Dam reservoir releases could raise Mekong River water levels

Mekong River levels are expected to rise as hydropower dams in the Upper Basin begin releasing water from upstream reservoirs. These dry season releases will affect the river’s natural flow, experts said, altering livelihoods across the basin.

Regional specialists tracking the ebb and flow of the Mekong addressed the expected social and ecological impacts on the Lower Basin during a 15 February online discussion titled, “Where’s the Water: Mekong Dry Season 2022.” Experts at the event hosted by the Stimson Center, a U.S. think tank, also proposed solutions for improving river management.

The Mekong River flows through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The tropical river system is influenced by a monsoonal climate with a dry and wet season. The seasonal change in water flow and level is referred to as a ‘flood pulse.’

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