How China is causing danger to Thailand by building hydropower dams on Mekong river

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Beijing: The Mekong River, which flows through China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, has now become a problem for the people of Thailand. No one knows when and how this river will change its form. Experts from Thailand have accused China that China has started many hydropower projects on it simultaneously. Because of this it has become unpredictable. Along with this, climate change is also harming it a lot. Because of this, the lives of people living along the banks of the Mekong River in Thailand’s northern Chiang Rai province are in danger.

Dangerous river for two decades
For the last two decades this river has changed in such a way that nothing can be said about it. The rainy season here usually starts in May, but it has not rained till the end of June. Local residents know that this delay could mean another year of drought. Since the year 2019, he is going through the same situation. Monsoon rains are late, and when they come, they leave quickly. The level of the Mekong River in the lower basin is now very unstable, including in other parts of Thailand. This level is being greatly affected by climate change and hydropower dams built by China in the upper reaches.

the river is dying
China had built dams on this river to generate electricity. He has stopped the water many times. This has complicated the drought situation. Because of this, food production has decreased in the countries connected to the Mekong River. China’s control of the upstream waters has resulted in unexpected rise and fall of the Mekong River’s downstream water level. This is causing damage to the environment in the most destructive ways. The life cycles of birds and fish are threatened. According to the activists, it is clear that the Mekong River is dying.

Rice cultivation in danger
The river, which flows through six countries, covers a distance of about 5,000 kilometers from its source on the Tibetan Plateau to the Mekong Delta. Biodiversity in the river is second only to the Amazon River. The river has long been an integral part of rice cultivation and fishing for the surrounding communities. A few decades ago, China started building dams along the river to generate electricity. China opened its first dam on the river in 1993. It is called Manwan Dam in Yunnan Province.

Trouble increased due to China

Today, China has 11 dams along the main stream and up to 95 tributaries along its upper Mekong basin. In the lower Mekong basin, there are about 130 dams supported by various countries including China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. As of mid-June, six of China’s 11 mainstream dams held back nearly a billion cubic meters of water to fill their reservoirs, according to the Stimson Center, a think tank. Due to El Nino, the rains were already decreasing and this added to the trouble.

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