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Lower Sesan 2 Dam Same Company, Two Dams, One River: Using Hydrolancang’s China Domestic Practice to

Lower Sesan 2 Dam

Same Company, Two Dams, One River:

Using Hydrolancang’s China Domestic Practice to Mainstream Biodiversity, Fisheries and Livelihood Protection in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam Project

Iris Yaxin Ren Feburary 2015

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

............................................................................................................................................

4

Project Case Studies’ Introduction .........................................................................................................................................4 Research Methodology ............................................................................................................................................................4 Summary of Key Findings ......................................................................................................................................................5

2. Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams

...........................................................................................................................

8

  • 2.1 Environmental Impacts .....................................................................................................................................................8 Habitats Inundation ....................................................................................................................................................8 Hydrology, Water Temperature and Sedimentation................................................................................................8 Fisheries ........................................................................................................................................................................8

  • 2.2 Hydrolancang’s Practices in Managing Impacts on Biodiversity and Fisheries ........................................................9

Manwan.........................................................................................................................................................................9

Nuozhadu ......................................................................................................................................................................9

  • 2.3 Hydrolancang’s Environmental Practices in Other Lancang Dams

10

10

10

Nuozhadu

10

Impacts on Downstream Communities in the Lancang Basin

10

11

11

Nuozhadu

11

  • 2.6 What Prompted Changes in Hydrolancang’s Practice?

13

Improvements in the Law

13

Increasing Environmental and Social Scrutiny from the NGOs, the Public and the Media

14

Additional Factors

14

  • 3 Lower Sesan 2 Dam Project

16

  • 3.1 Mitigation Measures for Biodiversity and Fishery Impacts

16

Biodiversity and Fishery Impacts

16

Mitigation Measures ..................................................................................................................................................

16

  • 3.2 Livelihoods Impacts and Mitigation Measures

16

Impacts on Livelihoods

16

Compensations and Livelihoods Support ...............................................................................................................20

  • 3.3 Comparison Summary .....................................................................................................................................................23

  • 4 Key Findings

28

  • 4.1 Comparison of Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Between Projects in China and Cambodia

28

  • 4.2 Comparison of the Social Impact Mitigation Measures Between Projects in China and Cambodia

28

  • 4.3 Responsiveness to Civil Society and NGO Concerns:

29

  • 4.4 Lessons Learned

30

1. Executive Summary

China’s enthusiasm for dam building has in recent years spilled over into the Mekong region. Development plans and construction for a 28 dam cascade on the Upper Mekong (Lancang River) have been underway for over 20 years, which have fundamentally altered the entire Mekong River Basin. However, more recent has been the emergence of Chinese state-owned enterprises active in dam building in China taking a leading role in hydropower development of the Lower Mekong River Basin as project developers with the support of China’s “going-out” policy. In line with this trend, Hydrolancang – responsible for constructing no less than 7 dams on the Upper Mekong – began construction in 2013 on its first overseas hydropower project, the Lower Sesan 2 Dam Project in Cambodia.

Dams in the Mekong Basin have been controversial for a number of reasons: impact on fisheries, fragmentation of the globally unique freshwater ecosystems, a poor track record on environmental and social impact mitigation, and downstream transboundary impacts. Many of these factors are of concern in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam Project and for these reasons the project has been amongst the most controversial and destructive projects to be developed in recent years.

In this report, three dams have been compared in the Mekong River Basin to contrast and compare efforts in environmental and social impact mitigation. The three projects examined are Manwan Dam (phase 1 completed in 1995 and phase 2 completed in 2007, Lancang River, China), Nuozhadu Dam (completed 2014, Lancang River, China), and Lower Sesan 2 (Under Construction, Sesan River, Cambodia). Through fieldwork and literature review (both Chinese and English), we have sought to better understand and analyze the standards adopted by Hydrolancang in its domestic work in China and in overseas contexts as a co-project developer in Cambodia.

Project Case Studies: Introduction

The 400 megawatt Lower Sesan 2 Dam is located on the Sesan River in Sesan District, Stung Treng Province, 1.5 kilometers downstream from the confluence of the Srepok and Sesan Rivers in Cambodia. The project, valued at 816 million USD, was first approved by Cambodia’s Cabinet in November 2012. In February 2013, Cambodia’s National Assembly approved the project’s overseas financing, effectively giving the project the green light. The Lower Sesan 2 Dam is a joint venture between Cambodia’s Royal Group (49 percent share) and Hydrolancang International Energy Co., Ltd (51 percent share). A number of studies have identified significant and far-reaching social and environmental impacts if the Lower Sesan 2 Dam goes ahead as proposed].

Hydrolancang, the Chinese state-owned enterprise developing the Lower Sesan 2 Project, is also the main hydropower developer on the Upper Mekong River, known as the Lancang River in China. The company is owned by one of the largest electricity generation companies in China, Huaneng Corporation.

The Manwan Dam (1550 MW) was the first dam built on the Lancang River and started operation in 1995.The Nuozhadu Dam structure

(5850MW) was completed in 2012, with the last of the nine turbines installed and starting operation in June 2014. Both dams are part of the Lancang Dam cascade being built by Hydrolancang. Over a period of almost twenty years, Hydrolancang has undertaken a range of social and environmental impact mitigation strategies for the Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams, largely in response to increased scrutiny of the impacts of large dams in China. When construction of Manwan Dam began in 1986, minimal mitigation strategies were undertaken, and limited environmental and social impact information was made available ahead of construction. In comparison, multiple and more effective mitigations measures were carried out at the Nuozhadu Dam. The company had became more experienced in managing social and environmental risks, but there was greater public pressure on the company as a result of NGO advocacy and media scrutiny.

Research Methodology

Several methods were employed to collect information for this study. We conducted a literature review the on the impacts on biodiversity, fisheries and local communities by the Manwan Dam, the Nuozhadu Dam, and the Lower Sesan 2 Dam (as this project is not completed, our research scope was limited to expected impacts). For the Lancang Dams, to establish the company’s practice in social and environmental impact mitigation, we collected primary information using field research on Hydrolancang’s efforts to mitigate the impacts (biodiversity protection, fisheries, resettlement) from the two Upper Mekong dams, on the results of the measures, and evidence of its successes and failures.

As Lower Sesan 2 Dam is currently under construction and the resettlement process is still underway, we relied on fieldwork to assess the level of social impact and post-resettlement support and livelihood restoration needs. We conducted three field trips to the Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s project site to gather data using community interviews and conduct site investigations. In total, fourteen villages were visited, including three villages downstream from the dam (Ban Mai village, Kampun village and Phluk village), seven villages in the proposed reservoir area (Chrab, Kbal Romeas, Srae Sranok, Srae kor 1, Srae kor 2, Khsach Thmei, Krabei Chrum), and six villages upstream of the reservoir (Hat Pak village, Veun Hay, Phlueu Touch, Tumpuou Reung, Ke Kuong Leu, and Lumphat). In total forty-nine community interviews were conducted for the purposes of this report. The interviews were conducted in Khmer with assistance from local community facilitators to translate locally spoken languages into Khmer. A predetermined questionnaire (Annex 1) was used in each interview.

Finally, we compared and contrasted the Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s expected impacts on biodiversity, fisheries and local communities with the two Lancang dams. During the research period, we contacted the dam developer Hydrolancang twice to request meetings and additional project information for all three projects, but did not receive any response.

Summary of Key Findings

 

Comparison of Hydrolancang Project’s Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures

  • - Lower Sesan 2’s environmental protection measures budget is less than 2% of what was included for Nuozhadu Dam.

  • - Hydrolancang adopted various measures to mitigate the biodiversity and fisheries impacts of

Nuozhadu, such as relocating endangered and important tree species to botanic gardens, establishing wildlife aid center, redesigning the water intake gate to address water temperature changes, and

restocking fisheries in the reservoir. The effectiveness of these measures is very limited to the reservoir area, compared to the project’s significant downstream and upstream impacts.

  • - Hydrolancang does not have a good track record in hydrological and sedimentation management in China.

  • - Hydrolancang has cancelled or redesigned dams for environmental protection purposes on the Upper Mekong.

  • - Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s Project Developers’ have yet

to publicly adopt or commit to any concrete

measures to mitigate the impacts of Lower Sesan 2 Dam on freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity.

Comparison of Hydrolancang Project’s Social Impact Mitigation Measures

  • - The 2006 Chinese resettlement regulations were critical in improving the amount of resettlement compensation and the level of post-resettlement support for Nuozhadu Dam. In Cambodia, the lack of national resettlement laws means that the company and government have determined resettlement compensation and livelihood restoration in an ad-hoc way, and focused only on the reservoir and inundation area.

  • - The compensation package currently offered to affected people by Lower Sesan 2 is only 23% of

Nuozhadu’s resettlement budget on a per person basis.

  • - Hydrolancang adopted the principle of maintaining

the same living standards post resettlement in

Nuozhadu Dam. No livelihood restoration objective

has been adopted for the affected people of Lower

Sesan 2.

  • - Post resettlement measures in the Nuozhadu Dam included long-term compensation payments for the duration of the operation of the hydropower project, livelihood development subsidies, and discounted loans to support the building of new dwellings. In addition, Hydrolancang has funded public works, purchases of agricultural animals and plantation trees, and training projects to develop aquaculture

skills. Lower Sesan 2’s Project Developers has not yet publicly committed to livelihood support for

affected communities by Lower Sesan 2 Dam.

Company’s Responsiveness to Civil Society and NGO concerns

  • - Hydrolancang’s project Manwan Dam in China has

been the center of public scrutiny due to their

association with very poor resettlement practice. However, the company has only responded directly

to the government’s request for action, rather than concerns voiced by the affected communities and

NGOs.

  • - Civil society in Cambodia had very little public reaction from Hydrolancang, despite sending invitations to meetings and letters to the company. This has resulted in much frustration from the environmental and social NGO community in Cambodia and has negatively impacted the international reputation of the company.

Recommendations

 

The Lower Sesan 2 Project is the first overseas investment project undertaken by Hydrolancang. The

company has tended to rely on judgment of the Cambodia government and its local project partner, Royal

Group, particularly in the areas of resettlement and community relations management. Normally this tends to be the case when Chinese State-Owned Enterprises invest abroad. Hydrolancang does not have experience

in managing the mitigation of significant environmental

and social impacts, and has tended to trust its

project partners to do a good job.

The project developers should halt the project construction and turn their attention to resolving key environmental and social issues. The project developers’ should develop and implement proper compensation measures for biodiversity protection before the project’s impacts are irreversible. These

measures must extend beyond the reservoir area, and

attend to the project’s significant upstream and

downstream impacts. As shown in contrasting the Manwan and Nuozhadu cases studies, compensation

measures for the loss of habitat, biodiversity or fishery

have to be planned in advance and properly

budgeted, because compensation measures need to be implemented before the loss or threatens have

happened and usually require extra land and budget for implementation.

In the area of social impacts, the full scale of impacts must be properly acknowledged. People who have only farmlands (not dwellings) inundated should be also counted in the resettlement plan. This is the standard required by Chinese resettlement law and was the approach adopted in Nuozhadu. The Developers should also conduct a proper impacts assessment on the cultural sites and resources including the spiritual forests and ancestral burial lands, and develop compensation plan for the cultural losses. Such assessment and compensation plan should extend beyond the resettlement villages and cover all the villages living

around the reservoir, downstream and upstream areas,

whose cultural sites are subject to impacts from

construction, inundation and operation. Further, communities whose food security will be negatively impacted must be supported. Livelihood restoration for all those impacted must also be addressed. The loss

of livelihoods due to the dam include loss of fishery, loss of agricultural lands, decreased productivity of new

farmland, loss of irrigation water, loss of income from tourism and boat transportation, loss of easy access

to forests, and loss of natural resources for livestock –

all these losses should be evaluated and properly

compensated before the project moves forward. Lower Sesan 2’s Project Developers should develop a detailed plan about how to support on the new livelihoods. The support should at least include monetary compensation, technical training, and provision of resources for establishing new livelihoods, provided by the Project Developers and the Cambodian government.

