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Three Reason Cited for Record Low Levels of the Mekong River

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BANGKOK – Three reasons are being cited for record low water levels and the drying up of the Mekong River in Northern and Northeastern Thailand.

Less rainfall, a reduction of water released from the Jinhong dam and the trial run of the Xayaburi dam in Laos

These 3 reason are being blamed for the sharp fall of water levels on the Mekong River in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Ms. Pianporn Deetes, Thailand’s campaign director for International Rivers,said on Facebook Saturday that it is about time that the governments of lower Mekong effectively controlled the exploitation of the Mekong river.

 

She told ThaiPBS that the Jinhong dam, in China which is only about 340 km from Chiang Rai, where Myanmar and Laos meet, has lately reduced the amount of water released to just 500 cubic metres per second.

Meanwhile, officials at the Xayaburi dam in Laos are storing up water for the planned trial run of seven power generators before the actual launch of electricity generation scheduled in October.

She said that the sharp drop of water levels in the Mekong River, appearance of sandbars and rapids, the death of many fish on sandbars and non-operational water pumping stations are “just the beginning.”

This is what can be expected in the months ahead when the Xayaburi hydro-electric dam is in full operational mode.

“This will continue for the next 29 years according to the electricity purchase deal under the PPA program,” said Ms. Pianporn.

She discussed the issue with Mr. Harnarong Yaowalers, an advisor to the people’s network of eight Thai provinces bordering the Mekong River.

He suggested that Laos should postpone its generator tests until there is enough water.

Damming the Mekong

She added that the Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT), a party in the power deal with Laos, should have realized the potential impact on the Mekong River.

There is enough power already being generated for Thailand’s use.

They need to stop trials because of the water situation and the hardships inflicted upon the people, who rely upon the Mekong river.

“Today, there are only two dams and we are already suffering badly.

28 dams more dams are in the pipeline in China and another 11 in Laos.

We cannot deny the need for cross-border environment impacts assessment (EIA) studies,” said Ms. Pianporn.