Disasters

Drought

Are China’s dams responsible for droughts along Mekong River?

Chinese dams aren’t the problem causing droughts for downstream nations along the Mekong River – they are part of the solution – says a Chinese study released in July. The study is an attempt to pour water on claims by a rival US-backed investigation that blamed dams ...

Maria Siow

Laos Builds Road and Workers’ Camp for Luangprabang Dam Ahead of Formal Approval

A Thai dam developer has begun clearing land for a large-scale Mekong River dam near the ancient Lao capital Luang Prabang before signing a hydropower sale pact required for approval, raising concerns from downstream communities already hit hard by Laos’ aggressive damming of the vital ...

RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

The struggle for the soul of the Mekong River

In June of this year, the FAO’s annual State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report ranked the Mekong Basin as the world’s most productive freshwater fishery, accounting for over 15% of global annual freshwater fish catch. Meanwhile, WWF Researchers estimate that the contribution actually accounts ...

BRIAN EYLER, ALAN BASIST, COURTNEY WEATHERBY AND CLAUDE WILLIAMS

Drought, Dams on Mekong River Drop Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake to Record Low Levels

Climate change, drought, and upstream dams have led to record low water levels on the Mekong River, according to experts, who say the shortage is significantly harming Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding fishing communities who rely on it to earn a living. The water ...

Reported and translated by Sovannarith Keo. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

All eyes on Chinese dams as Mekong countries count down to the monsoon

Researchers are worried that Chinese dams will hold back much of the water in the Mekong River this year, similar to last year’s erratic flow after the monsoon which exacerbated the drought in the Northeast of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. China’s dams have recently contributed ...

Mekong is at historical lows

The Mekong is once again at historical lows. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) gauge at Phnom Penh Port shows river level to be four metres below average for this time of year – and lower than last year’s record. This gauge is measuring river level on ...

Mark Hughes

Water wars: Mekong River another front in U.S.-China rivalry

The Mekong River has become a new front in U.S.-China rivalry, environmentalists and officials say, with Beijing overtaking Washington in both spending and influence over downstream countries at the mercy of its control of the river’s waters. It’s a confrontation in which the Trump administration – ...

Kay Johnson, Panu Wongcha-um

Fishermen without fish as Cambodia's river reversal runs late

Crucial water flows to the Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest lake, have been delayed for a second consecutive year according to river experts, severely disrupting fishing and threatening the food supply of more than a million people. The river reversal vital for Tonle Sap Lake may ...

Prak Chan Thul; Writing by Panu Wongcha-um and Martin Petty, editing by Ed Osmond

River dams in China helped alleviate drought along Lancang-Mekong, research finds

China was one of the countries that suffered the most from a severe drought along the Lancang-Mekong River in 2019, hydrology researchers found, in contrast with allegations by some foreign researchers which blamed China for the drought in countries on lower reaches of the river. As ...

Hu Yuwei

Gov’t Statistics Show Mekong Water Levels Are Precariously Low

Government data released on July 17 showed water levels in the Mekong River are lower than at this time last year, on account of poor rainfall along the mainstream in Cambodia, with others pointing to hydropower dams in China and Laos. The Ministry of Water Resources ...

Sun Narin

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