   

2. Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams

Manwan Dam was the first dam built on the Lancang River. It started operation in 1995 and was only fully completed in 2007. Nuozhadu Dam was completed in 2012 and the last remaining turbine started operation in June 2014. The detail information of the two dams can be found in Table 1.

2.1 Environmental impacts

This section outlines the environmental impacts of the Lancang Dam case studies, Manwan and Nuozhadu.

Habitat Inundation

The 23.6 square kilometer reservoir of Manwan Dam inundated

  • 567 hectares of forest, 152 hectares of grassland and 415 hectares

of farmland. As a result, some bird species who are adapted to

low elevation and hot and dry valley climates have been observed to move their habitats to downstream of the dams, such as Coracias benghalensis, Picus chlorolophus, Garrulax pectoralis, and Garrulax chinensis. Animals including the Black-Crested Gibbon, Serow, Forest Musk Deer, Goral, and Sambar Deer were forced to move from lower elevation areas to higher elevation areas. The populations of Otter, Pangolin, Barking Deer, Forest Musk Deer, and Sambar Deer have largely decreased near the reservoir area due to ecosystem loss, while numbers of Yunnan hare and mice have been largely increased. 1 Land loss was also not limited to inundation areas. Approximately 700 hectares of forest and grassland areas were cleared to build houses, provide new farmlands and construct water channels and roads for the Manwan resettlement project. 2 Another few hundred hectares of forestland was cleared by the displaced people to offset the lower productivity of new farmlands received in the resettlement process. 3,4

Habitat loss from Nuozhadu Dam was much bigger than Manwan Dam. As the Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA) Report of Nuozhadu Dam estimated, due to the size of Nuozhadu dam’s

reservoir area of 320 square kilometers, resulting in the loss of a

  • 215 kilometer long aquatic habitat, 17,994 hectares of forest, 5,816

hectares of farmland, and 2,613 hectares of gardens.

Hydrology, Water Temperature and Sedimentation

The Lancang Dams have impacted hydrological conditions, water temperatures and sedimentation downstream in the Mekong River as far as Cambodia and with sediment impacts as far as Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Studies have confirmed that the wet season flow will decrease, while the dry season flow will increase because of the operation of the Lower Lancang Cascade. In the wet season, the flow at Chiang Saen decreases by up to 30 percent and is caused by the Lancang Dams holding back water flow to fill storage and regulation reservoirs. Chapman and He Daming reported that during the mean dry season the flow at the tri- border area (China, Laos and Myanmar) can increase by as much as 170 percent with Nuozhadu regulating the flow of water for hydropower production. 5

The Lancang River has been transformed into a series of reservoirs, increasing the reservoir surface water temperature during every month. The average temperature in Manwan in the post-dam period was 4.8 degrees higher compared to the pre-dam period. 6 After Manwan started operation, the water temperature at Jiuzhou and Yunjinghong stations showed an obvious positive corresponding relationship, which means the Manwan Dam caused water temperature changes as far as at Yunjinghong station, 401 kilometers downstream. 7 The temperature of water discharged from the Nuozhadu dam will be 0.4 to 6.4 degrees lower than the natural water temperature from March to September and 0.6 to 5.3 degrees higher in October to February. The average annual water temperature will drop 0.6 degrees and the temperature of discharged water will reach to 16.3 degrees at its lowest. As most local fish in Lancang River spawn from April to August, the decreased water temperature and the enlarged water temperature fluctuation will change the behaviors of the fish species, impacting both their reproduction and migration activities.

The sedimentation capture rate by the Manwan Dam has been estimated in a range of 53 to 94 percent and the sedimentation impacts from Manwan extend as far as to Vientiane. 8 In the first ten years of Manwan Dam’s operation, the annual mean sediment trapped by the Manwan Dam was estimated to be about 35 percent of total sedimentation transported from Lancang Basin to Lower Mekong. The theoretical trapping efficiency of Nuozhadu Dam is estimated at 92 percent. 9 With both dams now operational, the cumulative impacts on sedimentation withholding by the Lancang Dams is very significant.

Fisheries

With limited baseline information collected prior to the hydropower development of the Lancang River, very limited research exists about the specific impacts of each dam project.

Table 1: Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams on the Lancang River, Yunnan, China.

Dam Name

Installed

Dam Height

Total Storage

Regulation

Regulation

Status

Capacity (MW)

(m)

(km3)

storage (km3)

Type

Manwan

1550

126

 
  • 0.92 Seasonal

0.26

 

Completed

(phase 1 in1995 and phase 2 in 2007)

Nuozhadu

5850

261.5

 

11.3

  • 22.7 Yearly

 

Completed (2012)

This section concentrates on the cumulative impact of fisheries caused by the dam cascade on the Lower reaches of the Lancang River, which include Nuozhadu and Manwan Dam.

Recent fish surveys 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 have observed a reduction in numbers of some fish species and great changes in fish species composition in the Lancang River in Yunnan, as the result of the formation of large reservoirs, and largely altered hydrological and sedimentation schemes. Fish surveys15 conducted in 2009 and 2010 found that the number of fish species along the Lancang River in Yunnan had reduced from 139 to 80, compared to historic data. Another fish survey conducted from 2008 to 201316 was only able to capture 71 fish species, compared to 165 fish species historically recorded in the middle and lower reaches of the Lancang River. Fish species from Siluridae, Sisoridae, Perciformes, Barbinae, Labeoninae, and Schizothoracinae groups have greatly decreased. Dam construction has caused the loss of habitats, reproduction areas and food sources for demersal fishes (e.g. Labeoninae and Cobitidae), which are more adapted to fast flow conditions, and the fish species which live in the middle and bottom layers of flowing water, such as Siluridae, Sisoridae and Barbinae. The number of big fishes such as Tor Gray, Bagarius, and Bangana in the main stem river has decreased, while small and medium sized fishes have become the dominant species.

The Lancang Dams have not only altered the number of fish species that can be found, but also changed their composition. Fifteen new native species and twelve kinds of alien fishes were found after Manwan Dam was built. The introduction of alien species (e.g. Neosalanx taihuensis, Carassius auratus auratus) has led to the disappearance of some local fish species. 17 The introduced fish species, such as Oreochromis Mossambica, which is commonly grown in commercial aquaculture, has become the dominant species in the reservoir areas. 18

Several fish species including Pangasius, Tor sinensis, Wallago attu, Hemibagrus wychioides, have been found to migrate from the Lower Mekong River to the upper Lancang River, and forage and spawn in the Buyuan River. 19 However, Ding and Ji (2009) noted that after 1993, traces of four known long distance migratory fish species have not been found. 20 The timing coincides with the construction of Manwan Dam.

2.2 Hydrolancang’s Practices in Managing Impacts on Biodiversity and Fisheries

Manwan

In 1984, the Kunming Survey, Design and Research Institute

(now known as PowerChina Kunming Engineering Corporation Limited) designed the Manwan Dam, completed a report titled

Field Survey and Assessment Report of Biological Resources near

Manwan Dam Reservoir Area in Lancang River in Yunnan. In 1990, the same institute completed the Manwan Hydropower Project Environmental Monitoring Station Design Report. These are the only reports that can be found on the environmental impacts of Manwan Dam, reflecting that at the time no environmental impact assessments were required.

In 1993, Manwan Dam’s environmental monitoring station was built and started monitoring water temperature, weather,

water quality, sediment deposit, aquatic species, terrestrial species, and seismic activity. 21 However, there is no publicly available information to indicate that Hydrolancang has used the monitoring data to develop measures to avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate for the adverse impacts on biodiversity and fisheries caused by Manwan Dam. Hydrolancang’s total investment in environmental protection efforts was only 58 million RMB (9.28 million USD), the lowest among the six built dams on the Lancang River.

Nuozhadu

Nuozhadu Dam has been treated as a showcase project by Hydrolancang to demonstrate its environmental protection efforts in hydropower development. Compared with Manwan, Hydrolancang made a big step forward in mitigating and compensating for adverse environmental effects of the Nuozhadu Dam project. Hydrolancang’s budget for environmental protection in the Nuozhadu Dam was 790 million RMB 22 (126 million USD), almost 14 times the budget of Manwan Dam. The main biodiversity and fisheries management measures adopted in the Nuozhadu project included:

Establishing a 6.6 hectare botanic garden for valuable and rare

plants. Eleven important plant species with state protection classification were moved from the flooded reservoir area to the garden, including the Cycas pectinata and Cycas balansae species. 23 Adopting a stratified water intake with a stoplog gate design,

which was expected to increase water temperature by 2.8 degrees, compared to two-pipe design option. 24 Hydrolancang spent an additional 38 million USD in adopting the redesign. However, a senior fish specialist from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Mr. Chen Daqing, said that while the stoplog gate may help to increase the water temperature, it is not very effective in managing the ecological impacts of lowered water temperatures. Stratified water intake is only able to increase the water temperature by 1 to 2 degrees, but a 5 to 6 degree increase is usually required in larger dams to mitigate downstream impacts. 25 There are two water temperature monitoring stations in the Nuozhadu reservoir, but no public data from the monitoring stations has been released. 26 Commencing a fish restocking program in June 2013. On

14 June 2013, Hydrolancang released 2.15 million juvenile fish into the Nuozhadu reservoir, including 50,000 of local fish wallago (Wallago attu), 100,000 of local fish silk tail catfish (Mystus wyckioides), 1 million alien fish silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), and another 1 million of alien fish bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis). Hydrolancang plans to invest 3.85 million RMB (625,000 USD) in 3 more fish releases between 2013 and 2015 - releasing 350,000 local fishes and 6 million of introduced fishes. 27 In 2008, Hydrolancang started to selectively trap and

transport fish over the dam, such as Tor (tor) sinensis, Barbodes huangchuchieni, and Platytropius sinensis. 28 In order to protect fish habitats and rare and valuable fish species, Hydrolancang plans to establish a fish reserve downstream of Ganlan Dam and Nanla River, one of the tributaries of Lancang River. 29

Notwithstanding the above measures, the compensation measures for terrestrial habitat rehabilitation are still too limited. Only

a 6.6 hectare botanic garden was created to offset 487 hectares

of inundated primary and secondary forests. The planning of fish reserves is still under investigation, while six mega dams have been completed by Hydrolancang on the Lancang River. Mitigation measures, such as establishing fish reserves is recommended before dams are built, because it is very difficult to restock the local fish species once fisheries are negatively impacted. Although the fish restocking program may help to increase the overall amount of fish in the reservoir, it does so at the cost of local fish species and expedites the introduction of alien fish species. Both the fish release and the trap-and-transport programs can only benefit a select few local fish species.

  • 2.3 Hydrolancang’s Environmental

Practices in Other Lancang Dams

Hydrolancang has made efforts in other dam projects on the Lancang River to avoid and minimize the adverse environmental impacts. Gushui Dam’s height was reduced due to concerns over flooding of a protected area in Tibet. Guonian Dam, originally planned between the Gushui and Wunonglong Dams, was cancelled because of its potential impacts on the Mingyong Glacier. The water level of Wunonglong Dam was reduced to avoid the impacts on the Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Area, which reduced the dam’s installed capacity. 30 Mengsong Dam, originally planned as the last dam on the Lancang River, was canceled due to concerns over its negative impact on fish migration. 31

  • 2.4 Impacts on livelihoods from

Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams

Manwan

The original resettlement population for the Manwan Dam was underestimated at 3,513 people. By the end of Manwan Dam Phase I, 7,260 people were officially affected. 32 Due to conservative estimations made in the planning process, the final resettled population was double original estimates. As a strategy to reduce the total resettlement population, only people whose houses were inundated qualified for resettlement compensation. Households who only had farmlands inundated were not included in the official affected or resettlement population. The resettled people not only lost their land, farmland, and easy access to water resources, but also had to face serious problems with new livelihood development and landslide risks.

