Urgent responses to climate change in the Mekong river are required

With rapid economic development, exponential population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation, and increased agricultural production in the region, the demand for water and river-based resources has dramatically increased, which gives rise to environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and struggles among diverse groups of resource users including local people, development agencies, conservation organisations, and private sectors, and between upstream and downstream nations.

The situation is exacerbated by the effects of climate change including drought, flood, and sea level rise. Starting with drought, both 2019 and 2020, water level in the Mekong River experienced severe drought at records low. According to the Mekong River Commission’s Situation Report 2020, the first seven months of 2020, rainfall level was at 334 mm, which is twice lower than the average level at 731mm between 2008-2017.

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Keo Piseth