Dams in Burma
There are close to 200 large Dams in Burma. Burma (Myanmar) has a large hydroelectric power potential of 39,000 Megawatts (MW), although the economical exploitable potential is about 37,000 MW. Burma tripled its installed capacity of hydro plants, from 253 MW in 1990 to 745 MW in 2002. Total installed capacity in 2010 is at least 2,449 MW, 6% of potential. Several large dams are planned to increase future hydro utilization.
Although the State of Burma is underdeveloped in terms of its hydro-power potential it is not for lack of trying. The agency charged with expanding Hydro project is the State Peace and Development Council and the current chairman of Sr-Gen Than Shwe strives to build more dams. Shwe who hails from the Kyaukse region, through which the Zawgyi River flows is widely rumored to believe himself a reincarnation of King Anawrahta (r. 1044-1077). During his reign King Anawrahta was a prolific dam- and canal-builder, especially along the Zawgyi river. He viewed his hydro projects as atonement for killing his foster-brother Sokkate.
The total electricity generated by Myanmar in 2002 was 6614 GWh, consisting of oil (612 GWh, 9%); gas (3770 GWh, 57%); and hydro (2232 GWh, 34%).
Burma's hydro power development activities and plans include five-year short term plans and a 30-year strategic plan. This involves generating power for domestic use and exporting to neighboring countries, especially China, Thailand and India. Total planned hydropower development in Myanmar is 14,600 MW.
Though the twelve large planned hydroelectic dams larger than 1,000 MW get much media attention, there are at least another twelve in the 100 - 1000 MW range and at least 27 smaller microhydroprojects smaller than 100 MW. The rest of the dams are generally lower height irrigation structures.
At least 45 Chinese Multi-National Corporations have been involved in approximately 63 hydropower projects in Burma, including several related substation and transmission line projects. Burma's State Peace and Development Council Chairman Than Shwe met with Chinese representatives at the Shweli I Hydropower Station.
|State/Region||Number of Sites||MW]|
An Asian Development Bank’s October 2012 assessment of the energy sector in Myanmar reported on the country’s abundant hydropower potential, with 92 potential large hydropower projects already identified. 
Seven dams have been proposed for the Salween River. The largest of these hydropower projects is the 7,100megawatt (MW) TaSang Dam on the Salween River, which is to be integrated into the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Sub-region Power Grid. A ground breaking ceremony for the Tasang Dam was held in March 2007, and China Gezhouba Group Co. (CGGC) started preliminary construction shortly after. China’s involvement in the damming of the Salween River is not limited to the Tasang project.
In 2006, Sinohydro signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Burma for the US$ 1 billion, 1,200 MW Hat Gyi Dam along the Thai border. In April 2007, Farsighted Group, now known as Hanergy Holding Group, and China Gold Water Resources Co. signed MoUs with Burma for an additional 2,400 MW hydropower project on the upper Salween, an area which Yunnan Power Grid Co. reportedly surveyed in 2006.
In April 2008, Sinohydro, China Southern Power Grid Co., and China Three Gorges Project Co. signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement for the development of the hydropower potential of the Salween River. Despite China’s involvement in these large-scale dams on the Salween, most of the electricity is destined for export to neighboring Thailand.
The 1,420 MW Shweli I, II, III Cascade, in Shan Statenear the Chinese border, has also received significant Chinese support. Yunnan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. (YMEC) began work on the Shweli I Hydropower Plant in February 2004 and, following Burma’s inability to secure funding, joined with Yunnan Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower Development Co. and Yunnan Power Grid Co. to create the Yunnan Joint Power Development Co. (YUPD) in August 2006. For more information regarding the Salween River, see [A 1]
A few months later, YUPD assumed an 80% share in the project after creating the Shweli River I Power Station Co. together with Burma, turned the Shweli I dam into a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project, and increased the installed capacity from 400 to 600 MW. At least two Sinohydro subsidiaries have provided construction services for the project, and Sichuan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. and Ningbo Huyong Electric Power Material Co. have signed US$ multimillion contracts for electricity transmission cables and towers. The Shweli I Hydropower Plant is slated for completion by June 2009, and was half complete as of May 2007.
N'Mai, N’Mai, Mali and Irrawaddy Rivers
In Kachin State, several Chinese MNCs are involved in the construction of seven large dams along the N’Mai Hka, Mali Hka, and Irrawaddy River, with a combined installed capacity of 13,360 MW. In 2007, China Power Investment Co. signed agreements with Burmese authorities to finance all seven dams, as well as with China Southern Power Grid Co. Yunnan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. (YMEC) signed an MoU with Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power in 2006 to develop the hydropower potential of the N’Mai Hka; however details about this arrangement remain unclear. Changjiang Institute of Surveying, Planning,Design & Research has also completed a feasibility study at the confluence of the N’Mai Hka and Mali Hka.
