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Naung Pha dam on the Salween River, Shan State Myanmar

The Naung Pha dam is one of many dams planned on the Salween River. 90% of the produced electricity will be exported to China, while the associated social and environmental burdens have to be carried by local Shan communities.


The cascade of large dams proposed on the free-flowing Salween River is a longstanding concern among residents, civil society organizations and academics [1,2,3,4,5]. The proposed 1,200 MW Naung Pha dam, located in Northern Shan State between Lashio and Ho Pang township, is one of these dams that has caused opposition and resistance by local groups and larger civil society networks.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Naung Pha dam on the Salween River, Shan State Myanmar
State or province:Shan state
Location of conflict:Lashio and Ho Pang townships
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The planned Naung Pha dam is located on the Salween River in Northern Shan State, between Lashio and Ho Pang townships [1].

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Project area:110km backwater length
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Hydrochina Corporation from China - developer
International Group of Entrepreneurs (IGE) from Myanmar - developer
Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation ((SMEC)) from Australia - consultant for impact assessments
Relevant government actors:Union government
Ministry of Electricity and Energy
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Finance Corporation (IFC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Action for Shan State and Rivers (ASSR)
Shan State Rivers Network
Shan State Farmer Network
Shan Women’s Action Network
Shan Human Rights Foundation,
Shan State Women’s Organisation,
Shan Sapawa Environmental Organisation (SSEO)
Shan Students Union,
Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU)
Tai Literature and Culture Association (Karli).
Burma Rivers Network,
Salween Watch
Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
International Rivers
and others
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
ethnic Shan groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: 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, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsRisks of earthquakes
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Violations of human rights, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Decisions to go ahead with the project were made
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Decisions to go ahead were made, ignoring the opposition of many civil society organisations opposing the dam.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

2014 Myanmar Electricity Law
[click to view]

2016 Myanmar Investment Law
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[7] The Irrawaddy, online news, 23 August 2016. "Environmental Advocates: Salween River is Being ‘Sold Off’ to China". (accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

[click to view]

[2] Salween Watch, 14 March 2014. "Hydropower Projects on the Salween River: An Update". (accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

[5] Salween Water Governance: Matching Policies, Institutions and Practices of Water Governance in the Salwee-Thanlwin-Nu River Basin - Towards inclusive, informed, and accountable water governance. Chulalongkorn University.
[click to view]

[10] The Irrawaddy, online news, 17 January 2018. "Locals Upset Over IFC Meeting Regarding Salween Hydropower Project". (accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

[9] Eleven Myanmar online news, 24 August 2016. "26 Shan groups call for halt to Salween dams"(accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

[4] International Rivers 2012. "The Salween River Basin: Dam Cascades Threaten Biological and Cultural Diversity". (accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

[6] The Nation online news, 24 August 2016. "Shan community groups want Salween dams scrapped".(accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view] on the Salween Dam Cascade (November 2016)
[click to view]

Burma Rivers Network on the Naung Pha dam
[click to view]

[8] Media release by Shan State Farmers’ Network (Tang Yan), December 24, 2017. "Northern, southern and eastern Shan State Farmers oppose the planned Naung Pha and other hydropower projects on Salween River". (accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

[1] Action for Shan State Rivers, Report from 23 August 2016. "Concerns about the Naung Pha dam on the Salween River" (accessed online 22.03.2018).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update04/05/2018
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