The Dagwin, or Lower Salween, Dam is one of five dams planned on the Salween River in eastern Burma. The Dagwin Dam site is on the border between Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province and Burma’s Karen State, and will serve as a pumped storage facility for the upriver Weigyi Dam. The Dagwin has been planned since the early 1980s, and in July 1996 Thailand signed an MOU with the Burmese government for the purchase of electricity.
Height: estimated 56 meters
Installed capacity: 792 MW
Annual production: unknown
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has been involved in planning for the Dagwin Dam since the early 1980s. Initial dam studies were carried out in the early 1990s by Japan’s Electric Power Development Company. In April 2008, three companies from China signed a strategic cooperation agreement for the development of electricity from Burma’s Salween River. Details of the agreement have not been released.
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
Electric Power Development Company (EPDC)
China Southern Power Grid Co., Ltd. (CSG)
China Three Gorges Project Development Corporation
The cost of building the Dagwin Dam is estimated at 900 million USD.
Income generated from the sale of electricity will depend on the annual production and the buying price. A power purchase agreement has yet to be signed.
Electricity – where will it go?
Electricity will be sold to Thailand. Local residents are not confident that they will receive electricity or that if they do, that it will be affordable.
Project Status (Last updated September 2008)
The Dagwin Dam is currently in the planning and feasibility stages.
In order to secure the area around the Dagwin site, since the early 1990s Burma’s military has launched several offensives against the ethnic Karen villagers living in the vicinity. Before the offensives, the zone around the Dagwin site was a Karen liberated area with a population of just over 100,000 people. Now more than half of those people have fled the area, many ending up in refugee camps in Thailand. The majority of those remaining have had to flee their homes and are living as internally displaced persons. Many atrocities have been and are continuing to be committed by the Burma Army as they secure the area, including murder, forced labor, forced relocation, torture, and rape. For more information, please see Damming at Gunpoint.
All of the dams planned on the Salween River will greatly disrupt the riverine ecosystem and destroy the livelihoods of those peoples living along the river. Large areas of land, used by many ethnic peoples for traditional farming and medicines, will be flooded. Those living along the river will be forcibly relocated, likely without compensation. Further, large development projects in Burma bring an expanded Burma Army presence and the increased use of forced labor. Villagers living downstream from the dams will also face difficulties. Alterations in river flows will affect disrupt downstream estuaries, which will harm the agricultural and fishing practices of villagers who depend on those estuaries.
To find out more information and updated news on the Salween Dams, please visit www.salweenwatch.org