Around the Manwan Dam reservoir area, the average farmland area per capita reduced by 386 square meters after the dam was

built. Table 2 summarizes the reduction of the farmlands by type after the construction of Manwan Dam. Resettled people were not the only ones who lost land; host communities also had their farmlands redistributed to accommodate the resettled people. 33 The productivity of new farmlands given to the resettled people in mountainous areas had only one fourth of the productivity compared with the original farmlands. In the new farmlands on the mountain slopes, farmers were faced with landslide risks and suffered from a lack of access to irrigation water. The amount of economic forest (plantations) around the Manwan reservoir reduced by 28 percent after the dam was built. 34 Affected people also had difficulties raising cattle and collecting wood fuel because a lot of lands were turned from forests into farmland. All of these factors resulted in a deterioration in the living standards of resettled people. According to the Yunnan Statistics Bureau’s survey, the annual income per capita of the resettled people in 1996 was 64 percent lower than the provincial average. In previous surveys completed before the dam was built, the resettled peoples’ incomes were 64 percent higher than the provincial average. 35

Nuozhadu

The resettlement population of Nuozhadu Dam was 48,429 people, 14,364 of which lived in the reservoir area. Those resettled came from 81 villages in 9 counties, and 3 townships. The reservoir inundated 495,402 square meters of houses. Unlike Manwan Dam, the people whose houses are not inundated but farmlands were affected were also counted in the resettlement population. However, the resettlement plan seems to have been slowly implemented. 37 As of September 2014, only 40 percent of the resettlement people in Puer City were resettled, while Nuozhadu Dam has been in full operation since June 2014.

Impacts on Downstream Communities in the Lancang Basin

The social impacts of Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams extended to communities living along downstream Mekong River. Changes in hydrology, fisheries and sedimentation caused by the dams have extensive and more significant impacts on millions of people downstream who rely directly on the river for their food and livelihoods. Despite observable transboundary impacts from Manwan Dam, no transboundary impact assessment was conducted during the planning and design stages of Nuozhadu Dam. No compensation has ever been given to downstream communities in the Lower Mekong countries for the transboundary impacts of these projects.

Table 2: Land Use Before and After the Construction of Manwan Dam 36

Farmland

Loss

Compensation

Change

Change

(ha)

(ha)

(ha)

(percent)

Paddy

 
  • 241.92 -88.40

  • 153.52 -36.5

 

Dry Land

 
  • 173.04 +33.45

  • 206.49 +19.3

 

Total

 
  • 414.97 -54.96

  • 360.01 -17.2

 

2.5 Hydrolancang’s Practices in Managing Impacts of Local Livelihoods

In China, resettlement is a shared responsibility between the government and project developer. In China, the dam company is only legally required to develop resettlement action plan, pay the compensation and resettlement costs, implementation of resettlement plan or post-resettlement support is carried out by the local government.

Manwan

The initial resettlement budget prepared by Hydrolancang was 55 million RMB 38 (approximately 882,000 USD). Each displaced person only received about 3,000 RMB (481 USD) as compensation. Before 2007, the displaced rural people in Manwan project received 400 RMB (64 USD) per person per year as post- resettlement support. After 2007, the post-resettlement support increased to 600 RMB (96 USD) per capita per year in accordance with the new resettlement policy. In addition, the duration of post- resettlement support was extended from 10 to 20 years.

In 2002 and 2004 field trips conducted by a Chinese NGO and academic researchers found that half of the population of Tianba resettlement village lived on trash collection. Their resettlement compensation, which was equal to five years of pre-dam farming income, had been borrowed and lost in a business initiative by the resettlement office. As a result many people lived only in the temporary resettlement houses. Although Hydrolancang had promised to give 3 to 5 percent of generated electricity to local people, the local people could not afford to build the transmission lines to gain access to the electricity. 39

In 2004 Yunnan Province proposed resettling some communities for a second time. Hydrolancang provided 87 million RMB support. This resettlement package involved the second time resettlement of 2,033 people and enhanced livelihood support for 5,357 people. 40 There is evidence that the additional resettlement support was still occurring ongoing between 2008 and 2009, up to 5 years after the initial program was launched. 41 In 2009, China Environment Newspaper reported for a second time on the sad story of Tianba village and another affected minority village, Jiangbian. 42 In 2013, Chinese media reported on the affected village of Tiankouya, in which villagers’ crops had failed because they could not afford to pump the water to irrigate crops and couldn’t catch enough fish to support livelihoods. 43

With the support from the local government, some local people started to develop cage-based aquaculture as new income sources in 2006. 44 In addition from 2002 to 2008, Hydrolancang provided over 1.3 million lac seedlings to local people near Manwan reservoir and supported the development of lac plantation for income generation. 45 Since 2006, Hydrolancang invested over 10 million RMB (approximately 1.6 million USD) to build schools, clinics, and water supply projects, and improve transportation access in local villages. Another 1 million RMB was invested to help the people around the reservoir to plant economic trees and raise gooses to improve their livelihoods. 46

After twenty years since the Manwan Dam was built and after twice being resettle, many displaced people are still struggling with the loss of livelihoods and living in poverty. During International Rivers’ visit to Tianba Village in 2013, it was found most of the families had only just completed relocation for the second time. In the new resettlement village, most male adults had moved to cities for paid work leaving only females at home. The lack of farmland and limited local job opportunities leaves many families without any other option. Although Tianba village has new homes, each household now has over tens of thousands of RMB in debt. People still don’t have convenient access to schools and medical clinics.

Nuozhadu

Lessons learned from the Manwan Dam’s resettlement program were reflected in the planning of Nuozhadu Dam. A basic principle to maintain the same living standards post resettlement was adopted for Nuozhadu’s Resettlement Program. The total resettlement investment budget was therefore substantially higher compared to Manwan, at 8,920 million RMB, (approximately 30,190 USD per person), almost ten times Manwan Dam’s resettlement budget.

Resettlement site options were given to the affected people. They could choose either to move up above the reservoir into concentrated residential areas, move out of the reservoir area into concentrated residential areas or move by themselves. 47 Table 3 shows the standard compensation prices for small town relocation. In 2010, the Puer City Government released the “Notice about Suggestions on Resettlement and Compensation for Nuozhadu Hydropower Project”, requiring the provision of water supply, electricity supply, road access, education, clinics, and radio and television to all resettlement sites and that livelihoods and living standards be restored to pre-resettlement levels or the host communities level.

Table 3: Compensation Prices for Small Town Relocation for Nuozhadu Hydropower Project

   

Item

Unit

Price

Housing Compensation

Frame Structure

RMB/m 2

699

Brick-concrete Structure

RMB/m 2

561

Brick-wood Structure

RMB/m 2

453

Earth-wood Structure

RMB/m 2

337

Wood Structure

RMB/m 2

344

Ancillary Buildings Compensation

1.

Retaining Brickwork

RMB/m 3

90

2.

Enclosing Walls

RMB/m 3

100

3.

Outdoor Terrace (for Sun-drying)

RMB/m 3

20

4.

Drinking Water Tank

RMB/m 3

150

5.

Water Supply Pipes

m/φ

2

6.

Toilets/Latrines

RMB/item

60

7.

Cooking Range

RMB/item

100

8.

Biogas Digesters

RMB/item

1500

Scattered Fruit Trees and Other Plantation Trees

1.

Fruit Trees

RMB/plant

37

Compensation

2.

Cash Trees

RMB/plant

22

3.

Timber Trees

RMB/plant

12

4.

Landscape Trees

RMB/plant

500

Moving Cost

RMB

656

Land Acquisition Compensation (including land

Paddy Field

RMB/mu

27344

compensation, relocation compensation, compensation for any buildings on the land, and crops compensation)

 

Dry Land

RMB/mu

14176

Rubber Plantation Land

RMB/mu

33600

 

Timber Land

RMB/mu

3701

Unused Land

RMB/mu

7088

Resettlement site preparation

Earth-rock Excavation

RMB/m 3

11

Backfill Tamping

RMB/m 3

14

M5 Masonry Stone Retaining Walls

RMB/m 3

182

Civil Engineering Costs for Resettlement Site

 

Streets and Drainage

Concrete-paved Main Streets

RMB/m

 

Concrete-paved Secondary Streets

RMB/m

 

Concrete-paved lanes

RMB/m

 

Drainage Cost

RMB/m

 

Water Supply Facilities Cost

Water Withdrawal Facilities

 

30000

DN125PE Pipes

RMB/km

126100

DN100PE Pipes

RMB/km

99124

DN50PE Pipes

RMB/km

40496

DN25PE Pipes

RMB/km

30000

DN15PE Pipes

RMB/km

18698

Water Storage Tank

RMB/m 3

220

Power Supply Facilities Cost

400V Low-voltage Distribution Lines

RMB/km

68000

Other Costs

Indoor Water Supply Facilities Subsidy

RMB/person

200

Indoor Lighting Facilities Subsidy

RMB/person

200

People who choose to move upland or move out of the local area were eligible for either land compensation or long-term compensation. Land compensation included compensation with land equivalent to that owned before resettlement. The long- term compensation package included a payment of 187 RMB per month per capita (30 USD) to compensate a loss of 806 square meters of farmland for duration of the operating period of Nuozhadu Dam and also a minimum of 200 square meters of farmland per person.48 These amounts were to be adjusted along with the rate inflation and economic development.

In Puer City, each resettled person from Nuozhadu Dam received a livelihood development subsidiary of 4,000 RMB (641 USD) and was offered a 50,000 RMB (8,016 USD) discount interest loan towards the building of homes. 49 Resettled rural people also receive 600 RMB (96 USD) per person per year for twenty years as post-relocation support.

In 2013 the Chinese researcher Lyv X conducted a survey of 114 resettled households and found the income structure had significantly changed after resettlement (see Table 4). The sample households had lost 30 to 50 percent of farmland after resettlement and now relied much less on income generated from agriculture. Some households who had lost irrigated paddy fields but choose the long-term compensation option – which provided some replacement farmland – also earned less from agriculture because the replacement farmland was much smaller than before. 50

During field trips to Lancang River conducted in 2013, it was found that the villagers resettled by Nuozhadu in 2011 received more compensation, better quality land and paddy fields, and in general were more satisfied with their current life than the resettled villagers of Xiaowan, Manwan, and Dachaoshan Dams. However, many resettled communities still faced problems due to the lack of abundant natural resources, had difficulty finding jobs, and suffered from unfair land compensations deals.

Larger compensation packages offer to the Nuozhadu communities has meant that they have been able to develop new livelihoods. At the Haitang Resettlement Area, families

have started roadside businesses, such as restaurant or hotels, to accommodate tourists that visit Nuozhadu dam. They do not rely on their land-based activities any more, but still have reserved opinions of the resettlement process. Overall they are optimistic about the future, although there is no prospect of jobs for the many young people. Some of the villagers have mentioned that many of the fishery species that used to live in the river are now difficult to find.

