Laos to consult Mekong River Commission before developing new hydropower project

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/11/9 17:53:12

The Lao government has submitted a notification to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat that it will undertake the formal process of prior consultation on its new hydropower project planned in Pak Beng in Lao northern Oudomxay province, local media reported Wednesday.

The Pak Beng Hydropower Project is a run-of-river project located in the Mekong mainstream. The power plant is planned to have an installed capacity of 912 MW and is designed to discharge a flow of 5,771.2 cubic meters per second.

The Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat submitted last Friday a detailed description of the planned project to the MRC Secretariat.

Within the next month, the MRC Secretariat will review the document and verify its compliance with the rules before forwarding the case to the MRC's Joint Committee (JC), a body consisting of representatives of the four member countries at the head of department level where the consultation takes place, reported Lao state-run news agency KPL.

The prior consultation is part of the MRC's procedural rules on cooperation on water use of the Mekong mainstream, including the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA).

Under the procedures, any infrastructural project using the mainstream water during the dry season within the same basin, as well as during the wet season between two basins, must undergo the prior consultation process.

Applicable projects include large-scale irrigation and hydropower development projects which may cause significant impacts on the environment, water flow and quality of the Mekong mainstream.

Laos has submitted two prior consultation cases to the MRC, namely the Xayaburi and Don Sahong hydropower projects. But neither has received unanimous conclusions yet.


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