Northern Laos Luang Namtha Province has an ambitious plan to turn the Nam Long Reservoir into a new tourist destination.
The plan matches with Luang Namtha Province’s policies of developing nature-based tourism sites and sustainably developing natural resources and the environment.
The government realize the importance of sustainable development linked with the preservation of natural resources and the environment.
The creation of the Nam Long Reservoir which covers around 22,000 ha of flooded area costs over 400 million kip (almost US$50,000). it emerged following the development of Nam Long 1 hydropower project. Construction of this dam was completed in late 2013 and generation of electricity began on a commercial scale in 2014. The project requested an investment of US$16 million and is currently run by Electricité du Laos.
Run-of-river dams mean that power generation depends on the immediate river water flows. This system of operation is free of the environmental impacts associated with large-scale projects due to their run-of-river design, which does not require a large dam or storage reservoir.
Run-of-river projects generate electricity by diverting only part of the stream. This produces relatively little change in the stream channel and flow, and minimises the impact on fish migration, water quality, and wildlife habitats.
The project contributed to socio-economic development in the province and district, especially in the form of revenue generation. helped to improve the lives of local people by creating job opportunities and giving villagers advice and assistance for crop growing and animal husbandry, enabling them to boost production and sell their crops and animals locally. it was built also on a relatively small scale, respecting local landscapes. The Laotian government now believes that tourism could be an additional source of revenues for local people.
“Tourism is one of the key strategies contributing to the country’s economic development both in the short and long term. It also creates jobs allowing locals in both urban and rural communities to generate incomes,” said Deputy Director of the Luang Namtha Environment and Resource Division Mr Som Sihathep during an interview last week.