MRC, LMC to Study Changing Hydrology across Mekong Basin

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Dialogue Partners China and Myanmar have approved a joint study of changing hydrological conditions across the Mekong River Basin.

In a statement released in Vientiane Tuesday, the MRC said the study would be carried out with the Beijing-based Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Centre, part of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism.

The statement said the “landmark” study would be undertaken by all six Mekong countries — China and Myanmar in the Upper Basin along with MRC members Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in the Lower Basin.

Scheduled to be launched in December this year, the study will run until 2024. The first phase in 2022 "is anticipated to yield immediate recommendations for actions,” the statement said. The second in 2023 and 2024 will be coordinated with the MRC’s Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2025.

“The need for the joint study is underscored by the Mekong River Basin’s increasing propensity for floods and droughts,” said Phonepaseuth Phouliphanh, acting chair of the MRC Joint Committee, which groups senior water and environment officials from the Lower Basin countries.

Such floods and droughts “have been attributed to adverse changes in climate and water infrastructures,” he said.

Mr. Phonepaseuth said the study would propose different measures for the six Mekong countries to address flood and drought risks and water fluctuations.

Measures would include better information sharing and coordination of water infrastructure, he said.

The joint study was approved during a virtual meeting of MRC members and dialogue partners on Friday last week.

Ke Yousheng — China’s Representative to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok — told the meeting that “China welcomes stronger synergy between the MRC and LMC,” the statement said.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press