Gender and household decision-making in a Lao Village: implications for livelihoods in hydropower development

Hydropower development with concomitant changes in water and land regimes often results in livelihood transformation of affected people, entailing changes in intra-household decision-making upon which livelihood strategies are based. Economic factors underlying gender dimensions of household decision-making have been studied rigorously since the 1970s. However, empirical data on gender and decision-making within households, needed for evidence-based action, remain scarce. This is more so in hydropower contexts.

Coping with resettlement: A livelihood adaptation analysis in the Mekong River basin

A major driver of change in the Mekong River basin relates to hydropower development and the consequent changes in landscape and natural resource access regime that it induces. In this paper, we examine how the livelihoods of resettlers evolve following resettlement, and examine the determinants of that process. The study takes place in the context of the Theun Hinboun Expansion Project in Lao PDR. Based on longitudinal household surveys conducted before resettlement as well as 1, 2, and 3 years after resettlement, we identify the process of livelihood adaptation in resettled communities.

Wind energy, hydropower and heat pumps for aquaculture

Wind and water power have a significant contribution to make to aquaculture and fish processing. Wind energy can provide mechanical power to operate pumps and aerators and can clso be used to generate electricity. Small-scalehydropower may be used to serve aquaculture in many ways wherever there is sufficient flow and fall of water. Additionally, refrigeration equipment and heat pumps may be driven by both wind and water power. The integration of these systems can serve energy needs in fish farming for processing, ice-making, mechanical power and electricity.

Trading-off fish biodiversity, food security, and hydropower in the Mekong River Basin

The Mekong River Basin, site of the biggest inland fishery in the world, is undergoing massive hydropower development. Planned dams will block critical fish migration routes between the river's downstream floodplains and upstream tributaries. Here we estimate fish biomass and biodiversity losses in numerous damming scenarios using a simple ecological model of fish migration. Our framework allows detailing trade-offs between dam locations, power production, and impacts on fish resources.

Redistribution of water use and benefits among hydropower affected communities in Lao PDR

In this paper, we assess how resettlement and changes in water access have altered livelihoods of local communities upstream of the Theun Hinboun Expansion Project in Lao PDR. Based on household surveys conducted both before and after resettlement, we estimate changes in water use and benefits among households of 4 resettled villages.

The importance of the fish resource in the Mekong River and examples of best practices

The Mekong is an exceptional river in many ways. In terms of fish biodiversity, it is the world’s second richest river after the Amazon (www.fishbase. org). With 6 to 18% of the global freshwater fish catch, it is also home to the largest freshwater fisheries in the world. The productive Mekong fisheries are essential to the food security of the 60 million people of the Lower Mekong Basin. Fish contributes 81% of the population’s protein intake in Cambodia and 48% in Laos. Mekong inland fisheries also provide employment to 1.6 of the 14 million Cambodians.

Functional aquatic ecosystems, inland fisheries and the Millennium Development Goals

Freshwater allocation in an environment of increasing demand and declining quality and availability is a major societal challenge. While biodiversity and the needs of local communities are often in congruence, the over-riding necessity of meeting national demands for power, food and, increasingly, mitigation of the hydrological effects of climate change, often supersedes these.

Food and nutrition security vulnerability to mainstream hydropower dam development in Cambodia

The ‘Food and Nutrition Security Vulnerability to Mainstream Hydropower Dam Development in Cambodia’ project examined national food and nutrition vulnerability arising from the potential construction of the Stung Treng (ST) and Sambor (SB) dams. This project consisted of three components: i) an assessment of the food consumption in rural households nationwide, ii) an assessment of the impacts of Cambodian mainstream dams on fish yield, and iii) an assessment of the impacts of Cambodian mainstream dams on fish consumption and food security in Cambodia.

Fish, sediment and dams in the Mekong

The Mekong River is home to the largest inland fishery in the world, which is due in part to its exceptional sediment and nutrient loads. The number of dams in the Basin is expected to increase from 16 in the year 2000 to between 77 and 136 by 2030. These dams retain and accumulate sediments and nutrients in their reservoirs; as such, planned dam development is expected to result in a 60% to 96% reduction in sediment flow to downstream Mekong waters.

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