MRC Announces the Mekong’s Water Flow

AKP Phnom Penh, April 09, 2019 —

The Water flow in Jinghong of China to decrease, but without significant impact downstream of the Mekong river, according to the Mekong River Commission’s news release.

The outflow of water at the Jinghong hydropower station in China will gradually decrease by almost half over a seven-day period in April, pointed out an official notification from China’s Ministry of Water Resources being copied to the Mekong River Commission Secretariat today.

In the notification, the ministry said that from April 11, 2019 at 00:00 am, the outflow of water at the Jinghong hydropower station will start decreasing from 2,000 – 3,000 cubic metres per second (m3/s) to 1,500 – 1,600 m3/s. This amount of water flow will be gradually increased to the original amount of 2,000 – 3,000 m3/s on April 17 from 00:00 am.

The decrease of water will be made to accommodate “the traditional activities on the Lancang (Mekong) River during the Water Splashing Festival of the Dai ethic group,” the notification said.

“Such a notification by China is useful and helpful to downstream countries and communities to prepare for any possible risks and to maximise their productivity along the Mekong mainstream,” MRC Secretariat Chief Executive Officer Dr. An Pich Hatda said.

According to the MRC’s observed and forecasting water level, Thailand’s Chiang Saen may see approximately 0.70 metre to more than one metre of the decrease of water level due to the decrease of the water flow from the Jinghong hydropower station during April 12 – 21, 2019.

But the flow changes in the lower reaches of the Mekong mainstream may not become obvious or cause any significant impact on the River or people from April 13 to 30.

Some stations, including those from Lao PDR’s Luang Prabang to Cambodia’s Kratie, are on the other hands experiencing water decrease between 0.50 and 1.50 metres during April 2-19. But no worrying trends are detected.

Based on a hydrological phenomenon, the inflow contribution of water from the upstream of Lancang-Mekong in China to the Mekong mainstream is about 20 percent in total during the dry season from November to May. The whole inflow of water into the lower Mekong basin is influenced more by tributaries and a direct rainfall distribution.

Mekong River has flowed from China, to Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. MRC is an intergovernmental organisation for regional dialogue and cooperation in the lower Mekong river basin, established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.

By Khan Sophirom