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 IRN’s Rasi Salai Campaign

?Ao Khuan kuen bpai, ao Dhammachat kuen ma!?
?Take your dams back, give us nature!?

? Assembly of the Poor, Thailand

The Rasi Salai Dam, located on Thailand?s Mun River, has been a disaster since it was first proposed. The project was the first of 13 dams planned to irrigate land in northeast Thailand as part of the Kong–Chi–Mun Water Diversion project. Completed in 1994, the project was supposed to irrigate about 5,500 hectares.

However, Rasi Salai is currently useless and likely to remain so. The reservoir sits on top of a huge salt dome and its water is too salty for irrigation. Because of this design flaw, Thailand’s Office of Environmental Policy and Planning has refused to give permission for the dam’s irrigation canals to be built. Further, the defunct project has cost more than six times original estimates.

While project benefits have not materialized, Rasi Salai has had huge impacts on local villagers and the environment. More than 15,000 people lost farmland when the reservoir was filled; 60 percent of whom have not received compensation. The dam blocked fish migration routes and destroyed the largest freshwater swamp forest in the Mun River basin. The forest provided a source of food and traditional medicine for the villagers, fish habitat, flood control and water treatment.

For several years, affected people have rallied for the permanent decommissioning of Rasi Salai. In August 1999, more than 1,850 people created a village in the reservoir area on the site of their old one and named it Mae Mun Man Yuen Village #2, or long lasting Mun River village. They risked drowning in their quest for permanent opening of the dam gates.

In a victory for villagers, on July 6, 2000, Thailand’s Science Minister agreed to open all seven sluice gates of Rasi Salai to let the river run free for at least two years for environmental recovery and to conduct studies to determine who was affected by the project. Villagers are now demanding that the gates be permanently opened. IRN is working to support the villagers in their quest for permanent decommissioning of the Rasi Salai Dam.

  latest additions  
Press Statement
A Long March Against Dam by the Assembly of the Poor. Pak Mun and Rasi Salai Villagers launch long march from Ubon to Bangkok to call for permanent opening of dam gates
Rasi Salai Gates To Be Opened
Thai Government orders Rasi Salai gates to be opened for two years. 
Press Release
Protest at Thai Embassy and World Bank: "Remove the Dams and Restore the River". 
Letter from Washington DC
Thai Government orders Rasi Salai gates to be opened for two years. 
Villagers Continue River Reclamation
Bid to divert water back to its old course, Bangkok Post.
Write a Letter of Support
Villagers in Rasi Salai reservoir refuse to leave as the waters rise and threaten to drown them. They are demanding that the dam’s gates be opened and the river restored. See the Photos