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The Sambor dam is a proposed hydropower project on the mainstream of the Mekong River in Kratie province, Cambodia. Members of local communities have voiced concerns that this project will negatively impact their livelihoods and that they will need to be resettled. A 2008 feasibility study for a 3,300-megawatt project design estimated that 19,000 people would be displaced. The Mekong River Commission’s 2010 Strategic Environmental Assessment of mainstream Mekong dams placed the number even higher. China Guodian Corporation and Natural Heritage Institute were subsequently contracted to carry out feasibility studies for smaller designs of the dam.

The project is set to be completed by 2027, with a total output of 1,800 megawatts. If built, the dam will block the migration of fish between upstream areas and Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, a vital food source for the region. Cambodian Fisheries Administration reports that it will see a 16 to 30 percent drop in fishery yields if the dam is built. It may also have significant consequences for the hydrology of the river and the movement of sediment and nutrients. After frontline communities protested over the dam’s potential impact on fisheries, the original developer for the project, China Southern Power Grid, withdrew from the project. EarthRights is tracking the development of this project.

Additional Resources:

Mekong Mainstream Dams Map (International Rivers)

Feeding Southeast Asia: Mekong River Fisheries and Regional Food Security (International Rivers)

Key Findings of the MRC’s Strategic Environmental Assessment (International Rivers/Mekong River Commission)