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- The Mekong, or Mekong River, is a trans-boundary river in Southeast Asia.
- It is the world’s twelfth longest river and the seventh longest in Asia.
- Its estimated length is 4,350 km (2,703 mi), and it drains an area of 795,000 km2.
- From the Tibetan Plateau the river runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
- The extreme seasonal variations in flow and the presence of rapids and waterfalls in the Mekong make navigation difficult.
- The river is a major trade route between western China and Southeast Asia.
- The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is an inter-governmental organization that works directly with the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to jointly manage the shared water resources and the sustainable development of the Mekong River.
- China is building a dam in Lancang River, upper half of Mekong River.
- A new study highlighting the impact of China’s dams on the Mekong River been released recently
- It was published by the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership in Bangkok and the Lower Mekong Initiative, which is a U.S. partnership with all the downstream countries besides Myanmar.
- The study was funded by the U.S. government.
- According to the report China’s southwestern Yunnan province had above-average rainfall from May to October 2019, there was “severe lack of water in the lower Mekong”, and the study found based on satellite data from 1992 to 2019.
- China has maintained that the dams it is building on the river, known as the Lancang there, are “run of the river” dams that only store water for power generation.
- China has also stated that Yunnan had also suffered from drought, while the Lancang only accounted for 13.5% of the Mekong’s flows.
- However Mekong River Commission, has said more scientific evidence was needed to establish whether dams caused a 2019 drought.
- The report has also raised fresh questions on whether dams being built on other rivers that originate in China, such as the Brahmaputra may similarly impact countries downstream.