HONOLULU (29 July 2020)—In recent years, relations with Southeast Asia have emerged as an important pillar of US engagement with the Indo-Pacific region. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is central to US foreign policy in the region, with a growing focus on the five countries bound together by the Mekong River—Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
As they emerge from a tumultuous history, these countries must confront new elements of great-power competition even as their youthful populations push for economic growth and integration into the wider region and the world. Among other impacts, urbanization, infrastructure expansion, and climate change all affect the Mekong River, the natural resources along its banks, and the 240 million people who live in the region.
BANGKOK: Laos is pushing ahead with a hydropower project on the Mekong River, despite reservations aired by neighbouring countries over its potential to harm fisheries and farming downstream, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said on Wednesday (Jul 10.
Overcoming threats to the Mekong’s forests and people was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of RECOFTC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
RECOFTC’s work is made possible with the continuous support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
For three decades, China has been building dams on the upper Basin of the Mekong River, worrying countries downstream that China could one day turn off the tap. New data shows that for six months in 2019, while China received above average precipitation, its dams held back more water than ever — even as downstream countries suffered through an unprecedented drought. These new findings confirm what many had long suspected: China is impounding much more water than it ever has before and is causing erratic and devastating changes in water levels down stream. Tiếp tục đọc “New Evidence: How China Turned Off the Tap on the Mekong River”→
The Eyes on Earth report, Monitoring the Quantity of Water Flowing Through the Upper Mekong Through Natural (Unimpeded) Conditions, published this week by Pact, shows that deviations from normal flow patterns began to occur with the operation of the first large hydropower dam on the Upper Mekong mainstream in 2012. Using satellite data on the Upper Mekong from 1992 to 2019, matched against daily measurements of river height downstream at Chiang Saen, Thailand, the research shows unusual fluctuations in recent years. The report concludes that cooperation between China and the Lower Mekong countries to simulate the natural flow cycle of the Mekong could potentially improve low-flow conditions and benefit all communities in the Mekong River Basin.
Southeast Asia’s most critical river is entering uncharted waters Stefan Lovren – Bình Yên Đông lược dịch
National Geographic – January 31, 2020
Dòng sông nầy đã nuôi dưỡng nhiều nền văn minh hàng ngàn năm. Ngày nay, nó đang khô cạn, bị tấn công bởi việc xây đập, đánh bắt bừa bãi, và khai thác cát.
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – Nhiều tháng trước, một con cá heo Irrawaddy hiếm hoi bị vướng vào lưới và mất phương hướng ở rất xa nơi cư trú thông thường ở đông bắc Cambodia trên sông Mekong đang vùng vẫy ở Đông Nam Á (ĐNA). Các nhà bảo tồn đang tranh đua để đưa ra một kế hoạch giúp cho loài cá sắp tuyệt chủng trước khi quá trễ, nhưng thời gian không còn bao lâu. Tiếp tục đọc “Con sông quan trọng nhất Đông Nam Á đang đi vào vùng nước lạ”→
A satellite image on January 3, 2020, shows Xayaburi Dam sitting astride the Mekong River, which has turned blue due to drought and other factors reducing sediment, near the town of Xayaboury, Laos. Photo by Reuters.
Hydropower dams on the Mekong River are expected to reduce Vietnam’s GDP by 0.3 percentage points due to their impact on fisheries and agriculture.
Even if China releases water from its hydropower dams on the Mekong River, it might not reach the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, experts warn.
A farmer in Long Phu District in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang holds rice plants that have all died because of drought, January 22, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huy Phong.
Releasing water is a task China has to do periodically as its dams cannot keep holding back water, and given the increasing level of ice melt that raises sea level, it is a must for China to save its land from salt intrusion, Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Climate Change Institute at Can Tho University, said.
BVR&MT – Tbong ngồi trong bóng râm của căn chòi tạm bợ trên bờ hồ Tonlé Sap, quanh anh là mấy đứa trẻ tò mò.
“Cá quả, cá trê, cá tai tượng… Trước đây, cách đây rất lâu, hồ có rất nhiều cá”, anh vừa nói vừa nheo mắt vì nắng.
Nhưng mọi thứ thay đổi chóng vánh. Các loài cá suy giảm, thực vật đang chết dần và toàn bộ hệ thống sông Mê Công tan rã. Đối với những đứa trẻ tụ tập quanh Tbong, một Tonlé Sap trù phú chỉ còn trong chuyện kể.
Nằm ở trung tâm lưu vực hạ nguồn sông Mê Công, Tonlé Sap là hồ nước ngọt lớn nhất Đông Nam Á. Hồ và vùng ngập lũ xung quanh được UNESCO công nhận là khu dự trữ sinh quyển vào năm 1997, là nơi sinh sản, cung cấp nguồn thức ăn và là nơi thu hoạch hàng trăm loài cá và các sản phẩm thủy sản khác. Tiếp tục đọc “Mê Kông cạn cá”→
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Water levels on the Mekong River, which flows through China and five other countries before emptying into the South China Sea, have dropped once again after Beijing revealed it was testing equipment at one of its 11 dams in the upper reaches of the vital waterway.
A worker repairs electricity cables in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
State power utility EVN will buy around 1.5 billion kWh of electricity a year from Laos for two years starting in 2021.
Under contracts it signed on Saturday, Vietnam Electricity (EVN) will buy over 596 million kWh a year from two hydropower plants belonging to Phongsubthavy Group and 632 million kWh from two plants belonging to Chealun Sekong Group from 2022.
A farmer in a paddy field hit by drought in the Mekong Delta’s province of Soc Trang, June 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is bracing severe drought and salinity in the coming months, and local authorities have been told to take every step possible to mitigate the damage.
For this dry season, which has already started in southern Vietnam and normally lasts until late April, drought conditions are likely to be more severe, resulting in more salinity in the delta, which spreads over 40,577 square kilometers (15,670 square miles).
The nation’s most fertile region for long, the Mekong Delta has been called the Vietnam’s rice granary. It is also the nation’s aquaculture hub.
New research shows that the increasing vulnerability of the Mekong delta to floods, salt intrusion and erosion is caused by insufficient sediment in the river not climate-induced rise in sea levels.
Published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the findings of the Rise and Fall Project at Utrecht University are clear: the growing threat to the Mekong Delta – and the communities, cities, rice fields and biodiversity that depend on it – posed by higher tides and salt intrusion is almost entirely due to the loss of river sediment because of upstream dams and sand mining in the delta.
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Đi dọc dòng Mekong từ thượng nguồn đến hạ nguồn, do Đài Truyền Hình TP Hồ Chí Minh thực hiện.