Work underway on ‘catastrophic’ Cambodian dam

Srekor village has stood on the banks of the Se San River in northeastern Cambodia for generations. In a few years it will be gone, submerged along with more than 300 square kilometres of surrounding farmland and forest. ... For 37-year-old rice farmer Pa Tou, the future looks bleak. The relocation site set aside for them is wholly unsuitable, he complains. There is no irrigation, it is miles from the river and the ground is either rocky or covered with trees. And at this stage it has no schools, no health clinics, no pagodas and no roads. ... International Rivers, a campaigning NGO, predicts the Lower Se San 2 Dam “will have a costly, catastrophic impact on the Mekong River's fisheries and biodiversity”. ... But media reports consistently show the government favors projects like hydropower dams and coal-fired power stations. More are likely to go ahead. On May 9, the Cambodia Daily newspaper said two more planned dams on the 3S network had been deemed economically feasible, moving them a step closer to approval. One would be a 370MW dam on the Se San River; the other a 100MW dam on the Sre Pok River. The first would flood 40 villages alone. Meanwhile the Cambodian government has plans to build a hydropower dam on its stretch of the Se Kong River, which rises in Laos. Baran says that would block the region's third fish highway, leaving the Mekong mainstream as the sole route for migratory species, further harming fish stocks. The rush to hydropower risks inflicting profound and irreversible damage to many more people than the residents of Srekor village.