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BEGINNING OR THE END?
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AseanAffairs Magazine March - April 2011
CONTENT • ASEAN TECH
• ASEAN CORPORATE STRATEGY • ASEAN TRAVELLER
• ASEAN ENERGY

• BEYOND ASEAN

• ASEAN ENVIRONMENT INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN MONEY  • THE AWAKENING
 • ASEAN TALK      • SAVE OUR PLANET IV

 

 

A NEW REALIGNMENT or CONTINUING CHAOS?
Managing Editor David Swartzentruber sees a new global political restructuring as the answer to the current global chaos.


COVER STORY   Read More... 

Testimonials – What our Readers are saying about us
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WILL THE

MEKONG RIVER

POWER ASEAN?

A major decision looms over the damming of the downstream Mekong River at Xayaburi in Laos. The decision may affect millions of people in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

 The Mekong River is the world’s 10th longest river
(4,800 kilometers). It starts in the Tibetan Plateau and flows through China’s Yunnan province and Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

More than 60 million people depend on the river and its tributaries for food, water, transport and many
other aspects of their daily lives. The Mekong River basin drains water from an area of 795,000 square kilometers. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is an intergovernmental advisory body responsible for the sustainable management of the Mekong Basin. It has no decision-making capability and there are no international treaties governing trans-boundary rivers.

The plans of Laos to start building dams along
the Mekong has placed the Greater Mekong Subregion
in the limelight as the four involved countries are not unanimous in believing that the dams should be built. Laos, Asean’s poorest member, is convinced that by building dams and using some of the power for its development
and selling the majority of the power to more advanced countries such as Thailand, it will become more prosperous and create jobs for its people. It’s hard to dispute that and its also indisputable that hydroelectricity is a renewable energy resource.


Thailand is also pro-dam as several Thai banks are financing the project and the proposed developer is Ch. Karnchang Public Company Ltd, a Thai company. Thailand is looking for more energy to continue growth in its industrial sector in the face of declining natural gas reserves. Cambodia plans to build two dams near the border with Laos.

Opposing the dam is Vietnam over concerns that the Mekong Delta, its prime rice-growing area will be adversely affected. China has already built four dams on the Mekong, including the Xiaowan dam, the world’s tallest. The Vietnamese and others have blamed the low water levels in the Mekong on these dams even in times of drought.

Another issue is the flow of silt that replenishes the delta with a new coating of soil every flood season. Dams impede the flow of silt.

China wants to almost double its hydropower capacity to at least 300 gigawatts by 2020 by building four more dams on the Mekong, called Lancang Jiang, or Turbulent River, in Chinese. That would give China 15 gigawatts of power on the river. 

 



 

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