2.6 What Prompted Changes in Hydrolancang’s Practice?

Improvements in the Law

Improvements to China’s environmental laws in the late 1990s and early 2000s had significant impacts on Hydrolancang’s practices in biodiversity and fishery management for Nuozhadu Dam. When the Manwan Dam began construction Chinese law did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In 1998, the State Council approved the Ordinance of Environmental Management for Construction Projects (OECMP), which made construction projects of all sizes subject to EIA requirements but fell short of requiring detailed EIA reports for all projects, including provisions for public notification or participation. In 2003, China launched its EIA Law requiring EIAs for both government plans and construction projects. As a result, while Manwan Dam did not go through an EIA process, Nuozhadu was subject to the full EIA process.

Resettlement regulation reform in 2006 also made significant improvements in China’s resettlement policies, which resulted in major improvements in Nuozhadu Dam’s resettlement practices compared with Manwan Dam. The “Regulation for Land Acquisition and Resettlement for the Construction of Large and Medium-Sized Water Conservancy and Hydropower Project” (2006) 51 established a new standard in resettlement, requiring resettled people’s living standards be restored to or exceed the pre-resettlement level, set up resettlement management mechanism structures, clarified responsibilities, and mandated the participation of the dam developer in resettlement planning

– including consulting with affected people, public participating

Table 4: The Income Structure of Sample Households

Type

Resettlement

Paddy field

Other land

Agriculture (%)

Seasonal

Compensation

Business

(ha per capita)

(dryland, orchard

Labor (%)

(%)

(%)

land and

forestland) (ha

per capita)

Moving-

Before

0.065

 
  • 0.587 16.6

82.0

 

0

3.4

up

After

0 (no paddy field

 
  • 0.377 22.7

36.7

 

26.0

15.6

compensation

because the

villagers all

choose long-term

compensation)

Moving-

Before

0.052

1.39

92.0

6.2

0

1.8

out

After

0.035

0.68

42.3

37.3

22.4

1.7

in the planning stage and fiscal responsibility for resettlement and compensation costs. The regulation improved the farmland compensation standards for displaced people to equal 16 times average annual output value of the previous three years as the minimum, whilst broadening items qualified for compensation to included houses or trees above the inundation water level but owned by households to be resettled.

Limited information on the environmental impacts of the Lancang Dams can be attributed also to the lack of baseline knowledge about the biodiversity and fishery in Lancang Basin that existed prior to hydropower development. Transboundary impact assessments has been an area of no improvement between Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams, which can be attributed to the fact that Chinese law has never required this in project approvals.

In 2006, the State Council also released “Suggestions on Perfecting Post-Resettlement Support Policies of Large and Medium Sized Reservoirs”. 52 The policy sets the post-resettlement support standard at 600 RMB (92 USD) per capita per year for twenty years, which can be directly given to the person as subsidiary or be used for support programs. All rural people who were displaced or will be displaced by large and medium sized dams were eligible to receive the support. The new policy also required that reservoir operation companies share the responsibility of maintaining community support funds at the rate of 0.008 RMB per kilowatt hour of electricity sold. 53

Increasing Environmental and Social Scrutiny from the NGOs, the Public and the Media

Manwan has been in the center of NGO, the public and media scrutiny since 2002. NGOs have worked with local communities to raise their stories and complaints about Manwan’s resettlement practice. Dr. Yu Xiaogang from Green Watershed brought the story of dam affected people to higher levels of government. Complaints from resettled communities and local community protests has placed a lot of pressure on the government to improve the situation. On 17 August 2003, about 4,000 affected people sat in front of Manwan Hydroelectric Station for three days to express their complaints. After that event, the government decided to provide 25 kilograms of food support per person per year to the displaced people. 54 With no formal responses from Hydrolancang, it is difficult to judge the impact of these activities on Hydrolancang’s practice.

The transboundary impacts of the Lancang Dams cascade on fisheries and hydrology is a key concern of Lower Mekong communities, NGOs and governments. International NGOs and researchers have raised concerns that the construction of the mega dams on the Lancang River threatens the complex riverine ecosystem in the Lower Mekong River. While there has been plenty of criticism of the lack of transboundary impacts assessment in the development of the Lancang Dams, much of the information about the planning, design, construction and operation of the Lancang Dams is regarded as state secret in China.

Additional Factors

There are several other important factors worth noting influencing the company’s performance on biodiversity, fishery and livelihoods impact management. Planning of Manwan Dam was rushed because the local government wanted eagerly to develop this project as a way of promoting local economic development. The local government wanted to obtain approval from the central government and grossly understated the investment budget, which in turn negatively impacted the resettlement budget. The lack of transparency, proper information disclosure, and independent monitoring of resettlement and environmental protection spending – money provided by the project developer – creates opportunities for corruption in many hydropower projects in China. Money often gets lost as it is processed from one level of government to the next.

3. Lower Sesan 2 Dam Project

3.1 Mitigation Measures for Biodiversity and Fishery Impacts

Biodiversity and Fishery Impacts

Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s reservoir will inundate up to 30,000 hectares of forestland, including more than 16,000 hectares of deciduous forest and more than 10,000 hectares of private economic forest and land concessions, and over 1200 hectares of agricultural land. The Rivers Coalition in Cambodia reported in April 2013 that tree clearance for the dam reservoir had already started. The company, ANG & Association Lawyer Co., Ltd., has been active in the project area (inside and outside the reservoir) cutting down luxurious wood and exporting the resources without notifying or seeking consent from the local authorities and communities. 55

The project area is located within the Lower Mekong Dry Forest Eco-region (LMDFE), and is also part of several Important Bird Areas as identified by Birdlife International. The project site provides habitats for a number of rare and endangered species, including tigers, Asian elephants, gaur, Banteng, wild water buffalos, eld’s deer, golden cat, fishing cat, black bear and gibbons as well as bird species such as Sarus Cranes and vulture species. The reservoir will not only inundate their habitats but also threaten the food chain of these species. 56

The EIA Report for the Lower Sesan 2 Project identified 106

fish species in both the Sesan and Srepok Rivers, 57 but there is evidence that this may underestimate the number of fish species. The Cultural and Environmental Preservation Association (CEPA) (2006) has identified 130 species in the same area. There are

  • 54 and 64 migratory fish species respectively in the Sesan and

Srepok Rivers. 58 Baran (2012) indicated that the Sesan River is characterized by 133 species and the Sekong River by 240 fish species. 112 fish species are common to the two basins. 59 54 out of 133 fish species in Sesan and 81 out of 240 fish species in Srepok are migratory species. The total fish catch in the Sesan River Basin has been estimated ranging between 370 and 6,700 tonnes of fish

per year, 60 percent of which are migratory species. Nine endangered fish species are found in the Sesan and Srepok Rivers, and 45 Mekong endemic species are found the in the Srepok River and 24 in the Sesan River. 60 The Lower Sesan 2 Dam will not only block the fish passages, but also destroy the vegetated islands and wetlands downstream and upstream of the dam site from Kamphun to Sre Ko communes, the same area where fish spawning and breeding sites are protected by fish conservation zones. 61

The impacts on fisheries will extend to further upstream of Sesan and Srepok Rivers, and downstream of Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake because the Lower Sesan Dam will block two of the four main Mekong migration highways from the fish production zones for long-distance migratory species and the major breeding zones which are the Sesan, Srepok and Sekong Rivers area. Studies have been done to document field data and analyze the basin-wide and transboundary impacts on fisheries. 62, 63,64,65 A 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the

National Academy of Sciences found that the Lower Sesan 2 Dam would cause a 9.3 percent drop in fish biomass in the Mekong Basin, while threatening to push to extinction more than 50 fish species.66 A study prepared by the Mekong River Commission estimated that the total value of fishing occupation within the Mekong Basin was between 5.6 billion USD and 9.4 billion USD. Therefore, the Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam would lead to a loss of 520 million USD to 874 million USD per year. If built, the Lower Sesan 2 Dam will also result in a 6 to 8 percent reduction of the Mekong River’s sediment flows, as warned by experts from the International Center for Environmental Management (ICEM) in Vietnam. The sediment supply to the Mekong River is particularly essential to the sustainability of rice paddy agriculture and the Mekong delta area.

Mitigation Measures

According to Cambodia’s Law on the Government Guarantee of Payments for the Lower Sesan 2 Dam, the environmental protection investment is about 2.23 million USD, which equates to less than 2 percent of the environment measures budget of the Nuozhadu project. There is limited detail publicly available on the mitigation measures Hydrolancang plans to adopt on biodiversity and fisheries loss. There are reports that the project developers have redesigned the Lower Sesan 2 Dam to mitigate the project’s impacts on sediment. Such redesign may include a height reduction and introduction of redial gates. Meanwhile, substantive construction has been underway and it was publicly reported that the river had been closed in January 2015. 67

3.2 Livelihoods Impacts and Mitigation Measures

Impacts on Livelihoods

Over 5,000 people from six villages in four communes, many of whom are ethnic minorities, will be forcibly evicted and relocated to make way for the dam reservoir. Five villages will be completely relocated. They are Chrab, Srae Sranok, Srae Kor 1, Srae Kor 2,

Kbal Romeas. Another 14 households from Phluk village will be relocated.

The Lower Sesan 2 Dam will also permanently alter the livelihoods and cultures of tens of thousands of people living along the Sesan and Srepok rivers, whose lives and traditions are closely linked to the river system and its rich natural resources. A 2009 study reported that at least 78,000 people, including 86 villages living along the Sesan and Srepok Rivers, and another 87 villages located along tributaries of these two rivers, would lose access to fish resources as a result of the dam’s impact on fish migration passages. 68 The Project EIA estimated that villagers living upstream from the dam along the Sesan and Srepok Rivers would lose around 2.3 million USD per year due to fisheries loss, 69 however the EIA failed to consider fish catch losses incurred by people downstream and people along the tributaries and thus, underestimated the overall loss. The dam will also result in a loss of over 1,200 hectares of agricultural land, which makes up about

24 percent of total agricultural land in the Sesan District. The loss of fisheries and farming land will impact food security and increase livelihood risks. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of people living further downstream on the Mekong River and in the Tonle Sap Lake area would be also negatively impacted by the reduction of fish stocks caused by the dam. 70

With regards to downstream impacts, a 2009 report 71 estimated

that at least 22,277 people living downstream from the dam in Stung Treng Province would experience a deterioration in quality of water supplied from the river. Such impacts are likely to be felt starting from the construction stage and into the Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s operation. Downstream communities might experience construction pollution, decomposition of organic matter in the river during reservoir inundation, and during the dam’s operation - slower water flow will lead to public health threats, as many of the people who live along use river water for domestic purposes such as drinking, washing, and cooking.

As the Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s resettlement action plans are still being negotiated and clarified, we have also conducted our own fieldwork on the social impacts of Lower Sesan 2 dam. For the purposes of this study, we visited 14 villages during September to November 2014 to ascertain the compensation and livelihood restoration plans. We found that the resettlement impacts and risks arising from the Lower Sesan 2 Dam vary amongst villages. Table 5 summarizes the impacts on the livelihoods of the 14 villages from the Lower Sesan 2 project based on our field surveys.

Table 5: A Summary of the Impacts on the Livelihoods of the 14 Villages Due to the Lower Sesan 2 Dam

   

Downstream of the Dam Site

 

In the Reservoir Area

 

Village Name

Ban Mai

Kampun

Phluk

Chrab

Srae

Srae

Srae

Kbal

Khsach

Krabei

Sranok

kor 1

kor 2

Romeas

Thmei

Chrum

Use river for what purposes

Fishing, transportation, riverbank farming, irrigation water, domestic water uses, feeding livestock, spiritual pray

 

Main Income

Farming and selling agricultural

-

Farming and

-

Farming and selling agricultural products

 

Sources

products

selling agricultural

-

Fishing: The income from fishing varies from $2 to $10 normally and increases to

products

$20 - $30 per day in fishing season. One village can even make $100 per day from

-

Fishing

selling fish in Nov-Dec.

