Water Experts Question World Bank's Role in Laos Dam

A panel of water experts have warned that the World Bank's promotion of a major dam in Laos, which they say failed to deliver on basic promises, has fueled the country's development of shoddy hydropower projects with catastrophic consequences. In July, an auxiliary dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower complex in southern Laos burst, displacing thousands and officially killing at least 40 people, though many believe the real toll to be much higher. The Laos government has conceded shoddy construction played a role in the collapse — a failing, a panelist at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Thursday said, stemmed from corruption and mismanagement across the entire hydro-power sector in Laos. Bruce Shoemaker, who began surveys to assess impacts of the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) dam before construction began some 13 years ago, said the World Bank had created a sustainable hydro-power myth through its promotion...


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