MRC proves Xayaburi Hydroelectric Power Plant is not causing drought in the Mekong

MRC proves Xayaburi Hydroelectric Power Plant is not causing drought in the Mekong

Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun, Chief Strategy and Partership Officer of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), recentlybrought a group of 50 people including representatives of MRC member countries

officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Lao PDR, environmental experts and international journalists to observe the Xayaburi Hydroelectric Power Plant (Xayaburi HPP) in operation. 

During the visit Xayaburi HPP management explained the principles guiding the plant’s operation. Xayaburi HPP employs world-class experts and state-of-the-art technology. Utmost care is spent on designing equipment such as Surface Spillways & Low Level Outlets for sediments discharge, Multi-System Fish Passing Facilities and Navigation Lock. Additionally, THB 19,400 million has been invested to ensure the plant is environmentally and socially sustainable. If necessary, local villagers are also relocated according to the highest standards with full-scale infrastructure and quality housing provided as well as a complete livelihood development programme. 

A thorough tour of the facilities was given to visitors to demonstrate that Xayaburi HPP does not retain water or sediments, which can be discharged through Surface Spillways and Low Level Outlets, and is not the cause of drought in the Mekong. It is important to note that the recent drought affecting the Mekong also occurs elsewhere in Lao PDR and Thailand. The Mekong’s colour is typically green-blue during the dry season, turning brown during the rainy season as a result of massive water inflow carrying sediment from numerous Mekong tributaries. The management of Xayaburi HPP also expects the impact of recent drought to recede overtime as, according to statistical data, an average level of water inflow is expected in the Mekong during this year’s rainy season, beginning May 2020.


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