In western Burma, just inside the Indo-Burmese border, runs the Chindwin River, where several potential dam sites have been identified that are likely to service export-oriented hydro-power plants. The sites include Thamanthi, Mawlaik, Homalin, and Shwezaye ().
In August 2001, the Kansai Electric Power Company, or KEPCO, contracted with Burma to provide technical assistance for developing 12 hydro-power plants, including at least five sites on the Sittang River Yenwe, Khabaung, Pyu, Bogata and Shwe Gin.
China CAMC Engineering Co. has been involved in the surveying and implementation of hydropower projects in the region. The 790 MW Yeywa Dam in Mandalay Region, which began construction in 2006, is also being financed and constructed by several Chinese MNCs, including China Gezhouba Group Co.,Sinohydro, China International Trust and Investment Co. (CITIC) Technology Co., ChinaNational Electric Equipment Co., China National Heavy Machinery Co., and Hunan Savoo Oversea Water and Electric Engineering Co. Additional financial backing for the project is being provided by the China EXIM Bank.
In addition to the Yeywa, Shweli and Hat Gyi projects, Sinohydro China’s largest dam company and its subsidiaries have been involved in the Kun Creek-2, Kyauk, Mone,Nam Hkam Hka,Paunglaung (upper & lower), Tarpein I, Thapanseik I, II, III, and Zawgyi I Dams. As with the Yeywa project, both CITIC and China EXIM Bank provided investment and financial backing for the Thapanseik Dam.
The Yunnan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. (YMEC) has been one of the most active Chinese companies in Burma’s hydropower sector. Since the 1990s, YMEC has been involved in more than 25 projects of varying size, including the Ching Hkran, Chinshwehaw, Dattawgyaing, Hopin, Kunhein, Kunlon, Kyaing Ton, Kyaukme, Laiva, Mepan, Nam Hkam Hka, Nam Myaw, Nam Wop, Nancho, Paunglaung, Upper Paunglaung, Shweli I, II, III Cascade, Watwon, Zaungtu, Zawgyi I and II, Zichaung, and N’Mai Hka River hydropower projects, as well as the Rangoon Dagon Substation. The extent of YMEC involvement in these projects, several of which are completed, is unclear, but appears to involve construction and some financing.[A 2]
Lists of dams
|Shweli I Dam||1||Shweli River||600||2008-12||Shan State, near Man Tat village
|Zawgyi I Dam||2||Zawgyi River||18||1997-5-31||Shan State, Yaksauk Township|
|Zawgyi II Dam||3||Zawgyi River||12||1998-11||Shan State|
|Yeywa Dam||4||Myitnge River||790||2010|
|Dapein I||5||Dapein River||168||2005|
|Dapein II||6||Dapein River||240||2006|
|||8||Paung Laung River||280||2005|
|Zaungtu Dam||9||Bago River||20||2000-3||Bago Region|
|II||10||48||1960, 1992-8||Karenni State|
|Sedawgyi||11||Chaungmagyi River||25||1989-6||Mandalay Region, Mogok|
|Zawgyt (1)||13||18||yes||Shan State|
|Kattalu (Kyunsu)||14||.15||yes||Tanintharyi Region|
|Namlat (Kyaington)||17||.48||yes||Shan State|
|Chinshwehaw Dam||18||0.1||yes||Shan State|
|Kinda Dam||19||Panlaung river||56||1985||Mandalay Reg.. Thazi Township|
|Malikyun (Palaw)||21||.192||Tanintharyi Region|
|Matupi (Namlaung)||22||.2||Chin State|
|Maing Lar||23||.06||Shan State|
|Baluchaung I ||24||28||Kayah State|
|Ching Hkran Dam||25||2.52||Kachin State|
|Laiva Dam||26||0.96 - 0.6||Chin State|
|Nam Wop Dam||27||3||Shan State|
|Nammyao (Lashio) Dam||28||4||Shan State|
|Chinshwehaw (Extension) Dam||29||.2||Shan State|
|Kunlon Dam||30||Salween River||0.5||Shan State|
|Zi Chaung Dam||31||1.26||Sagaing Region|
|Nam Hkam Hka Dam
|Nam Suang Ngaung
|Thapanseik Dam||37||30||2002-6||Sagaing Region|
|Paung Laung Dam||38||280||2004|
|Lawpita Dam||39||192||1992||Kayah state|
|Total||40||Hydro plants||3,048.5 MW||commission||All Burma|
|Myitsone Dam||1||Irawaddy River||3600||2017 est.|
|Chibwe Dam||2||N'Mai River||2000|
|Pashe Dam||3||N'Mai River||1600|
|Lakin Dam||4||N'Mai River||1400||Lakin|
|Phizaw Dam||5||N'Mai River||1500|
