Dams and droughts, data and diplomacy in the Mekong

As the Mekong Region faces more intense floods and droughts every year, data sharing and water diplomacy are emerging as new narratives for transboundary water governance.

“This year, every country in the Lancang-Mekong Region is facing severe floods. But our challenge is now compounded by Covid-19. It is difficult to help flood-affected communities when we also have to keep social distancing,” said Dr. Seree Supratid, Director, Climate Change and Disaster Centre, Rangsit University, Thailand speaking at a forum on research and policy in the Mekong Region held recently.

A study released in October 2021 by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) confirmed that floods have become more frequent along the [Mekong] River: “In the last three years, about 62% of sample villages experienced losses and damages from flooding. Thailand had the highest portion (80%) while Viet Nam had the lowest (42%). Twenty-five per cent of villages observed that the impacts of flooding became much worse, and 25% of villages reported these impacts were worse in the last 12 months than in previous years.”

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Rajesh Daniel