Reservoirs and dams in Laos


Reservoirs and dams in Laos

Hydro-electric power is one of the few significant resources in Laos with an estimated (theoretical) potential of 18000MW.

A section of the Theun-Hinboun Dam © Laurence McGrath, 2005

All existing and potential dams are on tributaries of Laos's main river, the Mekong. The country's earliest major dam is on the Ngum river near Vientiane providing 150MW mainly for domestic consumption. Completed in 1971 with Japanese aid, it flooded 370km² of forest and farmland to create the country's largest reservoir. Other major schemes are for export of electricity. Currently, the largest dam is the 80m Houay-Ho dam in the south of the country producing 150MW. One of the most productive has been the Theun-Hinboun scheme in the center of the country. With a relatively small dam and reservoir, it works by transferring most of the Theun river to the neighbouring (and lower) Hinboun river by tunnel, producing 210MW. Theun-Hinboun provides substantial economic benefits to Laos through energy sales to neighboring Thailand, local energy supplies in Laos, and regional development benefits. [www.thpclaos.com]

At least eleven sites have been identified for a series of further large dams to be built up to 2020 to produce a total of 5000MW. Thailand would be supplied by a dam on the Ngiep and further dams on the Ngum and Theun, other sites being on the Kong, Mo, Xe Pian and Xe Kaman in the south of the country for supply to Vietnam. With political support, the only questions concern raising finance on the international markets. The largest dam planned is the Nam Theun II, 50km upstream of Theun-Hinboun. This will be 50m high, provide 1000MW and flood an area of 450km², construction cost being around half the annual Laos GDP. Final hurdles to starting construction appear to have been cleared early in 2005, despite considerable environmental opposition.

The controversy of dam building mirrors that concerning globalization. Proponents argue that the dams provide a sustainable source of foreign currency vital for economic growth, achieved primarily by selling electricity to neighbouring Thailand. Opponents argue that most of the income is needed to pay off foreign debt, and the locals who suffer most upheaval never get properly compensated. Flooding and water diversion adversely affect the environment, and projects can end up less profitable than expected due to silting and/or market changes.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of reservoirs and dams — The List of reservoirs and dams is a link page for any reservoir or dam in the world, by continent.AfricaCameroon*Edea Dam *Song Loulou Dam *Lagdo DamNigeria*Kainji Dam *Jebba Dam *Shiroro Dam *Kano Dam *Kafin Zaki DamEgypt*Aswan Dams and Lake… …   Wikipedia

  • List of dams and reservoirs — The following is a list of reservoirs and dams, arranged by continent and country. Contents 1 Africa 1.1 Botswana 1.2 Cameroon …   Wikipedia

  • List of Laos-related topics — This is a list of topics related to Laos. This is so that those interested in the subject can monitor changes to the pages by clicking on Recent changes in the sidebar.The list is not necessarily complete or up to date if you see an article that… …   Wikipedia

  • List of dams and reservoirs in Iran — The massive Karun 3 dam, was inaugurated recently[when?] as part of a drive to boost Iran s growing energy demands Dam construction started in Iran in the 1950s. Some fourteen large dams were built with the help of foreign engineers and advisors… …   Wikipedia

  • Architecture and Civil Engineering — ▪ 2009 Introduction Architecture       For Notable Civil Engineering Projects in work or completed in 2008, see Table (Notable Civil Engineering Projects (in work or completed, 2008)).        Beijing was the centre of the world of architecture… …   Universalium

  • List of dams and reservoirs in India — Map of the major rivers, lakes and reservoirs in India This page lists the dams and reservoirs in India. It also includes lakes. This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it …   Wikipedia

  • Business and Industry Review — ▪ 1999 Introduction Overview        Annual Average Rates of Growth of Manufacturing Output, 1980 97, Table Pattern of Output, 1994 97, Table Index Numbers of Production, Employment, and Productivity in Manufacturing Industries, Table (For Annual… …   Universalium

  • Geography of Cyprus — Cyprus Native name: Greek: Κύπρος Turkish: Kıbrıs Map of Cyprus …   Wikipedia

  • History of Sri Lanka — This article is part of a series Documents …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of Bulgaria — European cinema  • Cinema of Albania  • Cinema of Armenia  • Cinema of Austria  • Cinema of Azerbaijan  • Cinema of Belgium  • Cinema of Bosnia Herzegovina  • Cinema of Bulgar …   Wikipedia


We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.