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Yali Falls Hydropower Dam, Vietnam


Construction on the 720 MW Yali Falls Dam began in 1993 and was completed in 2001.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Yali Falls Hydropower Dam, Vietnam
State or province:Gai Lai Province and Kon Tum Province, Vietnam; Ratanakiri Province and Stung Treng Province, Cambodia
Location of conflict:Sesan River
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

720 MW

Project area:6,450
Level of Investment:USD$640 million - USD$1 billion
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Cambodia 55 000; Vietnam 8500
Start of the conflict:11/1993
Company names or state enterprises:Electricity of Vietnam from Vietnam
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Vietnam National University (CRES)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, 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: Waste overflow
Other Environmental impactsLoss of arable land
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Other Health impactsHealth problems related to water quality
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:EIAs completed did not consider impacts downstream in Cambodia. Impacts have been felt by communities in Cambodia without restitution or satisfactory redress. Vietnamese government promised there would be no impacts to these people and there were. There is also a lack of information on the Vietnamese project site itself and the impacts felt by the Vietnamese ethnic groups in this region.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The 1992 Vietnamese Constitution

The Law of Environmental Protection (1993) (Vietnam)

Decree 22/1998/ND-CP (Vietnam)

The Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin (1995 Agreement)

Land Law (1993) (Vietnam)

Decree 175/CP (1994) (Vietnam)

Law on Water Resources (May 1998) (Vietnam)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Cao Thi Thu Yen (2003). Towards Sustainability of Vietnam's Large Dams: Resettlement in Hydropower Projects. Master of Science Thesis, Department of Infrastructure, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Harvard Law School's December 2005. Down River: The Consequences of Vietnam's Dams on Life in Cambodia and their Meaning in International Law,
[click to view]

Pham, Anh Huyen (2010). Evaluation of Socio-Economic Impact Assessment in Power Sector Projects in Vietnam. School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Masters Dissertation.

The Fisheries Office (2000). A Study of the Downstream Impacts of the Yali Falls Dam in the Se San River Basin in Ratanakiri Province, Northeast Cambodia. The Fisheries Office, Ratanakiri Province. The Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) Project.

Hirsch, Philip & Andrew Wyatt. 2004. Negotiating local livelihoods: Scales of conflict in the Se San River Basin. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 45.51-68.

Hung, Dao Trong., Nga, Dao Thi Viet., & Trung, Tran Chi (2004). Study into Resettlement at the Yali Falls Dam, Kontum Province. Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources and International Rivers Network. Hanoi.

Perera, Andrea (2007). First the rivers, then the forests: a fragile balance: Rural communities are struggling to survive as they lose their resources one at a time. OXFAM America.

Sangha, Kim (2008). Heavy water release from Vietnam's Yali Falls dam floods communities in northeastern Cambodia. Probe International. Energy Probe Research Foundation.

Trandem, Ame. 2008. A Vietnamese/Cambodian Transboundary Dialogue: Impacts of dams on the Se San River. Development 51.108-13.

Doberstein, Brent (2003). EIA models and capacity building in Viet Nam: an analysis of development aid programs. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. Elsevier Inc. 24(2004) 283-318

Nga Dao (2011) Damming Rivers in Vietnam: A Lesson Learned in the Tay Bac Region. Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 6, Issue 2, pp 106-140.

Nga Dao Thi Viet (2012) Resettlement, Displacement and Agrarian Change in Northern Uplands of Vietnam. PhD Dissertation Graduate Program in Geography. York University. Toronto, Ontario.

Long, Le Thanh (2001). Vietnamese Water Resources Legislation and Legal Regulation of Dams: Viewed Through the World Commission on Dams' Suggested Policy Framework. American University International Law Review. Vol. 16, Issue 6, Article 9, pp 1631-1694

Nga Dao (2010) †œDam Development in Vietnam: The Evolution of Dam-Induced Resettlement Policy† Water Alternatives, Vol. 3, Issue 2, pp 324-340

Nguyen, Ang Tuan (2012). A Case Study on Power Sector Restructuring in Vietnam. Pacific Energy Summit. Hanoi, Vietnam

Wyatt, Andrew B. & Ian G. Baird. 2007. Transboundary Impact Assessment in the Sesan River Basin: The Case of the Yali Falls Dam. International Journal of Water Resources Development 23.427-42.

McKenney, Bruce (2001). †œEconomic Valuation of Livelihood Income Losses And Other Tangible Downstream Impacts From The Yali Falls Dam To The Se San River Basin In Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia† Prepared for Oxfam America. Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Nguyen, Quang Tuyen (2010). †œLand Law Reforms in Vietnam †“ Past & Present†. Working Paper Series No. 015. Asian Law Institute.

Dang Quang Tinh (n.d.). Participatory Planning and Management for Flood Mitigation and Preparedness and Trends in the Red River Basin, Viet Nam. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Oxfam Australia (2013). Yali Falls Dam. Oxfam Australia 3S Critical Environmental Zone
[click to view]

Probe International, †œHeavy water release from Vietnam's Yali Falls dam floods communities in northeastern Cambodia:
[click to view]

Inter Press Service News Agency: Villagers Count Costs of Dam Building in Vietnam: Savuth, Pouv (2003). CAMBODIA: Villagers Count Costs of Dam Building in Vietnam†. Inter Press Service News Agency. IPS media fellowship programme Our Mekong: A Vision amid Globalisation.

Thim, Ly (2010). Dynamics of Planning Process in the Lower Mekong Basin: A Management Analysis for the Se San Sub-Basin. Doctoral Dissertation. Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat zu Bonn. Prey Veng, Cambodia.
[click to view]

Chapman, E.C. (2000). †œSpecial Report: Mekong Basin †“ the Yali Falls Disaster And Its Aftermath. AFG Venture Group. Report- Mekong Basin - The Yali Falls Disaster And Its Aftermath.php
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Global Water Forum:
[click to view]

Other comments:There is an extreme lack of information about impacts felt to Vietnamese people and ethnic minority groups.
The level of mobilization occurring and has occurred in the past in Vietnam is almost non-existent in comparison to that within Cambodia
Meta information
Contributor:Carl Middleton, Sarah Allen, Matilde Sgotto
Last update19/12/2014
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