, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 319–324 | Cite as

Mekong at the Crossroads: Next Steps for Impact Assessment of Large Dams

  • Marko Keskinen
  • Matti Kummu
  • Mira Käkönen
  • Olli Varis


The Mekong River in Southeast Asia stands at the crossroads. As discussed in Ambio Special Issue (Kummu et al. 2008), the crossroads is ultimately about the way the river and its abundant resources should be used, with the most heated debate evolving around the issue of large hydropower dams. A relatively pristine river with an estimated hydropower potential of 53 000 MW in the basin, the Mekong forms a tempting source of energy for the growing riparian economies (ICEM 2010; Grumbine and Xu 2011). Yet, the dams are estimated to radically reduce the current benefits derived from the river, including its multibillion dollar fisheries that form the basis for food security and livelihoods for millions of people (Kummu and Sarkkula 2008; Lamberts and Koponen 2008; Dugan et al. 2010; Arthur and Friend 2011). The thematic crossroads thus appears largely as a choice between large-scale, economic-driven water utilization and a more diverse, decentralized use of water-related...


Impact Assessment Water Development Strategic Environmental Assessment Hydropower Project Mekong River Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank their numerous colleagues working on the Mekong for inspiring discussions. Juha Sarkkula and Jorma Koponen are specially thanked for their collaboration with the impact assessment work, and John Dore for useful comments. The authors also thank their wonderful colleagues at Aalto University’s Water & Development Research Group. The work was funded by Academy of Finland Project 133748.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marko Keskinen
    • 1
  • Matti Kummu
    • 1
  • Mira Käkönen
    • 2
  • Olli Varis
    • 1
  1. 1.Water & Development Research GroupAalto UniversityAaltoFinland
  2. 2.Finland Futures Research CenterUniversity of TurkuHelsinkiFinland

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