Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mekong level rises as dam outflow returns to normal

Mekong level rises as dam outflow returns to normal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fishing boats sail the Mekong River in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district. Hean Rangsey

Mekong level rises as dam outflow returns to normal

Water levels of the Mekong River have started increasing following a month-long drop precipitated by power grid maintenance at the Jinghong hydropower station in the Chinese province of Yunnan and compounded by lower rainfall, according to the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

The MRC Secretariat said on February 22 that water levels in some stretches of the Mekong had risen slightly over the previous seven days. Outflow at Jinghong station increased from 786 cubic metres per second (m3/s) on February 15 to 1,020m3/s on February 22.

Earlier this month, however, Chinese officials claimed that the outflow at Jinghong had been consistently over 1,000m3/s since the end of January.

The MRC said: “The discrepancy between outflow estimates may be due to the use of different methods to calculate discharges at the Jinghong station. The [MRC] Secretariat and China’s Ministry of Water Resources are now working together to provide more consistent water discharge information.”

On February 12, the MRC declared that Mekong water levels had dropped to “worrying” levels. It said the decline had begun at the beginning of the year due to lower rainfall, upstream flow changes, hydropower operations in tributaries, and outflow restrictions from the Jinghong dam.

The latest increase has been more apparent between Chiang Saen in Thailand and Vientiane in Laos but has been less perceptible between Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom and Laos’ Savannakhet, and between Cambodia’s Kampong Cham province and the Mekong delta in Vietnam, the MRC said.

China has agreed to share year-round hydrological data from two stations located on the upper Mekong – at Jinghong and at a tributary in Yunnan’s Manan, but the agreement covers data on water levels only – not discharges, the MRC said.

The MRC has forecast dry season weather this year to be wetter than the previous two years. This year’s monsoon season has also been forecast to begin in early May, rather than the usual start time late in the month.

In January, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology issued a notice saying that weather conditions during the dry season and early in the rainy season this year were anticipated to be good.

Dry season temperatures might be around or slightly below norms, and the quantity of rainfall might be higher than usual. During March and April, there could be significant rainfall with storms and lightning strikes.

“There could be early seasonal rains, but the quantity of rainfall is expected to be much less than usage needs during that time. Please continue to conserve water and use it sparingly, especially in remote provinces far from water sources,” the notice said.

National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) spokesman Seak Vichet said NCDM leaders had ordered provincial officials and local authorities to keep water in storage for use as needed to meet development goals despite the beginning of the rainy season possibly coming early.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Khmer influence growing in Hollywood

    The rare success of The Cleaning Lady – an American TV series which stars Cambodian-French Hollywood actress Elodie Yung – sheds some light on Asian immigrants to the US, yet a significant representation gap of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) exists both on screen and behind

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of