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Post Info TOPIC: Hydropower project turns on compensation flow

Hydropower project turns on compensation flow

Hydropower project turns on compensation flow

Vientiane Times, 7 Nov 2009

Compensation for affected villagers and funding for environmental
management are playing a key role in the Nam Ngum 5 hydropower

The project has set a budget of more than 1.7 billion kip (over US
$198,000) for compensation and more than 11.9 billion kip (over US$1.4
million) for the implementation of its environmental management plan.

The project is a joint investment by Sinohydro Corporation Limited and
Electricite du Laos (EDL), and is located in Phoukhoun district, Luang
Prabang province, about 300 km north of Vientiane.

General Manager of Nam Ngum 5 Power Company Limited, Mr Zhong
Haixiang, told Vientiane Times the only impact from the project
development would be faced by people living in Chim village, Phoukhoun

Forty-nine families in this village will lose farmland totalling about
50 hectares, which includes paddy fields belonging to 49 households.

These will be inundated in the creation of the reservoir.

The project's survey on land use types within and around the project
area found most was grassland (more than 1,600 ha) and permanent

According to the project, compensation will be in the form of a
payment for the value of the property concerned. The joint venture has
a formula to use for calculating compensation for the permanent loss
of land.

Compensation is specifically offered for the recompense of those
losing rice paddy fields and permanent farmland and market gardens,
and has so far been seen as satisfactory for both the project
operators and the villagers affected.

Although the impacts of the Nam Ngum 5 hydropower project on fishery
are expected to be minimal, it is clear that some mitigation measures
will be made as agreed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
report approved by the Lao government.

As precise forecasts of such impacts are notoriously difficult to
make, it is essential to continue monitoring for at least five years.

The Fisheries Department will be responsible for carrying out
monitoring, with the project to provide financial support, Mr Zhong

There may be a need to have periodic independent expert reviews of the
monitoring results to determine seasonal and long-term variations in
fish stocks prior to the impoundment.

Such reviews could indicate if a modification in methods or monitoring
frequency is needed.

They also serve to validate and certify baselines which could
otherwise become highly contentious as the project develops.

If, during dam construction or operations, a development occurs which
appears to affect downstream fishery, or which could be expected to do
so, additional and more extensive fishery surveys to assess the extent
of impact and to establish the level of compensation will be

According to consultations with local authorities during the EIA
survey, it seems the villagers strongly favour having a secondary
school to prevent their children dropping out after finishing primary

The project will make an effort to fund construction of a secondary
school in the area.

In addition, the project will improve access to health services, with
funding for both facilities and staffing.

Mr Zhong said the project will also provide technical assistance for
local people in extension work and market promotion, and to improve
the skills of local people.

The project will give advice on the management of village forestry and
promote the raising of livestock.

The project is under construction, with completion of the plant
expected within 48 months.

Construction began in 2008 with a total investment of US$200 million.
Commercial electricity generation is expected to begin in September

The dam is being built on the Nam Ting River, one of the main
tributaries of the Nam Ngum River.

The project is a component of the power development strategy adopted
by the Lao government to boost generating capacity to meet rising
demand domestically and throughout the region.

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