Drought and upstream dams have shrunk the Mekong River to its lowest levels in a century and threaten fish spawning—bad signs for the region’s food supply. … At that time, observers say, the situation was made worse by hydropower dam operators upstream, in China and Laos, withholding water for their own purposes.
What is happening to the Mekong River?
In 2019, a combination of climate change, El Niño and dams on the Mekong resulted in the Tonle Sap river flowing backward for weeks rather than months, leaving the lake’s water warm, shallow and oxygen-starved. That year, fisheries in Tonle Sap were estimated to have declined 80-90%.
Is the Mekong River Drying Up?
Eleven southwest China dams have left much of the Lower Mekong region, with its population of 60 million, dry since 2019, according to data from the Stimson Center in Washington.
When did the Mekong River problem start?
It started when critical monsoon rains failed to arrive as usual in late May. As drought gripped the region, water levels in the Mekong dropped to their lowest in 100 years.
Why did the Mekong River change color?
The color change was first reported in northern Thailand in November 2019, and has since spread along the Lower Mekong. … The Mekong River Commission (MRC) stated that the water change is due to extremely shallow and slow-moving river flows. In turn, fine sediments have dropped out and created clearer water conditions.
Why is the Mekong River important?
The Mekong River connects China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam physically and economically. The river is a lifeline for the entire basin, sustaining economies and livelihoods across the entire region.
Why is the Mekong River important to Cambodia?
The Mekong contributes to Cambodia’s unique river system. In dry season, the Tonle Sap flows into the Mekong where the two rivers meet in Phnom Penh. … This reversal in flow of the Tonle Sap and the related flooding helps support Cambodia’s wildlife, rice farming, and even the stability of the Angkor Temple foundations.
What is the main effect of climate change in the Mekong Delta Vietnam?
Warmer and wetter. Across the Greater Mekong region, temperatures have risen by 0.5 to 1.5 ºC in the past 50 years and continue to rise. More frequent and severe droughts and floods are already causing extensive damage to property and loss of life.
Why is the Mekong River important to Southeast Asia?
From its source in the Tibetan Plateau to its end in Vietnam, the Mekong River is a critical source of drinking water for the millions of people who live in its watershed.
What is a result of the increase in size of the Mekong?
Rises in sea level rise are increasing saltwater intrusion to fragile ecosystems and farmland in the Mekong Delta, a main food production area of the region. … Farmers in the Mekong River Basin produce enough rice to feed 300 million people per year.
How do human activities affect the Mekong River?
Recent studies have shown that the dam construction projects along the Upper Mekong in China in particular have had a major impact on both water and sediment fluxes throughout the Mekong basin. … Other human activities in the delta might also contribute to the sinking and shrinking of the Mekong’s delta.
How can we save Mekong River?
To meet immediate energy demands, we’re promoting sustainable hydropower projects on selected tributaries of the Mekong River, giving priority to those that already have hydropower dams. These would allow the Mekong countries to meet their energy needs while keeping the Mekong River free-flowing.
How does pollution affect the Mekong River?
Organic and chemical pollutants from agriculture are also a problem. In the Mekong River Basin, catches of migratory freshwater fish species decreased by a whopping 78 per cent between 2000 and 2015. Still, between 2018 and 2019, scientists recorded 110 new species in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Why is the Mekong River turning blue?
The Mekong River takes on an aquamarine hue
Due to the low flows, a slow drop in river sediments, and the presence of algae on the river bottom, the Mekong in Thailand’s north-eastern province Nakhon Phanom has recently begun to acquire an aquamarine colour – a phenomenon that occurred once in late 2019.
Why is the Mekong River Blue?
The MRC attributed the aquamarine color in northeastern Thailand, a phenomenon last observed in late 2019, to a drop in sediment and increased presence of algae on the riverbed.
Why is the Mekong River Yellow?
The Mekong usually has a yellowish-brown color that results from the sediment it normally carries. … About 70 million people depend on the Mekong River for water, food, jobs, agriculture and transportation. Critics say several large dam projects along the Mekong are harming the river and its environment.