A Damming Assessment Of Mekong Development

Photo retrieved from: www.nature.com

“With a watershed of 800,000 square kilometres, the Mekong River basin supports the world’s largest inland fishery and is home to 65 million people in six countries: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. “Most of the people are poor and get 81% of their protein from subsistence fisheries,” says Ziv.

The steep topography of the region makes the Mekong an attractive place for hydropower development. Driven by increasing demand for electricity and a desire for economic development, 11 dams are being planned on the main river, with 41 on the tributaries expected to be completed within the next 4 years. Another 10–37 tributary dams are likely to be built between 2015 and 2030.

Using a fish migration model, Ziv and his colleagues found that if all of the proposed dams were constructed, they would reduce fish productivity by 51% and endanger 100 migratory fish species.

The steep topography of the region makes the Mekong an attractive place for hydropower development. Driven by increasing demand for electricity and a desire for economic development, 11 dams are being planned on the main river, with 41 on the tributaries expected to be completed within the next 4 years. Another 10–37 tributary dams are likely to be built between 2015 and 2030.”

Read more: Nature

 

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