The Project Area has been divided into five zones for social programming purposes. A summary of the zones and their villages is available for download.
In Zone 1, which covers the area upstream from Main Dam, eight villages along the banks of the Nam Ngiep will be indirectly affected by the Project. Watershed management policies may affect the use of forest and water resources by people in these communities. However, these same watershed management programs could yield long-term benefits to the villagers by promoting more sustainable agricultural and forest management practices. The villages are:
Zone 2 covers the area affected by the main reservoir and is divided into two sub-zones. The communities in the upper section of the reservoir, Zone 2UR, will only be partly inundated by the reservoir. The communities in the lower section of the reservoir, designated as Zone 2LR, will be completely inundated by the reservoir and so the residents need to be resettled.
Sub-Zone 2UR – Upper Reservoir Area
Three villages alongside the Nam Ngiep will be directly affected. All are part of Thathom District, now in Xaysomboun Province. At the time of a survey in 2007, a fourth village, Ban Nakang, was part of this zone, but it has since moved to Ban Phonhom in Zone 1. The three villages are:
It is expected that ten households in Ban Pou and five households in Hatsamkhone will need to be relocated to a higher elevation because their residential land will be flooded, and about 54% of households will lose some of their productive land to the reservoir and require compensation for their losses. Residents of these communities will also receive livelihoods training and resources and have access to improved social services and infrastructure provided by the Project.
Sub-Zone 2LR – Lower Reservoir Area
This sub-zone covers the lower section of reservoir, where four villages will be completely inundated. All are part of Hom District, now in Xaysomboun. All 384 households (according to the 2011 survey) in these villages will be resettled and compensated for loss of housing, land and other assets. They will gain infrastructure, social services, and economic and social development programs, to ensure that their standard of living is at the same level, if not better, than it was before the project. All households will be brought above the poverty level. The four villages are:
This zone covers the area where the main Project components will be built: the main dam, re-regulating dam, powerhouses, camp site, storage areas, access roads, and re-regulating reservoir. There is one directly affected village in this zone:
Because of construction activities and inundation of the re-regulation reservoir, all 33 households of Hatsaykham will be resettled and compensated for their loss of housing, residential and production land, and other assets. People will also be provided with infrastructure, social services and economic and social development programs to ensure their standard of living is at the same level, if not better, than it was before the project. All households will be brought above the poverty level. The settlement pattern of this village is linear, along the left bank of the Nam Ngiep River.
This zone covers the catchment area of the Nam Ngiep River downstream from the re-regulating dam, except from Ban Hat Gniun and Ban Thahuea, which are host villages and form an extra Zone 5. There are nine villages downstream from the dam, aside from the two host villages:
These three villages lie around 30 km downstream from the main dam site and form part of Bolikhan District, Bolikhamxay Province.
These six villages are in Pakxan District, Bolikhamxay Province and are 30-40 km from the Dam Site. Possible impacts to these villages are from changes of water level, quality and temperature in the Nam Ngiep and possible erosion of the riverbank. Because of mitigation measures included in the project design (i.e. water flow control via the re-regulation dam) and their distance from the dam, any such impacts are expected to be minimal. Even so, these villages will be involved in monitoring of the water quality and flow, as well as in supplemental fisheries programs.
After various stages of consultation and negotiations, the Houay Soup area in Bolikhan District, Bolikhamxay Province, on the opposite bank of the Nam Ngiep from Ban Hat Gniun, was suggested as a resettlement area for the four villages from Zone 2LR. Consequently, the province allocated an area of 6,000 ha right of the Nam Ngiep. The flatter lands along both banks of the Houay Soup stream can be used for approximately 400 ha of irrigated paddy fields and further upland rice fields, grassing areas, cash crops, and commercial tree plantations. Villagers from 2LR expressed concern over soil quality, which the company will address with special soil improvement programs.
Although the people of Hatsaykham had initially agreed to resettle near the main village of Ban Hat Gniun, close to their current site, they reconsidered when the new resettlement site was selected across the Nam Ngiep. The residents of Hatsaykham, who mostly belong to the Hmong ethnic group, also asked to move to the new resettlement area, preferring to be with their fellow Hmong from the villages of Zone 2LR.
As the nearest villages to the resettlement site, Ban Hat Gniun and Ban Thahuea are considered host villages to the resettled communities. They will be connected an access road and people from the resettlement site will pass the host villages on the road towards the provincial capital. Furthermore, the new school building in the resettlement area will be available for students from Hat Gniun. As host communities, Hat Gniun and Thahuea will be provided with improved social services and with livelihood development programs under the Project. As the villages closest downstream from the two dams, water quality near these two villages will also be closely monitored and supplemental fisheries programs provided.