In the first months of 2016, when the north saw record spells of cold, the central and southern regions suffered a historic drought and saline intrusion caused by El Nino.
Kaeng Khut Khu is a village in Loei province, Thailand. This village is located along the Mekong river and fishing is the main income of local people. But in recent years, it’s very difficult for local people go to fishing as the water levels go up and down constantly. Besides, the fish are very small now. There aren’t as many big fish as in the past.
In addition it is known that this village is also attractive for camping along the Mekong River. But now no tourists want to go there for camping as the water levels of the river could increase suddenly and cause flooding and impacts to tourism development. So now the local people of this village cannot get income from fishing and tourism. They have to find another job such as worker or seller.
One week ago, China doubled the quantity of water released from the Jinghong Dam along the Mekong River in Yunnan province. This came two days following Vietnamese officials meeting in Beijing to request the increase due to severe drought conditions and low flows in the Mekong Delta. But at a press conference in Bangkok yesterday, representatives of Thai civil society and communities denounced the action as destructive and insincere.
“No one doubts that people in the Vietnamese Delta may be suffering from salt water intrusion due to low Mekong flows this dry season,” said Montree Chantawong from Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), “But these additional dam releases can’t really help them, yet are hurting many of us.”