Mekong Valley Denizens Dammed Either Way
It may not lift all boats. Cambodia’s Kbal Romeas village will soon be submerged by a new hydroelectric dam, but not everyone’s cheering — or evacuating. Some 5,000 homes in this Mekong River offshoot will be lost to the Lower Sesan 2 Dam, a 400-megawatt hydroelectric complex set to power up in August. From Laos to the South China Sea, the river’s residents and ecosystem rely on its fertility, but harnessing its energy at numerous points will impoverish its nutrient-rich sediment, while touted electricity riches appear unlikely to trickle down anytime soon.