CHIANG RAI – Mekong River water levels caused by intermittent rain, as well as China’s decision to decrease the daily amount of water released from one of its dams by 400 million cubic meters have made travelling by boat difficult due to water levels reaching a critical low.
More than 20 large cargo ships have been stranded in the river for nearly a week, roughly 120 kilometers north of Chiang Rai province due to extremely low water levels.
Mekong Cargo ships require a minimum depth of 1.80 meters to navigate through the Mekong River. No ships have been traveling along the river, which is currently only 1.10 meters deep.
Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce Vice President Pakaimas Vierra said that more than 300 ships rely on the river to deliver goods between Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Southern China.
She revealed that smaller ships from Laos were forced to lower cargo loads by 50% to make it through the river. The revenue loss is estimated at 10 million baht per day. However, China is expected to release more water into the Mekong River soon, in order to resolve the issue.