 

Riverbank

  • - Grow teak tree and herbal plants along the

People eat wild vegetables collected from

People grow paddy and

agriculture

riverbank.

along the riverbank.

vegetables along the

  • - Some villagers grow vegetables along the riverbank, especially in the dry season

riverbank. People also eat wild vegetables collected along the riverbank.

Fish

 

Eat fish as frequently as everyday

 

Eat fish everyday

 

consumption

   

Ethnic identity

 

Ethnic Lao

Khmer

Mainly

Mainly Lao, some

Punong,

Lao and

Lao,

 

Brao,

Khmer

some

Khmer

some

some

Khmer

mixed,

Khmer

Khmer

Khek

Common

  • - Their homes and spiritual

-

Farmland grabbed

-

The

  • - The dam will flood their villages and lands

-

The

- The dam

concerns about

sites get flooded if the dam

by the company

dam will

  • - The compensation will be not enough,

dam will

will flood the

the Lower

collapses

-

No more fish to

flood the

compared to what they lose

 

flood their

village, but

Sesan 2 Dam

catch

village

  • - The compensation is not reliable either

paddies,

there is no

expressed

-

Water pollution

and

houses,

compensa-

by the

from the

crops.

plantation,

tion

interviewees

construction

pagoda

and burial

places.

Major impacts

  • - Negative impacts on

-Loss of home, land, and livelihood, and risk of food security (reduction of

-

Negative impacts on

or risks from

livelihood and risk of food

fishing and loss of agriculture land)

 

the livelihoods and risk

the Lower

security (reduction of fishing

-Loss of water access

 

of food security due to

Sesan 2 Dam

and loss of riverbank gardens)

-Loss of boat transportation to upstream or downstream

reduction of fishery, loss

  • - Health risks due to

  • - Loss of boat transportation to

-Loss of culture

 

of riverbank gardens,

deterioration of water quality

upstream

 

and loss of wild vegetables and leaves which currently grown along the riverbanks

Health risks due to deterioration of water quality

-

Loss of boat transportation to downstream

-

 

Upstream of the Dam Site

 

Hat Pak,

Veun Hay, Sesan River

Phlueu

Tumpuou

Ke Kuong

 

Lumphat, Srepok River

Sesan River

Touch,

Reung, Sesan

Leu, Sesan

 

Sesan River

River

River

 

-

Farming and selling agricultural products

 

-

Farming and selling agricultural products

 

-

Fishing

-

People grow vegetables along the riverbank in these upstream villages.

 

-

People grow vegetables along the riverbank in

-

People also eat wild vegetables and wild leaves which grow along the riverbank.

these upstream villages.

 

People also eat wild vegetables and wild leaves which grow along the riverbank.

-

-

People also grow bamboo, korki, srolao, teak

for building houses and furniture, and traditional

medicines along the riverbank.

Eat fish as frequently as

Frequency of fish consumption at home varies from 5-6 times

Eat fish everyday

everyday, but buy most

per month to everyday. People all noted that there is fewer fish to

fish from the market

catch in the river now.

Eat fish as frequently as

everyday

 

Lao

 

Brao

 

Lao, Krueng, Lun, Khmer (Lao is the majority, followed by Krueng).

- The dam

-

The dam may flood their homes,

- The dam may flood their houses, paddy,

 

-

The dam may flood the village and spiritual

may flood

and spiritual places.

and burial places

 

places

spiritual

-

Loss of fishery

 

-

One interviewee said he’s worried about the

houses and

health problems and food insecurity as a result of

forests

 

the project

-

Negative impacts on the livelihoods and risk of food security due to reduction of fishery, loss of riverbank gardens, and loss of wild vegetables and

leaves which currently grow along the riverbanks.

 

-

Loss of boat transportation to downstream

Our field research confirmed other findings on the local community’s reliance on fish resources. Most of the interviewees ate fish everyday. They either caught fish by themselves, or purchased it from the market. In nine villages, including all six resettlement villages, fishing was listed as one of the main income sources.

During our fieldwork, we collected the names of fish species that local villagers identified as important to their communities for livelihood and cultural reasons. All the fish species identified by local villagers in the interviews are all migratory fishes (Table 6). Note the Khmer names include translation of names from local languages spoken by the communities.

In addition every villager expressed concern about the impacts of Lower Sesan 2 Dam on the local culture, including the destruction of their spiritual beliefs and cultural sites, which would anger their ancestors and bring bad luck.

Villagers from Phluk have witnessed the company clearing spiritual forests and digging up half of the ancestral burial lands in order to source materials for road construction. The dam company did not compensate the villagers for these impacts, nor would any monetary figure be able to compensate the damage caused. The villagers are concerned that these activities have angered their ancestors and brought bad luck to their village, kids and future livelihoods.

Compensations and Livelihoods Support

In February 2013, the National Assembly of Cambodia approved the “Law on the Government Guarantee of Payments for the Lower Sesan 2 Dam.” The law stipulated that 41.94 million USD would be budgeted for resettlement and construction for important infrastructure. The law provides for the following benefits for local villagers or affected people 72 :

Table 6: List of Fish Species Local Villagers Identified as Important to them in 2014 Field Trips

Khmer Names/Other names

Latin Names

Pasi Ee Fish

Mekongina erythrospila

Pawa Fish

Labeo erythropterus

Real Fish

Henicorhychus lobatus and siamensis

Snake Fish

Channa micropeltes

Cat Fish

Many species

Cucumber Fish

Probarbus labeaminor

Khcha Fish

 

Chhlang Fish

Hemibagrus nemurus

Chhpen Fish

Hypsibarbus suvattii/Hypsibarbus malcolmi

Case Fish

Phalacronotus bleekeri/Phalacronotus micronemus

Trosek Fish

Probarbus jullieni or labeomajor

Kaek Fish

Labeo chrysophekadion

Chhkeang Fish

 

Khchar Fish

 

Damrey Rey Po Fish

Oxyeleotris marmorata

Chhkauk

Cyclocheilichthys enoplos

Sanday Fish

Wallago attu

Achkok Fish

Labiobarbus leptocheilus/Labiobarbus siamensis

Brake Fish

 

Pra Fish

Pangasius hypophthalmus or krempfi

Romeas Fish

Osphronemus exodon

Chhkhneng Fish

 

Tarek Fish

Alburnus tarichi

Stoulh Fish

 

Kol Raeng Fish

Catlocarpio siamensis

Khlang Hay

Belodontichthys truncatus

Irrawaddy Dolphin

Orcaella brevirostris

Note: This species in particular was identified as culturally important rather than regularly caught, and is no

longer found in the Sesan River.

Takel Fish

 

Compensation based on the sizes of farm land, plantations, houses, various structures, and crops affected by the project.

Despite the law, many villagers are still unclear on compensation

census. All villagers reported lower than promised compensation figures.

Construction of 797 houses: one 80 square meter house for one

household of eight people, built on a land area of 1,000 square meters of which 400 square meters is reserved for the house and 600 square meters for gardens.

The following section details findings based on field research conducted regarding compensation and resettlement.

Provision of 5 hectares of farm / plantation land per household

Phluk Village: Construction Site Area

(already cleared). Construction of public works for each commune, including

Of the 10 households impacted in Phluk village by construction,

roads, one commune office, one police station, one pagoda, one health center, one kindergarten, one primary school, one lower secondary school, one water well per 5 households, public gardens, sports complex, and irrigation infrastructure. Provision of allowance and rice for 12 months.

only five households in have received compensation, while another five households have not. In the studies conducted by the previous dam developer, EVN International, only five households were registered as impacted householders. Hydrolancang had promised to provide 20,000 USD to each of the registered

Provision of some basic vocational training to enable

household as compensation but each received different amount

adaptation to new livelihoods. Construction of 24 kilometers of road (bitumen) from the

of compensation ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 USD despite the sizes of the plots being similar size at around 5 hectares. Villagers

construction site to Stung Treng town. 38.7 million USD budgeted for compensation, building

also reported that some of the money has been lost in processing by local authorities. The remaining five households who were

new houses, and construction of basic infrastructure in resettlement villages 3.23 million USD for irrigation infrastructure in relocation

overlooked in the first resettlement study have only been offered 500 USD as compensation, which they have yet to receive as of October 2014.

sites. 2.23 million USD for environmental protection measures.

The company promised to provide compensation for main houses,

5.05 million USD for clearance of mines and unexploded

toilet, moving costs, fruit trees, plantation trees and farmland,

ordnances. 3.70 million USD for clearing farm/plantation land for affected

but the villagers are not clear about how much compensation they will receive for each item. They don’t know where the new

people.

entitlements or even the impacts of Lower Sesan 2 Dam.

resettlement site is, whether the style of housing will reflect their traditional structures, and whether they will have road or electricity access. The villagers say that the company will provide rice for one year, and provide a one time payment of 100 USD to

Based on existing NGO reports, our own fieldwork and media reporting, some villagers, at least in Phluk (where some

each household to remove their houses and cut down their trees, information they obtained from the local NGO, 3SPN

Chrab Village: Reservoir Area

compensation has already been provided), have had the option of either obtaining monetary compensation only or to seek resettlement and land-for-land compensation.

Under the land-for-land compensation option, villagers have received around 5 hectares of land, which has included new housing and plantations. A recent community based research report prepared by the River Coalition of Cambodia said that the

compensation package on offer included one house on a 5000 square meter block, 5 hectares of rice paddy and 1 hectare of plantation forest. 73 However, some villagers have said that the land area lost was much greater than that provided and have also expressed concerns that the resettled farmland will not

Chrab village was formed in 1980s when people moved from lowland areas of Cambodia. Because of their short history and their expectations that they will receive better lands and houses after resettlement, they have agreed to be resettled.

The Chrab community has been informed of an approximate location of the resettlement site by the previous Vietnamese developer, but they are not clear whether the same site will be used by the current project developers. The whole village will be resettled, but there are discrepancies in the official numbers of families in the village. The village submitted a request of revising

Kbal Romeas, Srae Sranok, Srae Kor 1, Srae Kor 2: Reservoir Area

be as productive as their existing land

A Srae Kor commune

.. representative described the resettlement site as in an unfertile area, 3 kilometers from the Sesan River “where the land is very rocky.” 74 In addition to quality of compensation issues, land lost by host communities who previously owned land, farms and

The location of the resettlement site appears to have influenced a

the number of affected households to the provincial governor, but at the time of fieldwork in October 2014 had not heard back about their request.

plantations is also of concern. As noted in the Manwan case study, host communities were forced to give up or sell land to the project developer and company for affected communities. This in turn negatively affected their livelihoods.

decision by some villagers in Phluk village to accept a monetary compensation package to avoid living in a resettlement site. Based on our research, compensation values had so far ranged from 10,000 to 15,000 USD for around 5 hectares of land lost, though some farmers had only been promised 500 USD because their property had not been included in the original resettlement

All four villages will be inundated by Lower Sesan 2 Dam’s reservoir and completely resettled. In all four villagers, many households opposed the dam citing concerns about the loss of traditional livelihoods, new livelihoods will not be of the same quality as current ones, and loss of access to the river. Many villagers were critical that the dam company would benefit from the project, but that the loss would be borne by them. One villager noted that the Lower Sesan 2 Dam was only important because it made the company richer, but would make them poorer.

