Government to inspect Xayaburi

Cambodia has been asked to send a delegation to the site of the proposed Xayaburi hydro-electric dam in northern Laos, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor said yesterday.

Kean Hor, who is also chairman of Cambodia’s National Mekong Committee, said the equivalent body in Thailand had urged the Kingdom to inspect development at the site.

“In reply, we asked Thailand to delay this inspection until water [on the Mekong River] wanes, because now water levels are high, and it would not be possible to see everything,” he said.

Cambodia has already voiced its opposition to the controversial US$3.8 billion, 1,285-megawatt hydroelectric dam, which in theory is on hold, but which environmental groups say is already being built.

Cambodia and Vietnam announced in early July they would write a joint letter to the Lao and Thai governments urging that construction of the dam be halted, until the potential trans-boundary impacts of the dam on Mekong communities are studied.

Kean Hor said it was important a Cambodian delegation visit the site before any decision is made to proceed with construction.

Cambodia must object if it is found that “the advantages of constructing the dam are smaller than the impact on the livelihoods of the people in the Lower Mekong, such as those in Cambodia and Vietnam”, he said.

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