Nearly one dozen dams are planned for the Mekong River.
The Mekong River begins at the Tibetan Plateau in China and stretches through Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, before ending at the South China Sea in Vietnam.
Eager to exploit the river’s flowing energy, the five countries of the lower basin plan to build nearly one dozen dams on the main stem of the Mekong. The first to break ground is Xayaburi (Sayaboury) Dam, in Laos. Electricity from the 1,285-megawatt dam will be exported to Thailand.
Though a source of energy and national income, hydropower development also poses a threat to internationally protected wetlands and to fisheries that supply many of the watershed’s 60 million people with protein and employment.
Map created by Yiruo Zhao for Circle of Blue to accompany Cody T. Pope’s article Visioning Flowing Waters, from Laos to Cambodia. Zhao was an intern for Circle of Blue during the summer of 2009.
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