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  • China’s Mekong dam release ‘nothing special’

    03/23/2016

    Local activists have accused China of using the Mekong River’s water resources to increase its political power in the region.

    The accusation came Tuesday as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha left Thailand for China for the opening day of the first Mekong-Lancang Cooperation meeting being held in Sanya, Hainan province, until tomorrow.

    Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China will discuss cooperation under the theme “Shared River, Shared Future”.

    Earlier, China announced on March 10 it had released water from Jinghong dam in Yunnan, with further releases planned until April 10, to help ease the drought in Thailand and other countries in the sub-region.

  • China agrees to share data on its dams

    03/22/2016

    China has agreed to share information on the management of dams in the Mekong River, known as Lancang in China, with other countries connected to the river, says Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment spokesman Suphot Tovichakchaikul.

    The move aims to reduce the impact of these dams on millions of people who reside around the lower part of the Mekong River, he added.

  • Mekong Drought Worsens Amid Doubts Over Lao Promises

    03/22/2016

    Drought in Southeast Asia is raising concerns in the Cambodian and Vietnamese countryside where salinity levels are rising in the Mekong River and people are skeptical about fresh promises from Laos that it will respect the rights of downstream countries in dam construction.

    The reassurances from Vientiane were delivered by Bounhang Vorachith, who was recently named secretary-general of the Laos Communist Party, sparking hopes he might show a more conciliatory approach to negotiations with countries who share use of the Mekong River.

    “Laos will make an effort to ensure that there will be no impact,” Bounhang recently told the Cambodia government in regards to Vientaine’s plans to build 11 dams along the Mekong River and their impact on neighboring countries.

  • China’s alarming ‘water diplomacy’ on the Mekong

    03/22/2016

    At first glance, it looks beneficent. As countries along the Lower Mekong river that snakes through mainland Southeast Asia struggled in the grip of a severe drought, China announced it would release water from its upstream Jinghong dam over nearly a month from March 15. The announcement was partly intended as a goodwill gesture one week ahead of the inaugural Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit of leaders of the six Mekong region countries.

    But while the water release will spell some immediate relief for the drought-stricken region, it portends future geopolitical tensions between China and its southern Mekong neighbors. Having unilaterally accumulated political power by exploiting geography and manipulating natural waterways through the construction of a slew of upriver dams, China appears intent to set the regional water management rules as it deems fit.

    The Mekong, which the Chinese refer to as Lancang, is Asia’s seventh-longest river and provides livelihoods and habitats for riverfront communities and natural wildlife throughout its meandering flow from China and Myanmar to Laos and Thailand, down to Cambodia and Vietnam before it reaches the sea. China’s damming of the upper Mekong has long been considered a geopolitical risk for the lower riparian states and a source of potential conflict for the entire Greater Mekong Subregion — encompassing Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. That risk has manifested itself in an inchoate fashion through the annual dry seasons, when about 60 million people in fishing villages and communities along the Mekong are severely affected. But any protest has been silenced by geopolitical realities.

  • China releasing water to drought-stricken Mekong River countries

    03/16/2016

    China will discharge water from a dam to the lower reaches of the Mekong River to alleviate drought in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

    “We will release emergency water supply from Jinghong Hydropower Station from May 15 till April 10,” the ministry’s spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing.

    Vietnam has asked China to discharge more water from the hydropower station in southwest China’s Yunnan Province to help overcome drought on the Mekong Delta.

    Mekong River originates in China and runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is known as Lancang in the Chinese stretch.

    China and the five countries along the Mekong are friendly neighbors and assistance like this is natural, Lu said.

  • More Families Take Deals to Vacate Dam Site

    03/09/2016

    Another 73 families in Stung Treng province have accepted the government’s offer of new land in exchange for the farms they will lose to the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam currently under construction, the second group to take the deal.

    Seventy families accepted the land swap in May to make way for the 400-megawatt dam being built in a joint venture between the Royal Group and China’s Hydrolancang International Energy across the Sesan and Srepok rivers, both tributaries of the Mekong.

  • Hydropower dams cause VND5,194,153m in damages to Mekong Delta

    03/07/2016

    Mainstream hydropower projects on the Mekong River caused a loss of VND5,200 billion (USVND5,194,153 million) in seafood and agriculture output to the Mekong Delta, said former Deputy Chairman of National Committee of Science and Technology, Nguyen Ngoc Tran.

    The announcement came at a conference on the impact of mainstream hydropower projects on the Mekong River held by Can Tho University’s Research Institute for Climate Change yesterday.

    The construction of eleven mainstream hydropower dams caused landslides, ecological imbalance as well adversely impacting local farmers and fishermen in the lower Mekong River region, said Tran.

  • Dam Building on Lower Mekong Accelerating, Threatening Path of Destruction

    03/06/2016

    This week the hydro-power industry gathered in Vientiane, Laos to attend the International Conference and Exhibition on Water Resources and Hydro-power Development in Asia.

    The conference comes at a time when the pace of dam building on the lower Mekong River mainstream appears to be accelerating at a dangerous speed, and it threatens to leave a path of destruction in its wake.

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