In the rustic old town of Chiang Khan on the Mekong River, a tourist haven in northeastern Thailand’s Isaan region, local fishing communities now live in fear of a proposed dam that threatens to devastate their livelihoods.
The $2 billion, 684-megawatt dam would sit just 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) upstream of the Thai border, in Laos, and has triggered outrage over its potential transboundary impacts.
“Sanakham dam will be a disaster for ecology and fish, it will also cause worse flooding followed by drought,” Thanusilp Inda, the head of Ban Klang village in Chiang Khan, tells Mongabay.
The Lao government already has two dams operating on the Mekong and seven more mainstream dams scheduled for construction. Further upstream in China, another 11 dams are already in operation on the river.