Thai villagers in legal challenge against Laos dam

August 7, 2012
Thai villagers affected by the proposed construction of the Xayaburi dam in Laos attend a rally in front of the administrative court in Bangkok. "The river is our life. A dam will definitely affect our lives," said 52-year-old Niwat Roykaew, who lives alongside the Mekong in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai with his family and relies on it for water and fish.

Thai opponents of a planned multi-billion dollar dam in Laos submitted a lawsuit to a court in Bangkok on Tuesday seeking to prevent their country buying power from the hydropower project.

Fifty Thai villagers representing communities along the filed the suit against the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the and the Thai cabinet at the Administrative Court.

"The river is our life. A dam will definitely affect our lives," said 52-year-old Niwat Roykaew, who lives alongside the Mekong in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai with his family and relies on it for water and fish.

Communist Laos, one of the world's most under-developed nations, hopes the Xayaburi dam will help it become "the battery of ".

Thailand has agreed to buy most of the electricity generated by the project, but Cambodia and Vietnam fear the dam could decimate their farming and fishing industries.

Laos has promised not to start construction of the actual dam structure until the concerns of its neighbours have been answered, although it says preparatory work has begun.

Environmentalists fear the proposed 1,260 megawatt dam will have disastrous environmental effects and harm the livelihoods of millions of people.

Opponents hope that a court ruling in their favour will cause Laos to rethink its plan.

"We are confident if there is no demand, there will be no supply," said Pianporn Deetes with International Rivers, a campaign group involved in the .

Explore further: Vietnam says Laos suspends Mekong dam project

Related Stories

Vietnam says Laos suspends Mekong dam project

May 9, 2011

Laos has told Vietnam it will suspend work on a controversial dam planned for the Mekong River, official media reported, after Hanoi sought a 10-year deferment of the scheme.

Cambodia opens controversial mega-dam

December 7, 2011

Energy-starved Cambodia on Wednesday opened the country's largest hydropower dam to date, a multi-million dollar Chinese-funded project that has attracted criticism from environmental groups.

Mekong nations meet on controversial Laos dam

December 8, 2011

Energy-starved Laos sought the green light from Southeast Asian neighbours on Thursday for a proposed hydropower dam on the Mekong River that faces fierce opposition from conservationists.

Could the Mekong's water destabilise Asia?

April 26, 2012

(Phys.org) -- South-East Asian nations surrounding the Lower Mekong Basin should put construction of hydro-electric dams on the Mekong River on hold if they want to avoid a human security disaster more reminiscent of sub-Saharan ...

Laos says building of controversial dam on hold

May 10, 2012

Laos has postponed construction of a controversial dam on the Mekong, an official said Thursday, dismissing fears that the work was going ahead despite growing regional opposition.

Laos vows to address Mekong dam fears

July 6, 2012

Laos has pledged to stall construction of a controversial multi-billion dollar dam on the Mekong river until all its neighbours' environmental concerns have been answered, state media said Friday.

Recommended for you

New study sheds light on end of Snowball Earth period

August 24, 2015

The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published ...

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015

New research from a team led by Carnegie's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.