On Nov 3-4, Ecofish trained resource management agencies and hydropower developers in Xayaburi, Laos on best practices for the environmental mitigation of hydropower projects. A total of 17 participants attended the training workshop and fieldtrip to Xayaburi Dam, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Dr. Xuezhong Yu, Senior Environmental Specialist at Ecofish presented on three topics: environmental impacts and mitigation options for hydropower, environmental mitigation efforts and effectiveness of hydropower projects on the Lancang River, and international good practices on the Columbia River. After the two day training seminar, participants visited the Xayaburi Dam – a largely contested project scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2019. The Xayaburi is the first dam on the mainstream of the Lower Mekong River, with an installed capacity of 1,285 MW and a total annual energy production of 7,406 GWh.
Perhaps the most important message taken from Dr. Yu’s sessions was that although there are potential negative impacts associated with hydroelectric projects, they can largely be prevented, mitigated, and compensated through the effective implementation of environmental strategies.