Thailand’s Mekong water grab

Glancing at a map highlighting the proposed dams in the Mekong Basin, especially in Laos, casts doubt on the assertion that hydropower is being driven by energy demand and that environmental and social concerns are a priority for local governments and industry.

In a new article entitled Water grabbing in the Mekong basin – An analysis of the winners and losers of Thailand’s hydropower development in Lao PDR’  Nathanial Matthews argues that powerful actors from the Thai and Laos’ government and private sector are controlling the benefits of hydropower expansion in the Mekong Basin, while the environment and local communities are negatively impacted. Framing hydropower under water grabbing helps to illuminate the drivers and enablers of the Basin’s current hydropower boom and provides an alternative explanation to the regional rhetoric that these dams will help Thailand, Laos and the region.