|Recent Dam and Water Diversion Plans|
HAT GYI | TA SANG | WEI GYI (Upper Salween Dam) | DAGWIN (Lower Salween Dam) | Upper Thanlwin
Water Diversion from the Salween to the Chaophraya River
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the Thai government, and the Energy Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) are pushing ahead quickly and secretively with plans for a series of five giant dams on the Salween/Thanlwin River and its tributaries. The potential dam sites and water diversion projects on the Salween can be summarized as follows:
1. HAT GYI:
The construction of the Hat Gyi dam is expected to commence as soon as late 2007 and the commercial distribution of power is projected to begin around 2013-2014, which will provide electricity to Thailand. The Thai and Burmese government have agreed under the MOU to keep all data and joint studies on this project strictly confidential. The proposed plan is much larger than previous studies, increasing the flood area, which is inhabited mostly by ethnic Thai Karens and Shans and includes two official wildlife sanctuaries in Karen State.
A 1999 pre-feasibility study by the Japanese development consultant NEWJEC recommended “a low height, run-of-river dam having a capacity of 300 MW.” However, on November 14, 2005, the Thai energy minister cited a new feasibility study where “electricity production could be increased to 1,200 megawatts.” Quadrupled output from the dam would indicate a substantially higher dam, and therefore a much larger reservoir.
It is also important to mention that with a larger reservoir the Thai authorities will be able to more easily divert floodwaters from the Salween River into a dam on the Yuam River at Mae Lama Luang, which is at an advanced stage of planning. The water from the Mae Lama Luang dam will be diverted through a tunnel into the Bhumipol Dam in central Thailand.
2. TA SANG:
Already over 300,000 people have been forcibly relocated from the areas since dam studies commenced in 1996. If built, the Tasang Dam will drive thousands of people from their homes and will involve even more forced relocations by the Burmese military. Increased militarisation has already led to an increase of reports of torture, extrajudicial killing, and other human rights abuses in the Tasang area.
3. WEI GYI (Upper Salween Dam):