|Kaunglanphu Dam||6||N'Mai River||1700|
|Laiza Dam||7||Mali River||1560|
|Chibwe Creek Dam||8||N'Mai River (Chibwe Creek)||99|
|Shwe Kyin Dam||10||Shwe Kyin Chaung
|Tarpein I Tarpien I ||13||Tarpein River||240|
|Tarpein II Dam||14||Tarpein River||168|
|Nam Myaw Dam||16||4|
|Shweli II Dam||17||Shweli River||460|
|Shweli III Dam||18||Shweli River||360|
|Mepan (Meipan) Dam||22||1.26|
|Kunhein (Kunheng) Dam||23||0.15|
|Kyaing Ton (Kengtung) Dam||24||0.48|
|TaSang Dam||26||Salween River||7110|
|Kyeeon Kyeewa Dam||39||75|
|Paung Laung Dam||44||280|
|Thaukyegat I Dam||45||150||Kayin State|
|Thaukyegat II Dam||46||120||Kayin State|
|Kyauk Naga Dam||51||75|
|Hat Gyi Dam||52||Salween River||1200|
|Dagwin dam||53||Salween River||792|
|Mobye Dam||57||Balu Chaung River||168|
|Datawcha Dam||58||Balu Chaung River||28|
|Tha Htay Chaung||59||111||Thandwe Township|
|Ann Chaung||60||Ann River||10||Ann Township|
|Sai Din Dam||61||Sai Din Waterfall||76.5||2014 est.||Buthidaung|
|Laymro Dam||62||Laymro River||500|
|Shwesayay Dam||63||Chindwin River||600|
|Nam Kok||68||42,100 to 150|
|Chaungmagyi Dam||1||3,000 acres (12 km2)|
|Ngalaik Dam||3||irrigation &
In addition there were at least 10 major irrigation dams completed during the period between 1962 and 1988.
- Mon Youth Progressive Organization. 2007. In the Balance: Salween Dams Threaten Downstream Communities in Burma; Shan Sapawa. 2006. Warning Signs:An Update on Plans to Dam the Salween in Burma’s Shan State; Karen Rivers Watch. 2004. Damming at Gunpoint:Burma Atrocities Pave the Way for Salween Dams in Karen State; & Salween Watch, Southeast Asia Rivers Network & Center for Social Development Studies at Chulalongkorn University. 2004. The Salween Under Threat:Damming the Longest Free River in Southeast Asia. All available at  25 ‘缅甸萨尔温江战略合作框架协议签署 (Salween River Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement Signed).’ 金融界, 28 April 2008. 26 ‘激战瑞丽江——水电十四局瑞丽江电站截流施工纪实 (Shweli River Fierce Battle-Shweli Dam 14th Bureau Damming Construction).’ Sinohydro Website, 26 February 2007.  For photographs of construction at the Shweli I Dam site see ‘瑞丽江项目部图库 (Shweli River Project Bureau Photographs).’ Sinohydro’s 14th Engineering Bureau Dali Sub-bureau Website, 29 June 2007. 27 ‘中国在缅甸投资的首个水电项目成功截流 (China’s First Hydropower Investment in Burma Successfully Dammed).’ China Electricity Council, 13 December 2006. ; For more information regarding the Shweli Cascade see Palaung Youth Network Group. 2007. Under the Boot. Available in English and Chinese at  Sinohydro’s 14th Bureau Dali Sub-bureau Website
- ‘瑞丽江电站胜利实现截流 (Shweli River Hydropower Station Triumphantly Blocks Water).’ Sinohydro’s 14th Engineering Bureau Dali Sub-bureau Website, 11 December 2006.  29 ‘Myanmar Installs More Transmission Lines for New Power Plant.’ Xinhua General News Service, 5 July 2007; ‘About Huyong.’ Ningbo Huyong Electric Power Material Co. Website. [Thanks toCourier Research Associates for providing this link.] ; & ‘缅甸瑞丽江一级电站工程总承建包合同在昆签字 (ContractsSigned in Kunming for Shweli I Dam).’ Sinohydro’s 14th Engineering Bureau Website, 5 July 2007. 30 For more information, see Kachin Development Network Group. 2007. Damming the Irrawaddy. Available at 
- CHINA IN BURMA: THE INCREASING INVESTMENT OF CHINESE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS IN BURMA’S HYDROPOWER, OIL AND NATURAL GAS, AND MINING SECTORS BURMA’S HYDROPOWER, OIL AND NATURAL GAS, AND MINING SECTORS UPDATED: September 2008
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- Nyauggyat (Kinda) Dam Multipurpose Project ]
- Chinese Dam Incurs KIO Wrath
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- Map of Dams in Burma
- Dams in Burma - Interactive map
- Photo Gallery of Dams from 1961 to 2004
- historical background of the Ministry of Electric Power
- Myanmar Future Projects 1. HYDRO
- Completed and On-Going Projects - Hydropower