China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam have all been urged to take steps to address regional low flows, water fluctuations and drought as the Lower Mekong River experiences record low flows for the third consecutive year.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat has said that proactive cooperation is essential from all the MRC Member Countries to jointly address the issues experienced over the last three years – which has seen flows in the Mekong mainstream drop to their lowest levels in more than 60 years, with 2020 being the LMB’s driest year when rainfall was below normal levels in every month except October.
The MRC has recently released a report – ‘Mekong Low Flow and Drought Conditions in 2019–2021’ – which notes that since 2015 the hydrological regime has changed, with more dry season flow and reduced wet season flow caused by increased storage reservoir in the basin. This has resulted in both positive and adverse consequences. However, the 2019–2021 period was exceptional due to highly reduced rainfall and worsening climate conditions.