China Notifies Mekong River Neighbors of Water Level Reduction Due to Power Grid Maintenance

China notified its Mekong River neighbors that water levels will drop due to a power grid maintenance at a hydropower dam from Jan. 5 to 24, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Thailand said on Jan. 6.

China notified its Mekong River neighbors that water levels will drop due to a power grid maintenance at a hydropower dam from Jan. 5 to 24, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Thailand said on Jan. 6.

As part of a new data-sharing agreement, China’s Ministry of Water Resources alerted the MRC on Jan. 5 that water outflow will be reduced at 1,000 cubic meters per second for 20 days due to the “maintenance of transmission lines of the power grid” at the Jinghong hydropower station in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

“Navigation activities on the Mekong River, especially around the areas close to Jinghong, may be affected more than the other places during this period. Some local livelihood activities such as riverweed harvesting and fishing may also be affected,” Head of the MRC Regional Flood and Drought Management Center Dr. Lam Hung Son said.

Over 60 million from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia depend on the Mekong River for fishing and farming.

Thailand’s National Water Command Center also said that it received the notification on Jan. 5 regarding the reduction of water outflow, which amounts to about 74%.

According to the MRC, the notification said that the amount of water flow “will be gradually restored to its normal operation status on Jan. 25.

However, MRC also noted that the Chinese ministry did not specify the level or the volume rate of the river to be restored on that day.

MRC also noted that it first detected the decrease of water level  on Dec. 31.

Last October, China pledged to share data of “any abnormal rise or fall in water level or discharge, and other information on factors that might lead to sudden flood” to the MRC and its member countries.


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