Nam Ngum 2 dam displaced over 6,000 ethnic minorities in Vientiane, Lao PDR

An award-winning dam for sustainable energy production? Over 6,000 ethnic minorities were displaced to construct the Nam Ngum 2 hydroelectric power plant


<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">On its path to become the “battery of Asia”, Laos has planned a series of major dams along the Nam Ngum River, a tributary river of the Mekong. The Nam Ngun 2 dam, located in Vientiane province, is among those already in operation, just 35km north-east of the downstream Nam Ngum 1 dam [1]. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The project was first planned during the 1990s, when feasibility studies and Environmental Impacts Assessments (EIA) where conducted by Finnish engineering company Pöyry, which would later on become supervising engineer [2], in spite of an apparent conflict of interests. Put on ice during the Asian financial crisis, the project received again momentum in March 2006, when agreements to move forward were signed with a consortium of developers (see project details) [1]. EIAs were completed, but not disclosed, violating National Hydropower Policy [3]. Construction started at the end of 2006, and as of end of December 2010, the dam, awarded with the International Milestone Rockfill Dam Project Award [2], was ready to produce electricity for export to Thailand [4]. However, when the dam’s reservoir of 12,200ha was first filled with water, water levels of downstream Nam Ngum 1 dam dropped so much, requiring to important electricity from Thailand to cover the shortfall [3]. <br/><br/>During construction, no less than 6,100 people from 17 villages, largely ethnic minorities Phuan, Tai Dam, Tai Deng, Khamu and Hmong, needed to be displaced [3;5]. People were unable to participate in the planning of the so-called “focal sites” [5]; common resettlement areas for all different ethnic groups, which were reported to lack sufficient access to land to support livelihoods [1]. Others reported evidence for human rights abuses in the procedure of how evictions occurred [5]. Downstream impacts include reduction of fish stock in the Nam Ngum 1 dam reservoir, on which more than 9,000 people depend, while the Nam Ngum 2 reservoir has little potential for reservoir fisheries [1]. In addition to the well-known environmental impacts of lams, such as blocking of migratory fish species and other irreversible changes in aquatic and riparian ecosystems, the transmission line was constructed within the Protected Area Phou Khao Khuay NPA, leading to further habitat fragmentation within the park [3].<br/><br/>Finnish company Pöyry presents the dam as a success story, in which, during the peak construction period no less than 6,000 persons were employed for the dam, hence, providing substantial local employment [2]. This short term employment, however, needs to be contrasted with an irreversible economic, social, cultural and ecological loss, jeopardizing more than 6,000 indigenous people, which are carrying the costs for the benefits of a few companies, the Lao government and energy-demanding Thailand [4].<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 Ngum 2 dam displaced over 6,000 ethnic minorities in Vientiane, 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</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Xaisomboun 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">Nam Ngum 2 dam is a concrete face rockfill dam with a high of 182 meters [2] and a width of 485m [6]. The reservoir expands over 12,200ha. The construction was completed at the end of 2010 and commercial operation started in March 2013 [6].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The installed capacity amounts to 614 Megawatt (MW) and the dam has an annual production of 2220GWh [2].<br/><br/>The investment size was reported to amount to $832 million [2].<br/><br/>The project is a BOT project (build-operate-transfer), in which the ownership will be transferred to Lao PDR after several decades of operation [1].<br/><br/>The produced energy is sold by agreement to the Energy Generating Authority Thailand (EGAT). Therefore, a 98km transmission line(230/500kV) needed to be constructed [2], partly located in protected areas [1].<br/><br/>The dam is operated by Nam Ngun 2 Power Company Limited.<br/><br/>According to International Rivers [3], as of 2010, the involved developers held the following shares: CH. Karnchang (Thai) 28.5%; EdL (Laos) 25%; Ratchaburi Generating Co. (Thai) 25%; Bangkok Expressway PCL (Thai) 12.5%; Shlapak Group (USA) 4%; PT Construction & Irrigation Co., (Laos) 4%; TEAM Consulting Engineering (Thai) 1%. <br/><br/>Finnish company Pöyry conducted feasibility studies and impact assessment, and later became supervising engineer [2].<br/><br/>Other consultants were TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co., Ltd. and ATT Consultants Co., Ltd [7]<br/><br/>Technology (turbines) was supplied by Japanese Mitsui and Toshiba [3].