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China Reduced Lower Mekong Water Level with No Notice until Six Days Later

Well-known Chinese news site NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) recently reported that China issued notice to the lower Mekong River countries on January 6 that it reduced Mekong River water level via its dams on upper Mekong. Both Thailand and the Mekong River Committee (MRC, an organization jointly formed by Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) confirmed the notification. The reason China provided was power transmission line maintenance. Water volume reduction was expected to be 47 percent from 1904 cubic meters per second to 1000 per second. China made an agreement last October with MRC to share water information. However, the Stimson Centre (sponsored by the United States) and another consulting firm, Eyes on Earth, both said, according to their monitoring data, China has been reducing the Mekong River water level since December 31. The MRC said the water volume reduction was observed on December 31 which was six days before China’s notification. This volume reduction could result in a lower water level of 1.2 meters. The drastic change could impact water transportation and fishing. China promised to restore the water volume “back to normal” without giving the actual cubic meter numbers.

Source: NetEase, January 8, 2021