Thai Villagers Feel Effects of Mekong River Dams


The Mekong River is Southeast Asia’s longest, passing through China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

But dams have changed the path of the river system. Now there are droughts during the rainy season and high water when it should be dry. That has affected the lives of people, including those in northeastern Thailand where locals depend on the river for food and work.

Recently, Rodjana Thepwong searched for flecks of gold on the edge of the Mekong River in the northeastern part of Thailand. She said the waterway has been her playground, food supply and way to earn a living for all of her 64 years.

But it is changing at a speed she can hardly believe. When she was younger, the water was so low during dry season that she could walk to the Lao side a few hundred meters away. Now, she said, the water rises in the dry season so she stays on the Thai side and searches for very small amounts of gold.

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