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This paper uses a political ecology approach to examine how state and private actors in Thailand and Laos mobilise power to control the benefits from hydropower while the social and environmental impacts are largely ignored, thereby constituting water grabbing. The authors argues that the structure and politics of the Thai electricity sector, private sector and civil society are driving Thailand’s hydropower investment in Laos. Thai investments are enabled by Laos' low capacity to enforce laws and regulate development. These enabling factors combine with economic-focused regional development to create opportunities for water grabbing. The winners are the powerful actors who control the benefits, while the losers are local livelihoods and the environment.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Environment and natural resources
  • Environmental and biodiversity protection
  • Legal framework
  • Water rights
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Thailand
Copyright Unclear copyright
Access and use constraints

Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Sharealike License 3.0.

Version / Edition 1
License CC-BY-4.0

Nathanial Matthews,

Author (individual) Matthews, Nathanial
Publisher Water
Publication date 2012
Pagination 392-411
General note

Water Alternatives, Volume 5, Number 2

Date uploaded May 29, 2015, 03:34 (UTC)
Date modified June 22, 2015, 08:39 (UTC)