Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Recipe For Disaster

You would think after the ongoing disaster that is the Three Gorges Dam, people and countries would think twice about building new mega dams in Asia. If you think so, you would be mistaken as Laos now intend to build a multibillion-dollar dam that will affect the Mekong River.

The hydroelectric dam will be a $3.8 billion project located at remote Xayaburi and has divided the four nations sharing the MekongLaosVietnamCambodia and Thailand all depend on the Mekong and the dam in Laos will affect all of them.
The last great dam built was the Three Gorges Dam in China and like I said earlier, the dam has been an ongoing disaster. Entire villages had to be destroyed, tens of thousands of people had to be moved and the environmental destruction of the Three Gorges Dam is still being felt to this day. The dam has been such a problem even members of the Communist Party in China had to admit it was a mistake to build the dam. Did the world learn anything from it?

No! Despite the problems large infrastructure projects have over the long-term, countries and leaders are still going ahead with them. Even when they don’t need them! Laotian leaders openly admit that the dam at Xayaburi will produce more electricity than the country needs and the surplus will be “sold” to neighboring countries.

You build a dam bigger than you need to produce electricity you don’t need in the hope of selling to countries you are not sure will buy them. All at the risk of destroying the ecosystem that is the Mekong River. Now if that’s not a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what it.

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