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Mekong River at 'worrying' low level amid calls for more Chinese dam data


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Mekong River at 'worrying' low level amid calls for more Chinese dam data

 

2021-02-12T082542Z_2_LYNXMPEH1B0CL_RTROPTP_4_MEKONG-RIVER-DIPLOMACY.JPG

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Mekong river bordering Thailand and Laos is seen from the Thai side in Nong Khai, Thailand, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Water levels in the Mekong River have fallen to a "worrying level" in part due to outflow restrictions from Chinese hydropower dams upstream, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said on Friday, calling on Beijing to share all of its water data.

 

The vital waterway has turned blue along the Thai-Laos border, from its usual murky brown colour - signaling shallow water and low levels of nutrition-rich sediment - partially from outflow restrictions from the Jinghong dam in China's Yunan province, the inter-governmental MRC said.

 

Friday's statement said low rainfall and dams on the Lower Mekong and tributaries also contributed to the drop in levels.

 

"There have been sudden rises and falls in water levels immediately downstream of Jinghong and further down to Vientiane," said Winai Wongpimool, director of the MRC Secretariat's Technical Support Division.

 

Such fluctuations affect fish migration, agriculture and transportation that nearly 70 million people rely on for their livelihoods and food security.

 

"To help the Lower Mekong countries manage risks more effectively, we call on China and the Lower Mekong countries themselves to share their water release plans with us,” Winai said.

 

The MRC said normal conditions may be restored if large volumes of water are released from Chinese dams' reservoirs.

 

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not reply to requests for comment on Friday, a public holiday.

 

The U.S.-funded Mekong Dam Monitor, which uses satellite data to track water levels, also said it noticed daily fluctuations in water releases from China's Jinghong Dam in February.

 

China last year pledged to share data from it dams with MRC member countries Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

 

In January, Beijing notified neighbours that its dams were filling reservoirs and flow will be restored to "normal operation status" on Jan. 25.

 

Outflow levels at Jinghong Dam were 785 cubic metres per second in early-January before rising to 1,400 cubic metres per second in mid-January, the MRC said.

 

However, levels dropped again in February and were 800 cubic metres per second as of Thursday, the MRC said. The statement did not mention any recent notification from Beijing.

 

(Reporting by Kay Johnson and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Ed Davies)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-12
 
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And what is anybody going to do about it? I'm sure the Chinese have their ways of sorting out countries that object to having their rivers stolen. Perhaps Thailand could make Chinese New Year a permanent holiday to celebrate...

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

Friday's statement said low rainfall and dams on the Lower Mekong and tributaries also contributed to the drop in levels.

 

Finally the truth:

 

1. The mekong is always low this time of year due to the dry season and this is a very dry year

2. Downstream nations such as Laos are robbing the mekong waters with impunity yet people are being led to believe it is all China's fault

 

I totally agree they need water release plans from all countries including, but not limited to China. An impressive report in trying to understand the problem and taking the right actions.

 

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37 minutes ago, PatOngo said:

Do you think they care?

Not in the least. President Xi is the reincarnation of Gengis Kahn who is trying to regain the worlds greatest empire by taking what they can, buying what they can not take, and grabbing what they can by fear, force and intimidation.  

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19 hours ago, Tropicalevo said:

China. The country that keeps on giving taking.

Their idea of sharing is others give and China takes. Alternatively when necessary China just takes regardless. 

 

If China 'gives' anything there is a hook in it with healthy barbs as well. Anything that China will give willingly is something nobody wants, such as a continual stream of exotic viruses. 

 

The world is slowly waking up to such generosity. 

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18 hours ago, ThailandRyan said:

Not in the least. President Xi is the reincarnation of Gengis Kahn who is trying to regain the worlds greatest empire by taking what they can, buying what they can not take, and grabbing what they can by fear, force and intimidation.  

They have had hundreds of years of humiliation at the hands of Western powers in particular the UK and Japan.

 

Make no mistake they will keep going until stopped by force.

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23 hours ago, webfact said:

share all of its water data

Surely that should read "share water"... 

Don't see too many people watering crops with data. 

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