/company/resource-management-and-research-llp-rmr'>Resource Management and Research LLP (RMR) <small>(RMR)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/united-kingdom'><small>United Kingdom</small></a> - <small>consultancy</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/asian-development-bank'>Asian Development Bank <small>(ADB)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/philippines'><small>Philippines</small></a> - <small>The first feasibility study was conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which later on stepped back from the project [1]</small><br /><a href='/institution/export-import-bank-of-china'>Export-Import Bank of China</a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/china'><small>China</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>International Rivers</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 /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Threats to use arms<br /> Refusal of compensation</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), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Malnutrition</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)</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 /> Migration/displacement<br /> Repression<br /> Strengthening of participation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Some villagers refused to be resettled, others were claiming adequate compensation [1]. NGO International Rivers urged to stop the project [1], as well as international donors such as World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank pressured Lao PDR to stop the project due to economic reasons [1].</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 project went on</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> Water and Water Resources Law, Lao PDR<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [2] International Rivers, 2008. Power Surge: The Impacts of Rapid Dam Development in Laos. Report (accessed 10/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Matthews, N., 2012. Water grabbing in the Mekong basin - An Analysis of the winners and losers of Thailand's hydropower development in Lao PDR. Water Alternatives 5(2), 392-411.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [1] International Rivers, 2003. New Lao dam Embroiled in Controversy: Report from a Fact-Finding Mission to the Nam Mang 3 Hydropower Project. (accessed 12/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] Middleton, C. (2012). Transborder Environmental Justice in Regional Energy Trade in Mainland South-East<br />Asia. ASEAS - Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 292-315.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [5] Website of EdL - Electricité du Lao (accessed 12/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" 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>Nam Mang 3 dam</strong> Source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Nam Mang 3 dam</strong> Source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" 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) / arnim.scheidel "at"</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>13/03/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>