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Nam Ngiep I Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR

The Nam Ngiep I Dam is a 290-MW hydropower facility which epitomizes the type of infrastructure project that the Asian Development Bank ensured would have pulled Lao PDR out of poverty.


Located on Nam Ngiep River in the central provinces of Bolikhamxay and Xaisomboun, Nam Ngiep I Dam is a 290-megawatt hydropower facility which epitomizes the type of infrastructure project that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ensured would have pulled Laos out of poverty, but which ultimately came at an extremely heavy local, environmental and social cost.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nam Ngiep I Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR
Country:Lao PDR
State or province:Bolikhamxay and Xaysomboun provinces
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 290 MW Nam Ngiep I Dam is being advanced by the Nam Ngiep 1 Power Company, a consortium comprised of Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Company (45%), Thailand’s EGAT International Company (30%) and the Lao Holding State Enterprise (25%). Over 90% of the power generated will be exported to Thailand.

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Project area:6,690
Level of Investment:900,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Around 4,000 people
Start of the conflict:01/07/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Nam Ngiep 1 Power Company (NN1PC) from Lao PDR - Project proponent
Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) from Japan
Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE) from Lao PDR
Relevant government actors:Government of Lao PDR
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) from Japan
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:a) International Rivers,
b) NGO Forum on ADB,
c) Mekong Watch,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Around 4,000 people, mainly ethnic groups Hmong and Khmu will be affected.
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: 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, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is already 95% complete overall, and will be soon in operation.
Sources & Materials

[3] USAID (United States Agency for International Development), “Monitoring report – Laos – Nam Ngiep I Hydropower Project”, Report prepared by Ljohnston, USAID/E3, February 2017
[click to view]

[4] International Rivers & Mekong Watch, “Analysis of project 41924-014: Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project, Lao PDR”, Official report, July 2014
[click to view]

[2] ADB (Asian Development Bank), “Lao People's Democratic Republic: Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project”, Project Data Sheet
[click to view]

[5] See “Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR”, (2015) included in the EJAtlas at:

[1] Mekong Watch & International Rivers, “ADB approves loan for dam in Laos despite key safeguard violations”, Position Statement by International Rivers and Mekong Watch, August 29, 2014
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Valeria Quartaroli
Last update18/08/2019
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