Which Dams Are Releasing Water in Laos?


As monsoonal rains drench Laos and rivers continue to rise across the country, several hydropower projects have been forced to release water. Where are these dams, and when have they released water?

The government received alerts from five hydroelectric plants in recent days regarding the release of water from their dams, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Nam Khan 2 and Nam Khan 3

Nam Khan 2, built in 2016 by Power Construction Corp and Electricite du Laos.

Following a request from Electricite du Laos, the Ministry of Energy and Mines issued a notice today advising that water will be released from Nam Khan 2 and Nam Kham 3 dams in Luang Prabang from 18 August to 31 August.

According to the notice, water from Nam Khan 2 will be released at a speed of 103 cubic meters per second, while water from Nam Kham 3 will be released at 155 cubic meters per second.

Nam Lik 1-2

The Nam Lik 1 dam is located in Hinheup District, Vientiane Province.

Nam Lik 1-2 released water yesterday (18 August) after the Ministry of Energy and Mines advised residents in Vientiane Province, particularly in Feuang District, to prepare for changes in water levels.

The Ministry stated that campgrounds, bungalows, and entertainment venues along Nam Lik River must close for visitors until further notice from the Ministry.

Nam Kong 1

The Nam Kong 1 Dam on the Nam Kong (river) in Phouvong District, Attapeu Province was completed in 2021.

The Nam Kong 1 dam in Attapeu Province released water yesterday (18 August) at 104 cubic meters per second on the same day, causing the water level near the dam to fluctuate slightly.


Nam Ou

The Nam Ou 3 Hydroelectric dam built on the Nam Ou River in Luang Prabang is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Nam Ou Dams, a series of seven cascading hydroelectric dams along the Nam Ou river in Phongsaly and Luang Prabang provinces, released water on Saturday (20 August), however, no official government notice was issued.


Xayaburi Dam
Xayaburi Dam Denies Responsibility for Dry Mekong River
The release of water from the Nam Ou dam on Saturday caused the Xayaburi Dam reservoir to fill up.  The Xayaburi project issued a Level 2 alert to nearby residents, warning them to immediately vacate the area before the water was released on 14 August.

Other Dams

A Luoi dam in Vietnam's Hue Province.
A Luoi dam in Vietnam’s Hue Province.

Authorities in Laos also warned residents in Sekong Province of rising water levels in the Xe Khong River last week due to the release of water by a Vietnamese dam nearby.