The lack of information of the resettlement plan has exacerbated worries about the impact of the dam. Many interviewees said they were not clear on the compensation plan or that the plan completely non-existent. Confusion or lack of clarity may be due to the fact that the main method of informing villagers is through meetings. Six of sixteen interviewed families had never attended any consultation meetings while six attended only once. Just four interviewees indicated that they had met the government and the dam company on more than one occasion. Villagers, who had attended the meetings, described the meeting experience as negative because they felt that the promises they received from the government officials and the dam company were unreliable. Overall, information about the compensation and resettlement plan was very limited, and villagers were told that the compensation scheme and resettlement plans were not negotiable. Every interviewed household felt the resettlement plan and compensation was not acceptable. Villagers felt their concerns had not been incorporated although some of them had a chance to express their frustrations in village meetings. Among the concerns shared by villagers was the location of the resettlement sites, the quality of houses, whether the land compensation would be enough to support their livelihoods, the productivity of new lands, and access to the river. Although how households would support their future livelihoods after resettlement was a primary concern, villagers had no information about whether future livelihood support would be provided.

Reservoir Area: Khsach Thmei and Krabei Chrum Villages

There is confusion within these two villages as to whether resettlement of households will be required. The 2009 EIA Report did not include these two villages in the resettlement plan as they would not be inundated by the reservoir. However the draft EMP (KCC 2008) indicated that Khsach Thmei and Krabei Chrum villages would have to relocate. 75 More recently, a map shared by Statutory Working Group established under the Regulation and Legal Procedure for Solving the Compensation and Resettlement Policy of Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Project, included households from these two villages in resettlement plans. 76

Contrary to the uncertainty over the dam’s impacts, the government has informed the villagers that their villages will not be flooded and there will be no compensation from the dam developer. Confusion has exacerbated the worrying in the households in these villages. Many households said they were sure that they would be flooded and would not receive any compensation.

Downstream Villages: Ban Mai and Kampun Villages

These two villages are located downstream of the dam and while be impacted by the project, will not be inundated. Villagers are aware the Lower Sesan 2 Dam will alter hydrological flows. They understand that the dam will hold back the floodwaters in

the wet season, and are concerned about flooding caused by the

Table 7: Collected Compensation Information for Kbal Romeas, Srae Sranok, Srae Kor 1, Srae Kor 2 Villages

Compensation Scheme Items

Main houses

Yes

Ancillary buildings (eg grain stores, toilets, kitchen buildings, etc)

Yes

Moving cost

Yes, 100 USD per family

Fruit trees and valuable plantation trees

Yes

Farmland (eg. rice paddy, vegetable gardens, etc)

Yes

Other valuable community land/resources (eg. spirit forest, religious sites, etc)

No

Livelihoods support (eg cash compensation, aquaculture, grains, tourism support, etc)

No

Regarding new resettlement area: Will the company build the following items and/or how much will they pay for them?

Resettlement area site preparation

Yes

Main houses

Yes

Ancillary buildings (eg grain stores, toilets, kitchen buildings, etc)

Yes

Farmland

Yes

Provide individual household Water supply

Yes

Provide individual Electricity supply

Cheaper price or free electricity for one year

Provide individual household waste water drainage

No

Other things (for public-clinic, school, wat, others)

Yes

Rice support after resettlement

Yes, 20 kg per month for one year

dam needing to release excess water or even breaking. Villagers were not aware of the detailed impacts of Lower Sesan 2, but knew of impacts of well-known projects such as Yali Falls. They described how the dam would affect their cultural practices by ruining scared sites or altering water flows such that traditional ceremonies could not take place.

Overall, these downstream villages do less fishing activity compared to communities in the reservoir area. However the frequency of fish consumption reported by the interviewees was still substantial, ranging from ten days per month to everyday. Villagers from Kampum village do garden along the riverbank in the dry season and both villages grow teak trees along the riverbank. Despite the serious impacts on their riverbank gardens due to irregular water releases from the dam, the villagers will not receive any compensation for the dam’s impacts.

Hat Pak, Veun Hay, Phlueu Touch, Tumpuou Reung, Ke Kuong Leu, Lumphat: Upstream Villagers

These six villages are located further upstream of the reservoir on the Srepok and Sesan Rivers. None of the villagers have ever received formal information about the impacts of Lower Sesan 2 Dam, and whether compensation will extend to their communities despite the obvious impacts on fisheries and riverbank agriculture. Without additional information, villagers have drawn their own conclusions about what the impacts of the dam will be. Of most concern is the impact on spiritual and burial sites, as well as loss of farmlands and houses. As discussed below, all villagers have noticed a reduction in fish availability, which constitutes a key part of their diet and food security.

The villagers in Veun Hay catch fish from the Sesan River for eating and at the time of fieldwork, had already observed the decrease of fish in the river since the dam construction started last year.

In the interviews we conducted in Hat Pak, we learned that they had observed a noticeable reduction in fish caught such that in all cases they had to supplement with bought fish from a local market. One family described it now “very difficult” or “hard” to catch fish. In Ta Veng village, we also found that the villagers interviewed were supplementing reduced fish catches through market purchases. One villager told us that his catch had reduced to only 5 to 6 times a month. Villagers in Veun Hay related the reduced fish availability to the start of dam construction. Reduced fish catches may also be impacting supplementary income sources not only from the sale of excess fish ranging from 2.50 to 10 USD per kilo, but also fish products such as pastes that are made from fermenting fish.

Under the current resettlement plan, upstream communities will not receive any compensation for any lost of fisheries, river gardens, wild fruits or vegetables, or economic trees along the riverbank. Villagers upstream of the project are also concerned that riverbank gardens – ranging from fruits, vegetables and herbs – will be affected by the dam. Along the riverbank, villagers grow rice, cashew, sugar cane, banana, and vegetables such as pumpkin, long bean, chili, mint, corn, morning glory, cabbage, eggplants, sweet potatoes, and taro. Most of these gardens are grown for personal consumption and are key to their food security.

Many villagers were concerned that wild forest products that were edible would be lost as a result of the flooding brought about by

the dam. These forest products included Kandaul leaves, Lvea leaves, Pronat Rey, Phtey Toek, Raeng, Andaeng flower, Bromat Rey, Spey Toeuk, bamboo shoots, Smack, Rock flower, riverweed, and many other tree leaves along the riverbank for food and medicinal qualities.

Generally, villagers are not clear about what benefits they will receive from the dam and many were not aware of status of the construction progress.

3.3 Comparison Summary

Table 8 compares the degree of impacts on biodiversity, fishery, and livelihoods from Manwan, Nuozhadu and Lower Sesan 2 Dams, as well as the practices undertaken by the dam developers in managing the project’s environmental and social impacts.

It is important to note there are key differences in political, social and economic contexts for these projects, even between the two Chinese case studies Manwan and Nuozhadu. However, compared with Nuozhadu Dam, the investment in environmental protection and resettlement in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam is very low. For example, the environmental protection investment by Hydrolancang in Lower Sesan 2 Dam is less than 2 percent of the investment in Nuozhadu Dam. If we examine the projects in context, it is clear that Lower Sesan 2 Dam has more significant environmental impacts given that the project is the first in the area, compared to Nuozhadu Dam, which was a dam in an existing hydropower cascade. If we examine the context (e.g. scale of environmental impacts) and allow for economic factors (inflation, exchange rates), Lower Sesan 2’s budget is still significantly below the standard set in China.

The Lower Sesan 2 resettlement and compensation budget is only one fourth of the budget for Nuozhadu, which in part can be attributed to the lack of post-resettlement support and livelihood restoration programs, which were features of Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams. The support for community infrastructure in the resettlement sites is also limited when comparing the Chinese and Cambodian Dams. Based on the compensation Phluk villagers have received (at the time of fieldwork, this was the only village to have received compensation), the compensation rate on the farmland and forestland was also lower than Nuozhadu standards, even when accounting for differences in local economies. Compensation is limited only to the inundated villages. There isn’t any compensation or livelihood support program for the people who live downstream and upstream of the reservoir and whose livelihoods will be negatively impacted by the dam.

Table 8: Comparison of the Impacts on Biodiversity, Fishery, and Livelihoods from Manwan, Nuozhadu and Lower 2 Dams, and Hydrolancang’s Practices in Managing These Impacts

 

Manwan Dam, China (Upper Mekong)

Installed Capacity (MW)

1,550

Reservoir Area (km 2 )

23.6 k

Inundated Areas (ha)

Forest

567.2

Farmland

415

Summary of impacts on biodiversity and fisheries

Fish surveys in 2009 and 2010 found the number of fish species had

reduced from 139 to 80 with the biggest change seen in the middle and lower Lancang (Mekong) River; Only 71 out of 165 fish species historically

recorded have been caught in middle and lower Lancang River since

2008; Big fishes largely decreased while small and medium sized fishes

became dominant; 15 new native species and 12 alien species were found while some local species disappeared.

Environmental Protection Investment

58 million RMB (9.35 million USD)

Biodiversity and Fisheries impacts mitigation measures

Established an environmental monitoring station, but no further information on additional measures were released.

Resettlement population

3,513 estimated; revised up to 7,260 persons by the completion of the

Project’s Phase I

Compensation

Total resettlement and compensation investment

142 million RMB (22.9 million USD)

3,154 USD per person

General compensation

First Resettlement: 484 USD for each displaced person covering all the compensation

Main houses

Second Time Resettlement:

Land: 80 m 2 / person Average building area: 25 m 2 / person House construction subsidy: 58 RMB / m 2

Ancillary buildings (eg grain stores, toilets, kitchen buildings, etc)

Second resettlement:

Average building area: 9 m 2 /person House construction subsidy: 40 USD /m 2

Moving cost

No moving support provided during the original resettlement phase. Second time resettlement: 98 USD per person

Fruit trees and valuable plantation trees

 
 

Nuozhadu Dam, China (Upper Mekong)

Lower Sesan 2, Cambodia (Lower Mekong)

 

5,850

400

 

320

335.6

 

17,994

30,000

 

5,816 ha farmland, and 2613 ha gardens

1,200

Fish surveys in 2009 and 2010 found the number of fish species

Estimated 9.3% drop in fish biomass in the whole Mekong Basin and

had reduced from 139 to 80 with the biggest change seen in the

would threaten more than 50 fish species.

middle and lower Lancang (Mekong) River; Only 71 out of 165

fish species historically recorded have been caught in middle and lower Lancang River since 2008; Big fishes largely decreased while small and medium sized fishes became dominant; 15 new native

species and 12 alien species were found while some local species

790

million RMB (127 million USD)

2.23 million USD

  • - Established a 6.6ha botanic garden for valuable and rare plants and moved 11 important plant species.

  • - Unconfirmed redesign to enable sediment management. Adopt radial gates to promote sediment flush.

  • - Adopted the stratified water intake with a stoplog gate to mitigate water

  • - Reduced dam wall height to reduce the inundation area.

temperature change;

  • - Possible investigations on fish passages.

  • - Fish releasing program: 2.15 million young fishes were released in June 2013

  • - Fish restocking

with 3 additional fish release events planned between 2013-2015;

  • - Since 2008, Hydrolancang has started to selectively trap and transport fish

 

over the dam wall;

  • - Plan to establish natural fish reserve area from downstream of Ganlan Dam to

Nanla River, one of the tributaries of Lancang River

47,654 people (resettled and affected landowners included)

> 6,000 people

 

8,920 million RMB (1,439 million USD) 30,190 USD per person

41.94 million USD 6,990 USD per person

  • - 55 to 113 USD / m 2 depending on house structure

A new house designed for a household of eight persons and measuring

  • - 50,000 RMB low-interest loan for building their own houses

80m 2 on 1km 2 of land, of which 400 m 2 is residential and 600m 2 is for gardening.

  • 1. Retaining Brickwork 14.5 USD /m 3

Yes, but limited information available to support comparison.

