With the new found confidence Kathy Dal braves it and heads off road for a better view of the surrounding Lake, all gracefulness was lost when she realised she had to turn around…
Thakhek Loop – Episode 7 – Out of the road
Click here for EPISODE 8 or scroll further for some less funny but relevant information.
Laos Hydropower: Nam Theun 2 Dam
The ghastly eerie looking lake full of tree skeletons is the result of just one of the massive Hydro-power schemes that has been developed in Laos over the recent years. As a means for the government to produce some much needed foreign revenue by exporting electricity to nearby Thailand and of course providing some much needed electricity to the local populations of the country.
During the first leg of the loop out of the town of Thakhek you pass the hydropower station of this dam and can even stop for a free introductory display of all it’s history and more notably it’s “success stories” about perfectly managing the effects of the dam on the surrounding environment and local populations. All interesting stuff and worth a look if you end up doing the Loop yourself.
It has mostly been hailed internationally as a success story and model for future Hydro-power developments throughout other developing countries. But off course it isn’t without its controversy though, a quick google search reveals that there is a lot of reports arguing just how minimal these impacts have been and who is really benefiting from the construction of the dam. Local populations reportedly (unsurprisingly) suffering the most with a loss of traditional livelihoods from the forced relocations, loss of farming land and depleted natural fish stocks that once flowed through the rivers.
With a government that recently ranked as the 37th (out of 175 countries) most corrupt nation according to the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International, its hard to know when/if or how these future profits will be used to benefit the struggling locals effected the most. What use is a nice home if you have lost the way to feed your family?
Further reading for anyone who can be bothered or is interested:
- Report by International Rivers – A global organisation committed to protecting rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them. Read this fact sheet in particular for some information
- Nam Theun 2 Power Company
- Report by the world bank (some series fucking desire to understand this project must be needed to attempt this, over 200 pages. Honestly I never finished it, I don’t even know why I’m sharing it)
Anyway, it all made for some interesting landscape to ride around and some things to ponder while crawling at the crackling pace Kathy Dal set.
On a much less serious note…
haha.. In the next episode Kathy Dal uses this new bravery and takes on the challenging 25km stretch of dirt road, watch that here >>>
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