Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Breaking news from Cambodia can be found here. CEO often finds Khmer news and translates it into English for our readers if it is interesting to expats, locals, Cambodians living abroad and anyone who wants to stay informed of the latest local and international news stories about Cambodia and our neighbors in South East Asia. There are many sources for Khmer news articles and they can all be found here in one place. Most of the media comes out of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville, but we cover national Cambodian news from all provinces.
Adam Xie
Expatriate
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:48 am
Reputation: 40
Cambodia

Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by Adam Xie » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:02 am

RFA

The Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, is often described as “the heart of the Mekong.”
But seasonal floods have not yet raised the level of the lake to its normal monsoon-season size, Brian Eyler said in response to an email query.
The Tonle Sap would normally increase its level by four times during the monsoon season.

https://www.rfa.org/english/commentarie ... 55403.html

Sad...just sad
DaveG
Expatriate
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 2:45 am
Reputation: 582
Cambodia

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by DaveG » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:01 pm

Fuckin hell, give it a chance, it's only just started raining properly here. :stir:
User avatar
Kammekor
Expatriate
Posts: 2586
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:50 pm
Reputation: 930
Cambodia

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by Kammekor » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:20 am

Last year flooding all around the country. This year not so many (yet). That’s called weather (as opposed to climate).
User avatar
frank lee bent
Expatriate
Posts: 11330
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:10 am
Reputation: 2085
United States of America

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by frank lee bent » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:21 am

Not only Mekong
https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-inter ... its-region

Recent reports of a rapid diminishment in the size of the glaciers that feed the great rivers of Asia, including the Mekong, have received wide coverage, not least because they are accompanied by striking visuals.

What is happening at the other end of the river in the Mekong Delta has garnered much less attention. But it may well be that the river’s vast and productive delta will be where the more immediate effects of changes to the Mekong will first become apparent. And for a country such as Vietnam, the Mekong Delta provides in excess of 50% of its agricultural GDP.


I was alerted to the latest information in a disturbing VOA report from earlier this year with its suggestion that the delta could disappear entirely by the end of the century. The report is largely based on research carried out at Utrecht University in the Netherlands which draws attention to the rapid subsidence and reduction in the size of the delta’s land area due to excessive pumping out of underlying water reserves. This is a process of great concern when the prospect of rising sea levels due to climate change is likely to accelerate the steady increase in saltwater intrusion that has been occurring for decades. (A particularly useful summary of the issue is published here.)

And the VOA account also draws attention to a point that has been of concern for close observers of the Mekong for some time: the blocking effect on the flow of sediment down the river as the result of the cascade of dams built by China on the river’s upper reaches.

To date seven 11 dams* have been built with more in prospect. There is universal agreement on the vital role played by the sediment flow down the river, but nowhere is it more important than in the Mekong Delta. The sediment contains critical nutrients that are spread of agricultural land during flood seasons as well as replacing loss of topsoil in those floods.

While there is some variation in the estimates of the size of the sediment flow down the Mekong before any dams were built, there is agreement that without any impediment the bulk of the sediment that flowed down the river originated in China. Estimates of the Chinese content of this flow has never been less than 80% of the total. Yet China in building its dams made no provision for the flushing of sediment from the dams’ reservoirs. Indeed, to the contrary, one of the factors behind the construction of its huge dam at Xiaowan was to the restrict the flow of sediment into the first two dams it completed at Manwan and Dachaoshan.

The gravity of the situation presented by the Utrecht research is highlighted by the observation of a senior Vietnamese official lamenting the already clear reduction in the delta’s surface area cited in the VOA report. Long known as the region of the Nine Dragons (“cuu long”) as a reflection of the nine mouths of the Mekong as it flows into the South China Sea, Bui Chi Buu, Director-General of the Institute for Agricultural Science for Southern Vietnam, speaks of the river’s mouths being reduced to seven while fearing that “in the future maybe we have four or five”.


* Update: in addition to the seven dams regularly cited as completed ­­– Manwan, Dachaosha, Xiaowan, Nuozhadu, Gongguoqi, Jinghon and Miaowei – recent research kindly transmitted to me by Bryan Eyler of the Stimson Center in Washington DC has identified four further dams in operation: Dahuaqiao, Huangdeng, Lidi and Wunonglor, all located on the upper reaches of the river, which is known as the Lancang in China.
User avatar
SternAAlbifrons
Expatriate
Posts: 3051
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:31 am
Reputation: 1804
Location: Gilligan's Island
Pitcairn Island

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by SternAAlbifrons » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:04 am

frank lee bent wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:21 am

.... draws attention to a point that has been of concern for close observers of the Mekong for some time: the blocking effect on the flow of sediment down the river as the result of the cascade of dams built by China on the river’s upper reaches.

There is universal agreement on the vital role played by the sediment flow down the river, but nowhere is it more important than in the Mekong Delta. The sediment contains critical nutrients that are spread of agricultural land during flood seasons as well as replacing loss of topsoil in those floods.

... there is agreement that without any impediment the bulk of the sediment that flowed down the river originated in China. Estimates of the Chinese content of this flow has never been less than 80% of the total. Yet China in building its dams made no provision for the flushing of sediment from the dams’ reservoirs.

