(KPL) Farmers in two villages of Hinboun district, Khammuan province, have taken control of a new irrigation system built by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC).
Nateuy and Nongdong villages now each have 300 metres of upgraded irrigation facilities, servicing a combined area of 60 ha of agricultural land.
In each village system there are ten gates to control flow of water according to seasonal needs, with the water provided by electric pumps from the Hinboun River.
The new brick canal system replaces a previous hand-dug trench and the new pumps replace an old diesel model.
THPC has funded all the upgrades, and also installed transmission lines and transformers for the irrigation scheme.
Villagers from both Nateuy and Nongdong joined in the planning of the systems and helped with construction.
Both villages have comparatively low incomes for the area and rely on dry-season rice for much of their food and income.
The Hinboun River floods their fields regularly in the wet season, with the flooding becoming more intense since THPC operations began in 1998.
To compensate for this the hydropower company has funded the fuel needed for the irrigation system for many years, and has also provided the villagers with domestic electricity connections, plus assistance for cash crops such as rubber trees.
The THPC Deputy General Manager, Soulideth Baomanikhoth, officially handed over ownership of the irrigation systems to the villagers and district authorities on Dec 6 and said the company will guarantee maintenance and any repairsrequired for the next three years.
THPC will also cover the cost of the electricity needed for the irrigation pump over that time.
According to Mr Soulideth, the irrigation systems cost over US$338,000. THPC is also building a new water supply system in the villages, with many households already benefitting from the bore wells provided.
THPC operates the Theun-Hinboun and Nam Gnouang Powerhouses in Khammouane and Bolikhamxay provinces, with a combined capacity of 520 megawatts. THPC is the only independent power producer that is majority Lao-owned and 99% of its staff are Lao nationals. The company’s business covers not only power production, but also innovative and wide-ranging social and environmental programs across five districts in two provinces. THPC has contributed over US$608 million to the state since beginning operations in 1998.
Source: Lao News Agency