Dramatic drop in Mekong water level sparks alarm

The Nation Thailand –

Mekong River water levels that fell dramatically on Thursday under impact from dam operations will soon recover, says the national water management agency.

Somkiat Prajumwong, secretary-general at the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR), offered the reassurance despite warnings from experts that the dams are destroying Mekong ecosystems and doing long-lasting harm to millions of people who depend on the river.

Over this week, Mekong River levels on the Laos-Thailand border in the Northeast fell at an alarming rate after China’s Jinghong Dam reduced its discharge and Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos began trial operations.

Somkiat admitted that Thai authorities had no measures to mitigate the rapid change in water level but said the river would return to normal quickly, as Jinghong Dam had already resumed its regular discharge rate and the Xayaburi Dam trial would conclude soon.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) said that China had halved the discharge rate from Jinhong Dam for powerline maintenance between July 5 and 17, while a 72-hour test on Xayaburi Dam’s fifth power turbine would end on Friday.

“I urge people to wait a bit longer since the water level in the Mekong River will get back to normal within a few days,” Somkiat said.

Read more