Mekong ‘dammed’ by uncertainty

Last week, it was reported that Chinese authorities notified the Mekong River Commission (MRC) that Jinghong Dam in Yunnan province will reduce its rate of water discharge by half from the beginning of the month until late January. For communities living along the Mekong, unusual water fluctuations in the Mekong River are not new. This has been happening for more than a decade.

Before the construction of the Lancang cascade, of which 11 dams are already online in China, there had been no extreme water fluctuations in the Mekong River. For many millions of years, the Mekong water levels rose and receded in accordance with the cycle of the seasons. We used to have dry and rainy seasons.

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