Cambodian greens see red in upcoming dams

For Meach Mean, a veteran campaigner against hydropower dams in Cambodia’s northeast, this year has brought a double dose of bad news. First, he says, two Chinese hydropower companies have begun feasibility studies into a pair of dams planned for tributaries of the Mekong River in the remote northeastern province of Ratanakkiri. Second, workers last month began clearing an area downstream of those proposed dams for another dam: the 400-megawatt Lower Se San 2, which scientists warn will be the most destructive of dozens planned in the region on tributaries of the Mekong. Meach Mean, the co-ordinator of the 3S Rivers Protection Network, a non-profit, has no doubt all three dams will be built, and fears the damage they will do to forests, fisheries and the lives of tens of thousands of minority people who will be forced to leave dozens of villages. ... Although the Se San and Sre Pok rivers are almost unknown outside the region, they are key tributaries of the Mekong. Together with another river — the Se Kong — they constitute the 3S Basin, which links Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. These rivers and the Mekong comprise the region’s four “fish highways” and help make the Mekong Basin the world’s richest freshwater fishery. ... Ame Trandem, the Southeast Asia programme director for campaigning group International Rivers, says the Lower Se San 2 Dam should be scrapped. Not only will it harm fish stocks and food security, she says, it will also reduce by up to 8% the flow of nutrients and sediment upon which tens of thousands of subsistence farmers in Cambodia and Vietnam rely to fertilise their fields. ...

http://www.gulf-times.com/environment/231/details/353963/cambodian-greens-see-red-in-upcoming-dams