Damming the Mekong

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  • Often thought of as the Amazon of Southeast Asia, the mighty Mekong River flows through six nations and is central to the livelihoods of some 60 million people. In Laos, plans have been drawn up for 11 hydroelectric dams along the river, with the government agreeing to sell 95 percent of the electricity to neighboring Thailand. The envisioned construction projects and energy-centered commerce would create an unprecedented level of economic activity for the nation and alleviate a degree of the region's poverty. However, the dams may also cause devastating ecological damage and the dismantling of entire villages. This program travels to the site of the planned Xayaburi Dam in northern Laos, as well as to the capital city of Vientiane and other locations, to sift through the issues involved and determine whether or not the country's political and environmental leaders can find a solution. Presented and narrated by Thitarat Sriwattanapong, a Thai-born environmental studies Ph.D. candidate based in Laos.


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on March 03, 2013.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.


  • The Issue Damming the Mekong (1:33) -- Laos Proposed Hydro-Power Dams (2:25) -- Xayaburi Village (3:06) -- Helping the People of Laos? (2:44) -- Negative Impacts of Damming the Mekong River (3:14) -- Generating Income for Laos (1:53) -- Exporting Environmental Degradation? (4:29) -- Benefits vs. Costs to Environment (4:11) -- River Journey of Proposed Sites (2:02) -- Credits: Damming the Mekong (1:12)
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