Mekong group urges better water management collaboration as record drought persists

VNE – By Reuters   January 14, 2022 | 09:57 am GMT+7

Mekong group urges better water management collaboration as record drought persistsA canal runs dry in An Giang Province of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, March 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

The Mekong River Commission on Thursday called on China and Southeast Asian to better coordinate management of Mekong hydropower dams and reservoirs after three years of record low flows and extra dry conditions.

The Mekong River’s flow dropped to the lowest levels in more than six decades from 2019 to 2021 due to an increased number of reservoirs, dams and other water storage, a worsening of the climate situation and unusually low rainfall, a new MRC river flow report showed.

Dry conditions in the past three years have affected navigation, river ecosystems and riverbank stability in the region where tens of millions of people depend on the Mekong for their livelihoods.

The inter-governmental MRC – of which Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are members – recommends governments of those countries improve coordination on the operation of hydropower dams and water storage in the Mekong basin to ease impacts of drought.

“Proactive cooperation is essential, not just from China but from all the MRC member countries, to jointly address these issues,” said An Pich Hatda, MRC Secretariat Chief Executive Officer.

There are at least 13 dams along the 4,350 km (2,700 mile) Mekong River, 11 of which are in China.

The commission last year called for greater data sharing on hydropower operations between China and MRC.

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