© Reuters. A view of the Mekong River that borders Thailand and Laos is seen from the Thai side at Nong Khai
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Water levels in the Mekong River have fallen to a “worrisome level” partly due to restrictions on the exit of Chinese hydroelectric dams upstream, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said on Friday, calling for to Beijing to share all your data. water data. The vital waterway has turned blue along the Thai-Laos border, due to its usual dark brown color, indicating shallow water and low levels of nutrient-rich sediments, in part due to exit restrictions. of the Jinghong Dam in China’s Yunan province, the intergovernmental MRC said. Friday’s statement said poor rainfall and dams in the Lower Mekong and its tributaries also contributed to the drop in levels. “There have been sudden rises and falls in water levels immediately downstream from Jinghong and beyond Vientiane,” said Winai Wongpimool, director of the MRC Secretariat’s Technical Support Division. These fluctuations affect fish migration, agriculture and transportation on which nearly 70 million people depend for their livelihoods and food security. “To help the Lower Mekong countries manage risks more effectively, we ask China and the Lower Mekong countries themselves to share their water release plans with us,” Winai said. The MRC said normal conditions can be restored if large volumes of water are released from Chinese reservoirs. China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment on Friday, a public holiday. The US-funded Mekong Dam Monitor, which uses satellite data to track water levels, also said it noticed daily fluctuations in the water. China’s Jinghong Dam releases in February. China pledged last year to share data on its dams with MRC member countries Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In January, Beijing notified its neighbors that its dams were filling the reservoirs and that the flow would be restored to “normal operating status” on January 25. Outflow levels at the Jinghong Dam were 785 cubic meters per second in early January before rising to 1,400 cubic meters per second in mid-January, the MRC said. However, the levels fell again in February and were 800 cubic meters per second as of Thursday, the MRC said. The statement did not mention any recent notification from Beijing.