Water Grabbing/ Land Grabbing in Shared Water Basins the Case of Salween River Hatgyi Dam
Land grabbing by foreign governments and international companies is on the rise. Faced by population growth and an ever-decreasing availability of useable/affordable land in populace states, many are looking to buy land where it is available, predominantly for agricultural and industrial purposes. But land alone is not sufficient for either of these uses. The availability of useable water resources is also a prerequisite to each land purchase. To buy land is to own its green water and have access to any blue water available to it. The development of hydropower projects, however, endeavours to buy the use of blue water, and must also come with a purchase/lease of the surrounding lands. Thus, it can also be seen as a type of ‘water grabbing’. Where the locally affected, vulnerable, pre-existing stakeholders are against the project and the loss of livelihood and rights it engenders, a hydropower project may be labelled as a vehicle for water and land grabbing. For an international river, a part of a shared basin, the water grabbing affects stakeholders living under various political regimes and with disparate local power relations. The effects of the project on both sides of a border may be the same; however, the manner in which the two governments handle the effects will be different. The Case of the Hatgyi Dam development on the Salween River, a joint project between China, Myanmar and Thailand, is an example of the above. As a controversial dam being built on an international, border river, the Hatgyi Dam case study exemplifies many of the issues to be found in similar developments across the developing world.
Water Grabbing/ Land Grabbing in Shared Water Basins the Case of Salween River Hatgyi Dam, Journal of Water Resources and Ocean Science.
Vol. 2, No. 5,
2013, pp. 68-78.
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