Disasters

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  • Ecosystems in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have already suffered damage due to exploitation of resources, and plans for large dams will only increase the level of damage, according to more than 200 experts who attended at a forum in Ca Mau province this past weekend.
  • The Laotian government last week invited journalists to the site of the controversial $3.5 billion USD Xayaburi Dam for tours, interviews, and the release of a report all claiming that the Mekong River dam will not harm the basin’s environment, because potential issues will be mitigated through design and construction.
  • Cooperation between the seven US Colorado River basin states – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California and Wyoming – and Mexico is at “an all-time high,” according to Southern Nevada Water Authority’s (SNWA) Senior Deputy General Manager John Entsminger.
  • If the hydropower projects planned within the Mekong River basin are completed, they will accumulate as much as 16 percent of the river’s water volume, or 475 billion cubic meters a year, according to Dr. Chu Thai Hoanh of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
  • Laotian authorities last week signed an updated eight-year-old deal with Russian investor Regional Oil for construction of three hydropower projects on Mekong River tributaries.
  • Mexican state-owned petroleum company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) still has not been penalized for an oil spill in the Coatzacoalcos River that occurred more than a year ago, according to environmental NGO Greenpeace.
  • During the 19th Mekong River Commission Council meeting last week in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and other participants challenged Laos’ efforts to construct the controversial $3.5 billion USD Xayaburi Dam, the first of a planned 11 dams along the Lower Mekong River.
  • Ministers from member countries of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and donors started a two-day meeting in Luang Prabang Laos on January 16. The meeting comes two months after Laos launched a major dam project on the trans-boundary river despite MRC objections, but Cambodia and Vietnam, the two downstream countries that stand to suffer the most from the dam, have not asked to have the issue raised at the meeting.