The gravity of the situation presented by the Utrecht research is highlighted by the observation of a senior Vietnamese official lamenting the already clear reduction in the delta’s surface area cited in the VOA report. Long known as the region of the Nine Dragons (“cuu long”) as a reflection of the nine mouths of the Mekong as it flows into the South China Sea
Thanks frank, important piece. I just wanted to reinforce it by underlining that key word - sediment sediment sediment.

Apart from the nutrients in the sediment, they are also a crucial element in the very existence of most of cambodia and the most productive part of southern vietnam.
I was really surprised when i recently discovered just how recently the whole 9 Dragons area was formed - purely from the sediment flow.

The Mekong dams are not only going to F*** the whole ecology of the system, they are also going to threaten the very geography that we live on. And soon.

PS, The Koh Kong dams are also having a catastrophic effect on the mangroves and coastline generally. Blocking both the crucial sediment itself - and the nutrients it contains.
The reduction in the coastal catch is going to match the evaporation of the Tonle Sap fishery.
The destruction of 70-80% of cambodia's protein supply has never been factored into any consideration of these dams.
User avatar
ExPenhMan
Expatriate
Posts: 1125
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 7:42 pm
Reputation: 282
Location: Bangkok
Canada

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by ExPenhMan » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:18 pm

I was alerted to the latest information in a disturbing VOA report from earlier this year with its suggestion that the delta could disappear entirely by the end of the century. The report is largely based on research carried out at Utrecht University in the Netherlands which draws attention to the rapid subsidence and reduction in the size of the delta’s land area due to excessive pumping out of underlying water reserves. This is a process of great concern when the prospect of rising sea levels due to climate change is likely to accelerate the steady increase in saltwater intrusion that has been occurring for decades. (A particularly useful summary of the issue is published here.)

I would certainly give strong credence to this report since it's based on Dutch research. They know a thing or two about living in harmony with water resources. Alas, is anyone in power in China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia listening? Not bloody likely. Economic plundering, i.e., money, rules.
User avatar
clutchcargo
Expatriate
Posts: 3814
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:09 pm
Reputation: 2157
Cambodia

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by clutchcargo » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:22 pm

Alas, is anyone in power in China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia listening? Not bloody likely. Economic plundering, i.e., money, rules.

Self interest I suspect too..
User avatar
Duncan
Sir Duncan
Posts: 7768
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:22 pm
Reputation: 2122
Location: Wonder Why Central

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by Duncan » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:39 pm

Can someone please explain to a simpleton like me what happens to the millions of cubic metre's of sediment that would normally flow down the Mekong, and for the next 20 or 30 years will now be settling trapped behind a dam wall .
Cambodia,,,, Don't fall in love with her.
Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
User avatar
CEOCambodiaNews
Expatriate
Posts: 33890
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:13 am
Reputation: 1826
Location: CEO Newsroom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contact:
Cambodia

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:53 pm

Cambodia’s lifeline threatened as Mekong recedes to historic low
Dams, low rainfall and changing climate blamed for decline in river's fortunes amid worries about crucial food supply.
By Al Jazeera -
September 23, 2019

Phnom Penh – As world leaders meet in New York from Monday to discuss the global challenge of climate change, thousands of kilometres away people in Cambodia are grappling with dramatic changes to the country’s ecosystem, including the lowest water levels in the crucially-important Mekong River ever recorded.

The United Nations Development Programme, which partners with the Cambodian government on climate, says the country is among the three most vulnerable areas in Asia.

“[Cambodia] is highly vulnerable due to a relatively low adaptive capacity,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Cambodia’s Resident Representative.

In full: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/ ... 18567.html
Cambodia Expats Online: Bringing you breaking news from Cambodia before you read it anywhere else!

Have a story or an anonymous news tip for CEO? Need advertising? CONTACT US

Cambodia Expats Online is the most popular community in the country. JOIN TODAY

Follow CEO on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Instagram
User avatar
CEOCambodiaNews
Expatriate
Posts: 33890
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:13 am
Reputation: 1826
Location: CEO Newsroom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contact:
Cambodia

Re: Despite Seasonal Floods Now, Experts See Risk of Mekong Drying Up

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:35 am

COVERING CLIMATE NOW: Drought, poor rice harvest signs of climate change in Southeast Asia
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
September 18, 2019
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909180044.html
The Mekong River Commission, which groups the nations of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, said in July that the level of the river was the lowest on record. While flooding is normal for June and July, water levels for the four nations along the Mekong have dropped several meters below the average figure since 1961.

Moreover, rainfall has also been low, with only about 67 percent the monthly average rainfall for the period between 2006 and 2018.
Cambodia Expats Online: Bringing you breaking news from Cambodia before you read it anywhere else!

Have a story or an anonymous news tip for CEO? Need advertising? CONTACT US

Cambodia Expats Online is the most popular community in the country. JOIN TODAY

Follow CEO on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Instagram
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ash333, Bibi, Duncan, explorer, finish_money, JamPhaLuc, lurcio, Majestic-12 [Bot], numacsys, nuzen, rexwell, Ricky Shaw, ron100, SEAdude, SuperStabwound, YeP and 416 guests