Building Private Sector Participation in River Basin Management: The Case of Nam Ngum River Basin

This PDA will help demonstrate private sector participation in river basin management through the formation of Nam Ngum Hydropower and Mining Forum (NNHMF), which will assist the Nam Ngum River Basin Committee (NNRBC) in addressing key issues related to hydropower and mining development in the basin.


Fourteen hydropower related projects (existing, under construction, and planned) regulate the water flow of Nam Ngum River and/or discharge in Nam Ngum River Basin (and from there to the Mekong River mainstream).

This PDA will help develop an agreement among hydropower projects operators on how to regulate any acts, activities, or use at each catchment of the 14 hydropower projects that may cause:

  • Alteration of the flow of water
  • Damage to or diminution of the utility, efficiency, or productivity of the hydropower projects
  • Increase of the costs or otherwise adversely affect the project and/or project management

The PDA will also help the hydropower projects operators to come to an agreement with Government on procedures for coordination of basin management.

Other major development projects in Nam Ngum River Basin do exist and are planned by mining companies. The mining projects require energy (possibly to be obtained from hydropower projects), and can be expected to influence the quantity and quality of water flows in Nam Ngum River and/or its tributaries.

The hydropower and mining projects may also have environmental and/or social impacts, requiring well coordinated mitigation, minimization, off-setting, and/or compensation of impacts using similar procedures, including monitoring and grievances redress mechanism as well as entitlements of project affected people.

The Nam Ngum River Basin Committee (NNRBC) will be the key mechanism to address these challenges. The NNRBC is expected to be formed as the first such RBC in Lao PDR. A proposed Nam Ngum Hydropower and Mining Forum (NNHMF) will be considered as a Sub-committee or Task Force of the NNRBC to assist the Committee in addressing key issues related to hydropower and mining development in the NNRB. The NNHMF is expected to include the operators of the large scale water using sectors, mining and hydropower and representatives of the relevant national and provincial government agencies. The mechanisms and level of representation is to be determined through the PDA.

Expected Outcomes


  • Assessment of sustainability of hydropower investments in the Nam Ngum basin using the RSAT
  • Identification of modeling tools for optimization of water resource allocations and operations
  • Large scale private sector water users concerns are integrated in the preparations for the newly formed river basin committee


  • Nam Ngum River Basin Organization is informed of the concerns and needs of all stakeholder groups through a mechanism (Forum) that ensures participation of private sector (hydropower and mining operators) who have a stake in the basin


  • Water resource allocations and management in Nam Ngum are efficiently and effectively managed by the Nam Ngum River Basin Organization