The Third Pole

Controversial Mekong dam in Laos faces economic and regulatory hurdles

The fishing village of Khoen Khen in southern Laos is a quiet place, nestled along the banks of the Mekong River and hemmed by a ridge of mountains. But tranquil as it may now appear, locals say they’re waiting for a coming wave of construction ...

Andrew Haffner

Opinion: The Mekong Delta is drowning in ‘sand debt’ – it urgently needs a sand budget

any people will be familiar with the dread when your income no longer covers your expenses; when you’ve exhausted your savings and are sinking ever deeper into debt. In the Mekong Delta, a similar downward spiral is happening. But it’s not the delta’s finances that ...

Marc Goichot

Climate change and dams force older residents to leave Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

At 63, Nguyen Thi Ngoc got her first full-time ‘company’ job as a security guard in Ho Chi Minh City. She’d never been to a city before taking the job in early 2021, but the former farmer, originally from the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, ...

Nhung Nguyen

Plastic river: Following the waste that’s choking the Chao Phraya

The Chao Phraya River is born from mountain streams in northern Thailand, flowing hundreds of kilometres south to the sea. By the time the river travels through Bangkok and empties into the Gulf of Thailand, it is carrying huge quantities of plastic waste – an ...

Wanpen Pajai

Opinion: Floodplain wetlands of the Mekong – going, going, gone?

A rapid and irreversible change is taking place in the Lower Mekong basin. Floodplain grasslands and freshwater wetlands are being lost – bustling ecosystems that once supported thriving communities of large mammals and birds. These include the spectacular sarus crane; the greater adjutant, one of ...

Ding Li Yong, Khwankhao Sinhaseni

Lack of data on dam activity mars Mekong governance efforts

Last year, more data was shared about the Mekong than ever before. Yet despite the increased openness enabled by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and various NGOs, the wet season was still marred by low rainfall levels and controversy over retention ...

Tyler Roney

Data exposes flaws in Mekong Delta resilience plans

For generations, Vietnamese communities have used the ample water resources and fertile soil of the Mekong Delta to feed the nation. Fuelled by the Mekong’s constant supply of rich sediment, the fisheries and paddy fields of Vietnam’s southernmost region have long been the bedrock of Vietnam’s ...

Nhin Tan Thuan

New dams on 3S rivers endanger survival of the Mekong

“It’s rare to see the birds these days, they’re gone. They lived off the fish, but most of the fish are gone too,” says Vuth Khat as he tours what used to be his village in the northeastern Cambodian province of Stung Treng and talks ...

Gerald Flynn, Phoung Vantha

Untold impact on northern Thailand’s wildlife from Mekong dams

About a year ago, the Boon Rueang Wetland Forest Conservation Group began a survey of wildlife in the 483-hectare community forest in northern Thailand. “We have recorded some leopards, otters and other animals,” says Songpol Chanruang, chair of the group. Though only around 130 kilometres long, ...

Tyler Roney, Piyaporn Wongruang

Is Cambodia’s thirst for sand putting communities and the Mekong at risk?

Sophea Soung has been farming on Boeung Tompoun, one of the few remaining lakes in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, since 2009. Every day, her family rises with the sun to float through verdant waters on a slender boat and harvest vegetables, which they then transport ...

Marta Kasztelan, Thomas Cristofoletti

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