  • 2. Enclosing Walls 16 USD/m 3

  • 3. Outdoor Terrace (for Sun-drying) 3.2 USD/m 3

  • 4. Drinking Water Tank 24 USD /m 3

  • 5. Water Supply Pipes 0.32 USD m/φ

  • 6. Toilets/Latrines 10 USD/item

  • 7. Cooking Range 12 USD/item

  • 8. Biogas Digesters 242 USD/item

106

USD per person

100 USD per household

  • 1. Fruit Trees 6 USD/plant

2 - 40 USD depending on tree type

  • 2. Cash Trees 3.5 USD/plant

  • 3. Timber Trees 2 USD/plant

  • 4. Landscape Trees 81 USD /plant

continued on page 24

Table 8: Continued

   

Manwan Dam, China (Upper Mekong)

Farmland (eg. rice paddy, vegetable gardens, etc)

Land Compensation Paddy field: 333 m 2 /person Rain-fed land: 1000 m 2 /person

Unused land suitable for forestation: 666 m 2 /person Paddy Field 66,155 USD /ha

Dry Land 34,297USD/ha

Rubber Plantation Land 81,290 USD/ha

Timber Land 8,954 USD /ha Unused Land 7,088 USD/ha

Other valuable community land/resources (eg. spirit forest, religious sites, etc)

No

Water supply infrastructure

Second resettlement:

Infrastructure subsidy: 161 USD/person

Electricity supply infrastructure

Second resettlement:

Infrastructure subsidy: 161 USD/person

Rice Support

-

Post-resettlement Support

20 years post-resettlement support: USD 64.5 per capita per year before 2007 and USD 97 after 2007

Livelihood restoration

Since 2006, the government started to teach local people cage-based aquaculture techniques.

-

-

From 2002 to 2008, Hydrolancang provided over 1.3 million lac seedlings

to local people near Manwan reservoir and support them to develop lac

plantation and income generation.

-

Since 2006, Hydrolancang invested over 10 million RMB to establish

six primary schools in the Manwan area, completed 12 drinking water

supply projects for 5,050 people, construction of 3 local clinic, improved

transportation access for 11 villages, and invested about 1 million RMB to help the people around the reservoir to plant economic trees and raise gooses to improve their livelihoods.

 

Nuozhadu Dam, China (Upper Mekong)

Lower Sesan 2, Cambodia (Lower Mekong)

Land Compensation

Option Long-term compensation program

5 ha of farm/plantation land

-

187 RMB per month per capita to

 

compensate a loss of 806m 2 farmland for the whole operation period of the

hydropower project

200 m 2 paddy per person. - - Resettlement fee for the extra farmland

-

exceeding 1,006m 2 .

No

No

Water withdrawal infrastructure: 4,839 USD DN125PE Pipe: 20,339 USD/km

 

One well for every five families

DN100PE Pipe: 15,988 USD /km

DN50PE Pipe: 6,532 USD /km DN25PE Pipe: 4,839 USD /km DN15PE Pipe: 3,016 USD /person Water Storage Tank: 35 USD /person Indoor water supply equipment: 32 USD /person

Electricity supply infrastructure: 10,968 USD /km

 

Discount on electricity use for one year

Indoor electricity supply equipment: 32 USD /person

-

20kg rice per family or per person for the first year

20 years post-resettlement support: 97 USD per year per capita for twenty years

None

-

One time 645 USD per person as livelihood development subsidy

No

4. Key Findings

The report’s findings are based on comparisons in the company’s practice regarding social and environmental impact mitigation in Cambodia and China. In preparing the findings, we were very conscious of the impact of a variety of project specific factors such as the regulatory framework and division of responsibilities between the project developer and state. However, our research findings from Hydrolancang’s projects on the Upper Lancang coupled with recent field research around the Lower Sesan 2 Dam provides grounds to make reasonable assessments and predictions about the company’s ability to mitigate the large social and environmental impacts of Lower Sesan 2 Dam. The report’s findings are grouped in the area of environmental impacts mitigation, social impact mitigation, company and community relations, and lessons learned.

4.1 Comparison of Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Between Projects in China and Cambodia

The environmental protection budget in Lower Sesan 2 is less than 2 percent of what it is in the Nuozhadu, which has adopted various measures to mitigate the biodiversity and fisheries impacts, such as relocating endangered and important tree species to botanic garden, establishing wildlife aid center and redesigning the water intake gate. The developers of Lower Sesan 2 Dam have yet to publicly adopt or commit to any concrete measures to mitigate the impacts on freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity. While there are behind-the-scenes discussions of a dam redesign to manage sedimentation, there has yet to be any public disclosure of relevant information.

The effectiveness of the mitigation measures Hydrolancang has adopted in Nuozhadu is still in doubt. According to experts, the design measure to mitigate water temperature changes in Nuozhadu has very limited mitigation effects compared to the great negative impacts. Hydrolancang also does not have a good track record in sediment management in China. T he sediment issues were grossly underestimated in the design of Manwan Dam, which shortened the life span and compromised the operational efficiency of the dam. All the measures Hydrolancang has adopted have been limited to the reservoir area, compared to the project’s significant downstream and upstream impacts. Considering the extensive downstream and upstream impacts by the Lower Sesan 2, a transboundary environmental impact assessment is required to properly evaluate the downstream and upstream impacts before the project approval and construction. However, the dam developers have failed to commit to conducing a transboundary environmental impact assessment. Hydrolancang also has no previous experience in developing a transboundary environmental impact assessments or properly managing transboundary impacts.

However, Hydrolancang has undertaken some good practices in other Lancang dam projects, such as cancelling Mengsong Dam to avoid impacts on fish migration, cancelling Guonian Dam to avoid potential impacts on the Mingyong glacier, and reducing

the height of Wunonglong Dam to avoid the impacts on the three parallel area. The chance of Hydrolancang’s compromising profitability to protect environment still exists, under certain circumstances. We feel that the strict legal requirements and pressures from governments played more important roles in these processes.

4.2 Comparison of the Social Impact Mitigation Measures Between Projects in China and Cambodia

The scale of resettlement in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam is comparable to the Manwan Dam, and smaller than Nuozhadu, affecting only about one eighth of the affected population of Nuozhadu. However, the impacts on livelihoods caused by the Lower Sesan 2 extend to communities who live upstream and downstream of the reservoir, along the downstream Mekong River and around the Tonle Sap Lake. As is the case with the case studies from the Lancang River, compensation in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam project has been limited to directly affected villages and households in the reservoir area, and excludes communities impacted both upstream and downstream of the dam project.

The standards of compensation the company has agreed are lower than the standards deployed in Nuozhadu Dam. Acknowledging that there are local differences between the Lancang and Lower Sesan 2 communities and that any comparisons are illustrative, the compensation package being offered to affected people by Lower Sesan 2 is only 23 percent of Nuozhadu’s resettlement budget on a per person basis. The differences could be attributed the lack of strong national guidelines in Cambodia. The 2006 Chinese resettlement regulations were critical in improving the amount of resettlement compensation and post-resettlement support in the Nuozhadu project, particularly compared with Manwan Dam. In Cambodia, the lack of national resettlement laws and regulations in Cambodia practically means that the project developers and the government will determine the resettlement compensation and livelihood restoration in an ad- hoc way, and focused only on the reservoir and inundation area.

We found that if the villagers choose to receive compensation as cash for the loss of land, the land compensation paid in the Lower Sesan 2 is much lower than the Nuozhadu standard. If the villagers choose not to receive cash, the new farms or plantation land (chamkar) promised by the Cambodian Government for each household will be more than the Nuozhadu standard. However, whether the new lands will be as productive as the original lands is in question. The villagers have expressed serious concerns about the quality of the potential compensation land. Lower Sesan 2’s Project Developers have so far only committed to little or no livelihood support for the Lower Sesan 2 Project, which falls below the practices adopted by one of the project partners, Hydrolancang, in Nuozhadu Dam. The stronger focus on livelihood restoration in Nuozhadu reflects that Hydrolancang sought to avoid the mistakes made in resettling communities impacted by Manwan Dam and impoverishing communities further.

For most recent Lancang dam projects, the objective of livelihood resettlement was to maintain the same living standards post

resettlement. This is the standard now set by Chinese law and

also the standard in international best practice. Cambodia law requires “fair and just” compensation, 77 which is not defined, but arguably implies the same living standard. The Expropriation Law also requires “market price or replacement cost” for expropriated property. 78 . In Nuozhadu, post resettlement measures included, long-term compensation for the duration of the operation of the hydropower project, livelihood development subsidies, discounted loans to support the building of new dwellings. That Hydrolancang’s efforts to improve the situation of the affected communities of Manwan dam commenced after significant criticism is also worth noting. Since 2006, Hydrolancang has constructed additional primary schools, built local drinking water projects, medical clinics and built community access roads. Funds have also been dispersed for the purchases of agricultural animals and trees for plantations. Finally, Hydrolancang has funded aquaculture projects designed to give affected people the skills to farm fish. Breaking with its track record which saw Hydrolancang’s continuous involvement in the resettlement process and post-resettlement support program in Nuozhadu Dam, Hydrolancang has left all monitoring and oversight of resettlement and post-resettlement support to the Cambodian government and its partner in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam, Royal Group. During our fieldwork and research, we found no public commitment by the Lower Sesan 2 Project Developers to establish a livelihood restoration budget or any such preparatory activities around the Lower Sesan 2 Project.

A lack of respect to local culture and little or no compensation for the loss of cultural resources have been common issues in all three projects. Both Manwan and Nuozhadu Dams involved resettlement of many ethnic minorities, and there was little evidence that any protection or compensation was made to the minority people for their specific cultural losses. However there are some indications that the treatment of cultural heritage in the Lower Sesan 2 Dam Project may be worse because of the lack of acknowledgment of harm caused and compensation offered. In the Lower Sesan 2 Dam, although a new pagoda was promised to every resettlement village, the construction activities in the Phluk village have already negatively impacted local spiritual forests and ancestral burial lands while no protection measure was taken and no compensation was paid. Interviewees from all visited villages expressed concerns about the flooding of spiritual sites by the project. No solid social impacts analysis has been carried out and no cultural heritage compensation plan has been developed.

Some Chinese companies developing dams overseas have defaulted to Chinese standards and practices, particularly when local requirements are lower. At a practical level, this ensures that there exists within the company a minimum standard of practice established by Chinese requirements. In meetings between Hydrolancang and NGOs, Hydrolancang acknowledged there were a series of gaps between Chinese resettlement standards and the standard being implemented on the ground for the Lower Sesan 2 Dam. It is well recognized in China and also in Hydrolancang’s Chinese projects, that there are significant social impacts associated with the resettlement of affected people from large dams, and that livelihood support is critical for many years after construction. However, such commitments or solid plans have not been made to affected communities in the Lower Sesan 2 Project.

  • 4.3 Responsiveness to Civil Society

and NGO Concerns: Hydrolancang

Manwan Dam has been the center of public scrutiny due to its association with very poor resettlement practice. Some of the affected communities impacted by Manwan Dam, almost 20 years ago were recently resettled a second time in response to NGO and public pressure over their desperate situation. Chinese NGOs, such as Green Watershed, have brought to public attention the plight of farmers who had been moved by Manwan Dam, only to find themselves with no means to make a living besides rubbish collection. Affected communities have also taken measures against the company. In August 2003, 4,000 affected peoples sat in front of Manwan Hydropower Station for three days to express their complaints about resettlement. While the local government’s response to the situation has been swift in terms of additional support, there has been no direct company reaction to the NGO and civil society concerns raised.