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>12,200</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>832,000,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>6,100 displaced; 9,000 directly affected by reduced fish stock</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/03/2006</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>01/03/2013</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/electricity-generating-authority-of-thailand'>Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand <small>(EGAT)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/company/ch-karnchang-public-company-limited'>CH Karnchang Public Company Limited <small>(CH Karnchang PCL)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/company/poyry-plc'>Pöyry PLC <small>(Pöyry PLC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/finland'><small>Finland</small></a><br /><a href='/company/team-consulting-engineering-and-management-co-ltd'>TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co., Ltd. <small>(TEAM)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/company/bangkok-expressway-public-company-limited'>Bangkok Expressway Public Company Limited</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/company/nam-ngum-2-power-company-limited'>Nam Ngum 2 Power Company Limited <small>(NN2 PCL)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/lao-pdr'><small>Lao PDR</small></a> - <small>hydroelectricity, dams</small><br /><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> - <small>electricity, energy</small><br /><a href='/company/att-consultantscompany-limited'>ATT consultantsCompany Limited <small>(ATT)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a> - <small>consultancy, engineering, architecture</small><br /><a href='/company/shlapak-group-co-ltd'>Shlapak Group Co Ltd.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/united-states-of-america'><small>United States of America </small></a> - <small>hydroelectric dams</small><br /><a href='/company/pt-construction-and-irrigation-company-limited'>PT Construction and Irrigation Company Limited</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/lao-pdr'><small>Lao PDR</small></a> - <small>infrastructure development, energy, mining</small><br /><a href='/company/toshiba'>Toshiba</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/japan'><small>Japan</small></a><br /><a href='/company/mitsui-co-ltd'>Mitsui & Co Ltd</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/japan'><small>Japan</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/kasikorn-bank'>Kasikorn Bank</a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/bangkok-bank'>Bangkok Bank</a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/siam-commercial-bank-public-company-limited'>Siam Commercial Bank Public Company Limited <small>(SCB)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/krungthai-bank-pcl'>Krungthai Bank PCL</a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/thailand'><small>Thailand</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>International Rivers (and likely others)</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>UNKNOWN</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>International ejos<br /> there were likely also other groups mobilizing, though no information could be found so far.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Public campaigns</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), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Groundwater pollution or depletion</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights</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>Migration/displacement</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="http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/lao7478.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] International Rivers, 2008. Power Surge: The Impacts of Rapid Dam Development in Laos. Report (accessed 10/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/intl_rivers_power_surge.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] International Rivers, 2010. Existing and planned Hydropower Projects. (accessed 10/03/2015).<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/laohydro2010_sept_final.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] 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="http://www.seas.at/aseas/5_2/ASEAS_5_2_A7.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] Sengkham S., 2007. Resettlement Impacts of Nam Ngum 2 Hydro-power Project on Community Culture. Report. (accessed 10/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://rightslinklao.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2014/05/Resettlement-Impacts-of-Nam-Ngum-2-Hydro-power-Project-on-Community-Culture.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] Pöyry communication: Nam Ngum 2: Award-Winning Hydroelectric Power Plant in the remote forests of South East Asia. (accessed 10/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.poyry.com/sites/default/files/namngum2_a4_success_story_en.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [6] Website of PT Sole Company (accessed 10/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ptsole.com/nam-ngum-2" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [9] TEAM consulting company on the project (accessed 10/03/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.teamgroup.co.th/index.php/en/credentials/projects/water-resources-a-hydropower/79-nam-ngum-2-hydroelectric-power-project-lao-pdr.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Video on reduced fish stocks in the downstream Nam Ngun dam reservoir<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nStsV5klDU" 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>Map of the Nam Ngun dams</strong> Source: See International Rivers, [1]<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Map_taken_from_IR_2008.png" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Nam Ngun 2 dam</strong> Source: http://www.ptsole.com/nam-ngum-2<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/f___namngum_4.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Construction of the Nam Ngun 2 dam</strong> Source: http://www.ceat.or.th/2010/images/stories/member-proj/team/30.jpg<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/construction_30.jpg" 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" gmail.com</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>11/03/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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