Stop the Don Sahong Dam | WWF

The Don Sahong Dam is a disastrous project, impacting the last Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins and the food security of the millions of people depending on the river's fisheries. #StopDonSahongDam

©: Kimsan LOR / WWF-Cambodia

What is the Don Sahong Dam project ?

The Don Sahong Dam is one of 12 hydropower projects proposed for construction on the lower stretches of the Mekong River.
Located 1.5 kilometre from the Laos - Cambodian border in Champasak Province, Laos PDR, it will block the Hou Sahong channel, one of the main dry season channels that comprise the Khone Falls section of the Mekong.

- up to 22.5 m high
- 260 MW power station
- construction will take around 5 years


The Dam in 2016

September 2015: Laos government has approved the concession agreement for the project

December 2015: Construction of the dam has started 

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) countries did not reach consensus in the frame of the MRC to move ahead with construction


Who is the developer ?

Malaysia's MegaFirst Corporation Berhad are entering hydropower development for the first time with this project. They have never before built a dam, and have not satisfied calls for proper transboundary studies to understand the impact and consequences of the project.


The dam’s impacts on the dolphins probably cannot be mitigated, and certainly not through the limited and vague plans outlined in the project’s environmental impact assessment. The Directors of Mega First have a choice – to side with the great river and its people, and find a sustainable path, or to continue with this flawed project and precipitate the extinction of the Mekong’s dolphins.

Gerry Ryan, author of a scientific review of potential impacts of the Don Sahong Hydropower Project

© Bénédicte Nicoleau/ WWF-Cambodia

The Impact Of the Don Sahong Dam


Make your voice heard by sharing this video to let Malaysia's MegaFirst Corporation Berhaud know that destroying Cambodia's precious heritage will not be tolerated.

© David Dove / WWF Greater Mekong

Protecting the last 80 Irrawaddy Dolphins

Just 80 Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins survive today in a small stretch of the Mekong River. The proposed Don Sahong dam could herald the extinction of this rare animal from the mighty Mekong.
The dam development is located just one kilometre upstream of the core habitat for the dolphins in southern Laos.The dam builders intend to excavate millions of tonnes of rock using explosives,creating strong sound waves that could potentially kill the dolphins, which have highly sensitive hearing structures.
Increased boat traffic, changes in water quality, and habitat destruction represent other major risks to their survival.


Learn more about the Irrawaddy Dolphin


© Zeb Hogan / WWF

Preserving food security in the Mekong region

The Don Sahong dam will have direct consequences for the food security and livelihoods of people, particularly Cambodians, who rely on the Mekong River’s rich fisheries.

The dam will block the only channel suitable for year-round fish migration, putting the world’s largest inland fishery at risk. At the Khone Falls, the Mekong River drops approximately 20 metres into a complex network of narrow channels. Of these channels, the Hou Sahong in particular plays a crucial role in basin-wide fish migration - a critical passable for the huge volume of migratory fish species that travel up the Mekong River from Cambodia to the Khone Falls in Lao PDR.

Massive mobilization against the project

In early 2014, 255 596 concerned citizens from over 200 countries signed a global online petition calling to stop the Don Sahong Dam.

In September 2014, the Stop Don Sahong Dam event hosted by WWF-Cambodia and the RCC (River Coalition Cambodia) gathered : 25 community members from Mekong River and Tonle Sap, 30 youths from Phnom Penh, NGO representatives, and Buddhist monks working on conservation awareness along the Mekong River.

In November 2015, on the occasion of Freshwater Dolphin Day, over 400 people gathered to show their support for the protection of the critically endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin and to protest against the Don Sahong Dam.

Despite this massive opposition, the latest news from the construction site indicate that the developer decided to overlook this large opposition and is carrying on with the project.


Video : Public handover of petition signatures

Voices from impacted communities

Our donors

Share your Message to MegaFirst and ask to #StopDonSahongDam