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Consultants say Lao dam's redesign will protect environment

Jul 17. 2012
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Vientiane - A redesign of the much-criticised Xayaburi damon the Mekong River will ensure the project has no negative impact on the environment, foreign consultants told a delegation Tuesday.


A Bangkok-based environmentalist group insisted that the technology involved had never been tested on a South-East Asian river.
The 3.5-billion-dollar project in northern Laos will be the region's first dam to employ fish ladders, which have been used on dam sites in northern Europe.
Consulting firms Poyry of Finland and the French Compagnie Nationale du Rhone said a redesign will ensure that fish can travel up and down the river, the Vientiane Times reported.
"From our perspective the fisheries issue has not been addressed,"said Kirk Herbertson, Southeast Asia policy coordinator of the International Rivers organisation.
"Scientists have said there is simply not enough known about all of these migratory fish species in the Mekong, in order to make a conclusion right now that such technology will work," he said.
Technicians from a multi-governmental organisation and from donors including the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and embassies of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam were scheduled to visit the project Tuesday.
It was the first time that Laos has allowed an official visit to the project that has been criticised by environmentalists and neighbouring governments for its potential impact on downstream fisheries and the flow of sediments.//DPA

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