An update on the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dams Project
Following Thein Sein’s announcement on September 30 that construction of the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam would be suspended, villagers living near the project are living in a state of uncertainty and fear as there is no evidence on the ground that the dam project has indeed been suspended. KDNG has been monitoring the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dams Project since 2005 and provides this brief update based on research conducted just before and after the suspension announcement.
Despite the announcement from Burma’s president, there has been no confirmation from the project manager, China Power Investment Corporation (CPI). In a October 3rd interview with Chinese media, Lu Qizhou, the President of CPI was very clear that CPI wants to go ahead with the construction: “I strongly hope that with unremitting efforts of relevant parties, this project can smoothly move forward on schedule, and mutual benefit and win-win result will become a reality for China and Myanmar” said Mr.Lu Qizhou.
Until there is an official announcement from CPI that it will stop all the dams on Irrawaddy and its source rivers, any of the seven planned dams that are part of the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dams Project could go ahead at any time. KDNG urges the cancellation of all seven hydropower dams at the source of the Irrawaddy. All of these dams will export electricity to China and will have the same negative impacts as the Myitsone dam. Building these mega dams will cause irreparable environmental destruction, unpredictable water surges and shortages, and inflict social and economic damage to the millions who depend on the Irrawaddy. Thousands of Kachin villagers will also be forced to relocate.