… though China is getting all the brickbats, downstream countries should face much closer scrutiny too. China, says a water expert at the Asian Development Bank, is not to blame for all their woes. For instance, the alarming salinisation of the Mekong delta, Vietnam’s rice-basket, appears to be happening not because of China, as some Vietnamese claim, but at least in part because of Vietnam’s own hydropower projects nearby. Laos is expected soon officially to announce its intention to build at least one Mekong dam, with potentially devastating consequences for the migratory fish species that, among other things, provide essential protein for many Cambodians. Pity the poor wild rivers and their amazing diversity: dammed if the riparian neighbours fail to co-operate, and damneder if they do.
From “Dammed if they do” in last week’s Economist.
On the same topic, the Lao Minister of Energy and Mines, Soulivong Daravong, has assured Thailand that future dams on the mainstream Mekong will “comply with international agreement and regulations transparently”. While initial investigations have indicated that fish stocks will affected, “A solution will be worked out on that, he added.”
Ideas, anyone? Feel free to interpret “solution” broadly.