Forget the South China Sea, this is Asia’s real water war

While tensions in the South China Sea have the potential for limited skirmishes far out to sea, the competition over the resources of the Mekong River is putting millions at risk of natural disasters, famine and regional instability. The Mekong River provides a vital lifeline for millions of people in half a dozen countries, from China to Vietnam. The Mekong is one of the world’s most productive inland fisheries, with an annual catch of some 2.6 million tonnes, valued at between $3.9 – 7 billion. 71% of rural Laotian households rely on subsistence fishing on the Mekong, and 1.2 million Cambodians are almost entirely dependent on Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake that connects to the mighty river.

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