FAQ – Social
What measures are being made to compensate families/people who are directly impacted by the project?
How can the developer and the GoL guarantee the locally affected people will not suffer long after the project has taken their land and livelihood and is generating both power and profits for the GoL and developer?
Fishers within Sahong will lose income from the loss of fish traps but will be offered opportunities to develop livelihood alternatives and be assisted to achieve replacement income from new sources. A compensation package will be arranged for directly affected people on a case-by-case basis. As in other major hydropower projects in Lao PDR, affected people have obtained better housing and infrastructure and more economic opportunities than they had.
The area of land taken up by the project is relatively small. The increase in inundated area is only 125Ha.
The livelihoods of local people are based on exploitation of the fishery resource, using methods that are currently against the Lao fishing regulations. Locals recognise that maintaining their livelihood by this method is becoming harder and may not be sustainable in the future. People who lose land or fishing rights to the project will be offered alternatives which can match the lost income. These compensations are guaranteed as the special social obligations of the developer required in the Concession Agreement with the GoL.
Can the Lao Government ensure that locally affected people will not suffer due to the loss of land or livelihood?
What benefits will DSHPP bring to the Siphandone region?
Fourteen households on Don Sahong Island were relocated to a new village less than 2 kilometers away. A temple, school and clinic have been built. The area of land taken up by the project is relatively small. The increase in the inundated area is only 125 ha. The livelihood of local peoples has been partly based on exploitation of fish, with a significant part of the catch caught by methods that are currently illegal and which target fish on their spawning migration. Local people will continue to catch fish for household use using legal gears, but commercial fishing catches will be reduced by trap removal and control of destructive fishing by explosives, poisons and electro fishers. Most local people understand that maintaining their livelihood by fishing d is becoming harder because of increasing competition for fish by people all along the Mekong, including downstream in Cambodia, from where many fish must migrate to reach Khone Falls. As fishing may not offer an adequate livelihood in the future the company is supporting measures to diversify livelihoods, including aquaculture and other crops.
As part of the preparatory works, the developer has built a road bridge from National Route 13 near Veunkham to Sadam Island crossing Phapheng Channel. The 340 m bridge opened in August 2015. When the power station is constructed, there will be formal road access to Don Sahong Island. These roadways serve 400 residents in the area, and have already provided a new level of convenience for residents by reducing reliance on small boats. In addition to improving road access, the project is creating employment opportunities for local people during construction and operation. Rural electrification will be extended throughout the region and improvements will be made to sanitation, health care, educational and cultural facilities. Tourism will increase as will trade and services.
Will the dam cut off one ??? some say the only ???fish migration route across the Khone falls, ???harming the food security of millions of people in the region?
The fact is there are several other channels that support fish migration in the dry season, and the project research indicates that other channels can and will be modified to accommodate more fish migrations in both directions in both seasons. The statement that the food security of ???millions of people??? will suffer is pure speculation and exaggeration designed to scare the public and win support for anti-dam groups. Extensive studies and investigations confirm that the proposed project will cause no significant impact to the full mainstream flow of the Mekong; nor will it affect fish migration or sediment passage to any degree that would harm downstream communities. Furthermore the Lao people also rely on the Mekong for their livelihood and we intend to enhance and improve their lives and the lives of their children as well as the fisheries sustainability of the area.