A group of independent videographers and contributors travelled along the lower section of the Mekong River and to some riverside villages in the Northeast to observe and document the impacts of the dams upstream. They have also learned that solutions lie in people’s inclusion and participation, transboundary impact assessment, and alternative energy sources
“Drastic ecological change of the Mekong is linked with hydropower development. Water fluctuation due to the operation of upstream dams is indicated by the fish species and their stocks declined. In support of SUMERNET, we visited two communities located along the Mekong River.
“The first community is in Chiang Khan District, Loei Province bordering with Laos and the nearest downstream area in Thailand to the Xayaburi dam – the first dam in the lower Mekong mainstream completed in 2019. The second community is in Ubon Ratchathani – which is the last Province in Thailand before the Mekong flows into Laos territory.
“It is evident that both communities are struggling to make a living from the Mekong natural resource, in particularly the fishery, which has been their main protein as well as income. It is suggested that sustainable management of the Mekong River must be inclusively involved local people’s voices.
“Planned dams on the Mekong are also being questioned if it is necessary or not while better energy solutions exist such as solar, wind and biomass. Regional water governance is needed to ensure community rights and an equitable pathway for the Mekong people, especially for those who depend directly on this transboundary, shared and common resource.”