Last update:

Pak Lay dam, Laos

Laos officially notified in June 2018 its intention to build a new dam in the Mekong mainstream despite concerns regarding its social and environmental impacts


Pak Lay is the latest hydropower project approved by the Lao government as part of its plan to turn the country into a hydroelectric powerhouse in Southeast Asia. 

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Pak Lay dam, Laos
Country:Lao PDR
State or province:Xayaburi province
Location of conflict:Pak Lay
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Installed capacity: 770 MW

See more
Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,134,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:22,101
Start of the conflict:01/01/2007
Company names or state enterprises:PowerChina Resources (PCR) from China - Developer
China National Electronics Import-Export Corporation (CEIEC) from China - Developer
Relevant government actors:Lao Government, Mekong River Commission,
International and Finance InstitutionsExport-Import Bank of China from China
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Rak Chiang Khan Conservation Group, International Rivers Network, Save the Mekong Coalition, Vietnam Rivers Network
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:NGOs proposed to halt all the hydropower projects and to find alternative renewable solutions, such as solar and wind
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project has not been suspended
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

1995 Mekong agreement
[click to view]

[1] Lao PDR Submits Notification on the Pak Lay Hydropower Project to MRC for Prior Consultation, Mekon River Commission, June 14, 2018
[click to view]

2 Laos announces fourth Mekong dam amid fears of ecological disaster, Asia Times, June 15, 2018
[click to view]

3 Press Release | Pak Lay Dam Proceeding – Another Expensive Distraction, International Rivers, June 25, 2018
[click to view]

4 Assessment reports of Pak Lay and Pak Beng dam found to be identical, The Nation, September 21, 2018
[click to view]

5 Fast Facts about the Pak Lay Hydropower Project, Mekong River Commission
[click to view]

6 Pak Lay Dam to Displace Residents in More Than 20 Villages in Northwestern Laos, Radio Free Asia, June 21, 2018
[click to view]

10 Laos Suspends New Dam Projects Following Catastrophe, Voice of America, August 8, 2018
[click to view]

8 Save the Mekong Coalition Boycott of the Pak Lay Dam Prior Consultation Process, August 24, 2018
[click to view]

10 Mekong River body welcomes Laos' decision to suspend new dam projects, Reuters, August 15, 2018
[click to view]

9 Press release, Vietnam Rivers Network
[click to view]

7 Starting date for Pak Lay hydropower project Prior Consultation process agreed, Mekong River Commission, August 10 2018
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Laura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3703
Related conflicts
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.