Lower Sesan 2 Dam, is a dam under construction and much of the resettlement work still to be implemented. The comparisons between the Chinese and Cambodia projects are more difficult to make but the report concluded the following findings. First, the majority of the work on community relations has been undertaken by the local government and led by the local project developer, Royal Group. The leadership of the local government is similar to the situation in China, however responsive and proactive efforts to address livelihoods and protect biodiversity were implemented by the project’s developer, Hydrolancang.

Civil society in Cambodia had very little reaction from Hydrolancang, despite sending invitations to meetings and letters to the company. This has resulted in much frustration from the environmental and social NGO community in Cambodia and has negatively impacted the international reputation of the company. For example, 18 civil society organizations recently issued a statement to the company demanding that a new EIA be completed and information be released on the Lower Sesan 2 Dam redesign. The statement follows letters prepared in May 2014 to the company outlining their concerns about the project that has gone without response since then.

  • 4.4 Lessons Learned

The Lower Sesan 2 Project is the first overseas investment project undertaken by Hydrolancang. The company relied on the judgment of the Cambodia Government and its local project partner, Royal Group, particularly in the areas of resettlement and community relations management. Hydrolancang does not have experience in managing the mitigation of significant environmental and social impacts, and has tended to trust its project partners to do a good job. Problematic in all 3 case studies was the focus of mitigation activities on the reservoir area rather

than the downstream and upstream impacts, which can be transboundary in nature.

The project developers should halt the project construction and turn their attention to resolving key environmental and social issues. The project developers should develop and implement proper compensation measures for biodiversity protection before the project’s impacts are irreversible. These measures must extend beyond the reservoir area, and attend to the project’s significant upstream and downstream impacts. 79 As shown in contrasting the Manwan and Nuozhadu cases studies, compensation measures for the loss of habitat, biodiversity or fishery have to be planned in advance and properly budgeted, because compensation measures need to be implemented before the loss or threats have happened and usually require extra land and budget for implementation.

In the area of social impacts, the full scale of impacts must be properly acknowledged. People who have only farmland (not dwellings) inundated should also be counted in the resettlement plan. This is the standard required by Chinese resettlement law and was the approach adopted in Nuozhadu. The Dam’s developers should also conduct a proper impact assessment on the cultural sites and resources including the spiritual forests and ancestral burial lands, and develop compensation plan for the cultural losses. This assessment and compensation plan should extend beyond the resettlement villages and cover all the villages living around the reservoir, downstream and upstream areas, whose cultural sites are subject to impacts from construction, inundation and operation. Further, communities whose food security will be negatively impacted must be supported. Livelihood restoration for all those impacted must also be addressed. The loss of livelihoods due to the dam include loss of fishery, loss of agricultural lands, decreased productivity of new farmland, loss of irrigation water, loss of income from tourism and boat transportation, loss of easy access to forests, and loss of natural resources for livestock. All these losses should be evaluated and properly compensated before the project moves forward. Lower Sesan 2’s Project developers should develop a detailed plan about how to support new livelihoods. The support should at least include monetary compensation, technical training, and provision of resources for establishing new livelihoods, provided by the Project developers and the Cambodian Government.

Annex 1: Questionnaire for Communities

Affected by Lower Sesan 2 Dam

Section A

  • 1. How does your community use the river? Washing? Bathing? Cooking? Fishing? Transportation? Traditional medicine? Traditional ceremonies?

  • 2. What is most important to you about the river?

  • 3. Have you heard about Lower Sesan 2 Dam? If so, what are the benefits and impacts you have heard? Do you have any concerns?

Section B: Biodiversity and Livelihoods

  • 4. Do you fish for consumption or for sale (if for sale, where are you selling it to and how much are you getting? If for consumption, how often do you eat fish? )

  • 5. What are the most important fish (species) to your community?

  • 6. For each fish species:

 

Fish Name:

Fish Name:

Fish Name:

How do you catch this fish?

     

Do you catch them for eating or for

     

selling? If selling how much?

Where do you catch them (looking for riverine habitat descriptions, like river bank, in the middle of a river (on a boat), small rivers.)

     

At what time of year do you catch them? If a specific time of year: what is the river like at that time? (High or low)

     

Do you know when they reproduce? Or when do fish have eggs in their body cavities?

     

Do you know what this type food this fish eats?

     

Do these fish use floodplain/riparian features during high season flows?

     

Do these fish migrate up or downstream? If so, when? Do you know where the spawning grounds are for these species?

     

Has the number of fish changed over the years? Has the size of individuals that you catch changed over the years?

     

Do you notice any relationship between

     

the number of fish and the amount of

water in the river (both within a year and between years; could also say ‘what

happens to the fish catch during very dry

years and during very wet years).

7.

What other animals are important to your community? Do they use the river and, if so, how?

  • 8. What tree or plant species are particularly valuable to you? Where do these trees or plants grow in relation to the river? Where do the seedlings occur?

  • 9. Where do you farm? Do you have riverbank gardens? What do you grow?

    • 10. What are the main income sources of your family?

      • a. Farming and selling agriculture products?

      • b. Selling fishes?

      • c. Tourism?

      • d. Weaving?

      • e. Other?

Section C: Cultural Impacts

  • 11. What is your ethnic or cultural identity? Are you a member of an indigenous group? Are other members of your village members of indigenous or ethnic minority groups (if so, which ones).

  • 12. Will the project have an impact on places or practices that are sacred or of cultural importance to your community? Eg. spirit homes, ancestor’s burial grounds, community forests, other places that are important to your community.

  • 13. Do you think the project will affect your community’s culture, beliefs and traditions? Your identity as a community? If so, how?

Section D: Resettlement and Compensation

  • 14. Where did you receive information about project’s progress, resettlement and compensation?

    • a. Village meetings with the government and/or company

    • b. Village head

    • c. Company officials

    • d. Government officials

    • e. Other:

What is the form you receive the information

  • a. verbally at meetings including from the government resettlement committee, company or village leadership

  • b. verbally from other villagers (not the village head)

  • c. written from the company or government authorities

  • d. written from the newspaper or other media sources such as radio?

  • 15. Have you attended any public consultation meetings the dam company or government organized since the Chinese company took over the project in the end of 2012? How many times and when?

  • 16. Would you describe the meetings as negative or positive? Were you given information in the meeting? What kind of information was received (negative or positive)? Did you have a chance to express concerns and ask questions?

  • 17. How do you feel about the resettlement and compensation plan that you are being offered, based on the information you have received?

Resettlement and Compensation Package Checklist

Items Yes or No Description of the Item (if relevant) Price promised Will the company provide
Items
Yes or No
Description of the
Item (if relevant)
Price promised
Will the company provide compensation for:
Main houses
Ancillary buildings (eg grain stores, toilets,
kitchen buildings, etc)
Moving cost
Fruit trees and valuable plantation trees
Farmland (eg. rice paddy, vegetable gardens, etc)
Other valuable community land/resources (eg.
spirit forest, religious sites, etc)
       

Livelihoods support (eg cash compensation,

     

aquaculture, grains, tourism support, etc)

     
     

Regarding new resettlement area: will the company build the following items and how much will they pay for them?

 

Yes or No

Company will

Company to pay

build?

villagers to build

Resettlement area site preparation

     

Main houses

     

Ancillary buildings (eg grain stores, toilets, kitchen buildings, etc)

     

Provide individual household water supply

     

Provide individual electricity supply

     

Provide individual household waste water drainage

     

Other things:

     

Public clinic, school, wat etc

Notes

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  • 2. Xu S, et al. 2005. Resettlement and Environmental Compensation in the Development of Lancang Dams. Journal of Guizhou University of Finance and Economics. Vol 4: 15-17.

  • 3. Fu, B.H. and He, Y.B. (2003), The effect on émigrés’ income and reservoir area ecology caused by farmland changes of Manwan Hydropower Station. Territory & Natural Resources Study 2003 (4): 45-46.

  • 4. Xun S and Chen L.H. 2005. Environmental Impacts and Ecological Restoration Practices of Large Hydropower Stations – Yunnan Manwan Dam Project as an Example. Yunnan Environmental Science. 24(4): 14-18.

  • 5. Chapman E. and He D. 1996. Downstream Implications of China’s Dams on the Lancang Jiang (Upper Mekong) and their Potential Significance for Greater Regional Cooperation Basin- Wide, Monash Asia Institute, Australia.

  • 6. Li X., et al. 2010. Impacts of Manwan Dam Construction on Aquatic Habitat and Community in Middle Reach of Lancang River. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 2: 706-712

  • 7. He D., et al 2009. 向岭谷区跨境生安全与控体系.

  • 8. Lu, X. X., Siew, R.Y. 2006. Water Discharge and Sediment Flux Changes Over the Past Decades in the Lower Mekong River: Possible Impacts of the Chinese Dams. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 10: 181-195.

  • 9. Kummu, M., Varis, O. 2007. Sediment-related Impacts Due to Upstream Reservoir Trapping, the Lower Mekong River. Geomorphology, 85: 275-293.

    • 10. Liu M, et al. 2011. Fish Species Composition and Distribution in Lancang River in Yunnan. Journal of Fishery Sciences of China, 18(1): 156-170.

    • 11. Zheng L P, et al. 2013. Status and Conservation of Fishes in the Middle and Lower Lancangjiang River. Zoological Research 34(6): 680-686.

    • 12. He S P, et al. 1999. The Preliminary Investigation of Fish Biodiversity in Middle and Upper Reach of Lancangjiang River. Yunnan Geographic Environment Research 11(1): 26-29.

    • 13. Li X Y, et al. 2010 Impacts of Manwan Dam Construction on Aquatic Habitat and Community in Middle Rearch of Lancang River. Procedia Environmental Sciences 2: 706-712.

    • 14. Kang B, et al. 2009. Fish and Fisheries in the Upper Mekong:

Current Assessment of the Fish Community, Threats and Conservation. 19: 465-480.

  • 15. Liu M, et al. 2011. Fish Species Composition and Distribution in Lancang River in Yunnan. Journal of Fishery Sciences of China, 18(1): 156-170.

  • 16. Zheng L P, et al. 2013. Status and Conservation of Fishes in the Middle and Lower Lancangjiang River. Zoological Research 34(6): 680-686.

  • 17. Liu M, et al. 2011. Fish Species Composition and Distribution in Lancang River in Yunnan. Journal of Fishery Sciences of China, 18(1): 156-170.

  • 18. Kang B, et al. 2009. Fish and Fisheries in the Upper Mekong:

Current Assessment of the Fish Community, Threats and Conservation. 19: 465-480.

  • 19. Zhou Shichun. Lancang River Hydropower Development, Environmental Protection, and Economic Contribution. Chiang Rai, Thailand. Oct. 16, 2009.

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  • 33. Zheng, H. 2012, Nature-Culture-Power: An Anthropological Investigation on the Manwan Debate. Beijing, Copyright Press.

  • 34. Yang Z S, et al. 2007. The Security of Land Resources Demand for Relocated Land-losing Farmers in Western China’s Hydroelectric Development – A Case Study in Yunnan Province. Journal of Hydroelectric Engineering. 26(2): 9-13.

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  • 55. 3S Rivers Protection Network. 2014. Community Based Research on Development of Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam.

  • 56. EIA Report for Lower Sesan 2 HPP.

  • 57. EIA Report for Lower Sesan 2 HPP.

  • 58. Baran E., et al. 2012. Fish and Fisheries in the Sesan River Basin, MK3 Catchment Baseline –Fisheries Section.

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  • 78. See Cambodia Law on Expropriation, Art 22.

  • 79. Gatke P., et al. 2013. Fish Passage Opportunities for the Lower Sesan 2 Dam in Cambodia: Lessons from South America.

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