Mekong Under Great Threat

Water levels in Southeast Asia’s largest river may be at its lowest in a century.

Low rainfall, high temperatures and poor dam regulations are contributing to a historic low at the Mekong, affecting lives, the region’s agriculture and fishing industries and leading to rapidly drying taps.

Chinese dams control the flow of the 4,350-kilometre (km) river which originates in the Tibetan highlands before travelling across Myanmar, Lao, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. International Rivers, an environmental advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO), notes that there are seven dams along the Mekong river in China as of 2019 – with 20 more planned or under construction. These dams have affected water levels over the past decade.

Last year, the tide of the river dropped to record lows, killing fish and threatening millions of livelihoods. Due to reduced water levels, several ASEAN member states such as Lao, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia have ferociously battled severe drought.

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The ASEAN Post Team