Infrastructure work for the Don Sahong Dam along with the building of a bridge that will connect to Don Sadam Island will start this year. Despite a horde of apprehensions appeared during an open discussion period with stakeholders, the official construction on the much argued Dam has begun from the starting months of this year.
This project has started pervasive concern among environmentalists and neighboring countries. According to them the Dam will block every migratory fish route, cynically affect nutrition and employment across provincial boundaries.
The Deputy General of the Lao Department of Electricity Daovieng Phonekeo stated that the all-out construction of the 260-megawatt dam will begin soon after the completion of a six-month discussion process. On 21 January, the consultation process has been completed and then they can begin making during the dry season from the months of January to May as the place faces no rainfall. During the rainy season the construction of the Dam is not possible. According to Daovieng Phonekeo, if they cannot start work this dry season, they have to wait for the next dry season; however, the unit has already planned to start the construction work from this year.
The Laos authorities decided in the last year June to open the Don Sahong project for consultations and scrutiny among the repeatable members of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). MRC is an intergovernmental body that supervises all developments along with the Mekong River and regional areas.
Severe concerns raised by several participants during a public consultation meeting. The members of civil society, governmental and non-governmental organizations, local and international organizations, highly renowned environmentalists all appear to scrap the project altogether in Pakse. The global environmental group International Rivers said that the official date for the consultation process was only decided by MRC members in the month October when the process was almost halfway over. The member of the Thai National Mekong Committee Chaiyuth Sukhsri asked that the government of Laos will take any of the suggestions from the consultation process into consideration before starting the construction process on the awaited dam.
He said that the members are worried as the government did not study the new information attained before the end of the six-month earlier conference process. According to them while planning for the construction, the government had to do a satisfactory job of studying several important factors like the seasonal flow of the Mekong, fish breeding. The government of Laos should impediment the project to examine the new information from the consultation process to evade potential future impacts.