Why is China building dams on the Mekong River?

China has constructed 11 giant dams along the mountainous territory of the Upper Mekong to sustain its ever-increasing energy needs. The management of water flows has long been a concern for many living along the river.

How do dams affect the Mekong River?

These dams, which number 11 in China and two in Laos, have wreaked irreversible damage to the once mighty waterway by fragmenting habitats and causing water levels to plunge to dangerous lows along long stretches of it downstream all the way to its delta in Vietnam. …

What is the reason of Mekong dam’s building?

The main purpose of the dam is to produce hydroelectric power, 95% of which is to be purchased by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). The project is surrounded in controversy due to complaints from downstream riparians and environmentalists.

How many dams does the Mekong have?

Eleven massive dams straddle the mighty Mekong River before it leaves China and flows into Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and on into Vietnam.

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What is China doing to damage the Mekong River?

China’s Dam-Building Is Harming the Mekong River. The water flow of the Mekong has hit record lows, caused by a reduction in rainfall and upstream hydropower dams, according to a report. The Mekong River at Sangkhom district in the northeastern Thai province of Nong Khai, with Laos seen on the right bank.

What is wrong with the Mekong River?

A large part of the problem has long been China, which operates 11 dams on the Mekong. During times of extreme drought, like now, China’s portion of the river contributes up to half of the river’s flow, with the dams holding back more than 12 trillion gallons of water, severely disrupting the water flow downstream.

How much of the Mekong River is in China?

23% is located in Thailand, 21% in China, 20% in Cambodia, 8% in Vietnam, and the remaining 3% is in Myanmar. From its source in China to the border with the Lao PDR, the river drops very rapidly – 4,500 meters.

How important is the Mekong River?

The Mekong River connects China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam physically and economically. The river is a lifeline for the entire basin, sustaining economies and livelihoods across the entire region.

What DAM means?

1a : a barrier preventing the flow of water or of loose solid materials (such as soil or snow) a beaver dam an ice dam especially, civil engineering : a barrier built across a watercourse for impounding (see impound sense 2) water. b : a barrier to check the flow of liquid, gas, or air.

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How many dams has China built?

But China pushed on. By 2019, China had 23,841 large dams, accounting for 41% of the world total, with Fan saying most of them were built after 2000. The US was the runner-up on the list, with 9,263 large dams, according to the International Commission on Large Dams.

What countries besides China use the Mekong River?

From the Tibetan Plateau the river runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Is the Mekong river polluted?

The Mekong is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, transporting an estimated 40 thousand tonnes of plastic into the world’s oceans each year.

How many dams are in Laos?

Laos has already built 79 dams on the Mekong’s mainstream and tributaries on its way to building 100 dams by 2030, according to the country’s ministry of energy and mines. The government of the landlocked and impoverished country has turned to dams, built through loans, as a financial lifeline.

How China turned off the tap on the Mekong River?

New data shows that for six months in 2019, while China received above average precipitation, its dams held back more water than ever — even as downstream countries suffered through an unprecedented drought. …

Will China turn off Asia’s Tap?

Will China turn off Asia’s tap? Even after Asia’s economies climb out of the Covid-19 recession, China’s strategy of frenetically building dams and reservoirs on transnational rivers will confront them with a more permanent barrier to long-term economic prosperity: water scarcity.

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Is China building a dam?

In November of last year, China’s state-owned media shared plans for a 60-gigawatt mega-dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo river in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). …

Notes from the road