China hydropower having major impact along Mekong River: study

Hydropower facilities along the upper reaches of the Lancang, which becomes the Mekong River as it flows out of China, have led to major river-flow changes affecting Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, according to a study from Finland’s Aalto University. The study found river-flow changes affecting riverside communities’ ecology, livelihood and food security in those countries. It found that since 2011, hydropower facilities on the China part of the river have contributed to major increases in dry season flows and decreased flows during the wet season, when annual flooding helps ecosystems in the Mekong, a river basin system that sustains one of the world’s largest inland fisheries. The biggest seasonal flow impacts came in 2014, after the construction of the Nuozhadu Dam. It is the largest hydropower facility in the Mekong River basin, with changes to flows detected up to 1,200 miles south in Cambodia.

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