Sustainable hydropower on the Mekong River

In collaboration with Deltares (Netherlands) and BOKU University (Austria), Multiconsult has drawn up the first draft of the guidelines for sustainable hydropower development on the Mekong River.

10. May, 2016

Xayaburi hydropower plant (under construction) on the Mekong River’s mainstream. Its advanced fish passage system is illustrated in the figure below (Photo: Poyry Energy Ltd., June 2015).

Xayaburi hydropower plant (under construction) on the Mekong River’s mainstream. Its advanced fish passage system is illustrated in the figure below (Photo: Poyry Energy Ltd., June 2015).

The name of the project is Hydropower Environmental Impact Mitigation on the Mekong Mainstream and Tributaries. The guidelines and manual can be found on the Mekong River Commission’s website.

The study may help to make future hydropower projects in the Mekong region (Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam) more sustainable. It will also act as a reference work for best practice on environmental mitigation measures for projects worldwide.

Multiconsult will present its work to the World Bank

In March the preliminary results of the study, including the guidelines and manual, as well as a description of the remaining work, were presented at the conference ASIA 2016, Water Resources and Hydropower Development, held in Laos.

“Many delegates showed a great deal of interest in the project. The World Bank has invited Multiconsult and Deltares to Washington D.C. in autumn 2016 to present the study to their staff,” says Leif Birger Lillehammer, the Team Leader for the study.

A multidisciplinary team consisting of 20 experts from Norway, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria and Australia has been working on the study.

 

Testing environmental mitigation measures and guidelines

The first draft of the guidelines and manual mark the end of the first two phases of the study, which started in January 2015. It is due for completion in July 2017, after the end of phase four.

“We are now in phase 3, which will run until the end of 2016, and consists of a pilot study to test the guidelines and proposed mitigation measures on five planned dams on the Mekong mainstream north of Vientiane in Laos. One of these is the Xayaburi hydropower plant, which is under construction, and incorporates an advanced fish passage system,” explains Lillehammer.

Testing will consist of advanced, integrated hydrological, hydraulic, sedimentation, water balance and hydropower modelling. The aim is to assess environmental mitigation measures and to find the best ones when evaluated against and integrated with the best technological and financial solutions.

Xayaburi Fish Passage System (Xayaburi: Xayaburi Power Company Ltd).
Xayaburi Fish Passage System (Xayaburi: Xayaburi Power Company Ltd).