Upstream Mekong dams worsened wet season drought: report

Upstream dams severely restricted water flow between 2019 and 2021 during the wet season, exacerbating drought conditions created by the lack of rainfall, a new report says.

Stimson Center has operated the Mekong Dam Monitor (MDM) since late 2020. MDM’s natural flow models show that wet season peaks were considerably lower in 2019 to 2021 than most of the previous years. MDM data shows that large storage dams, including Xiaowan and Nuozhadu in China, generally operated the same way year after year regardless of low flow and drought conditions downstream.

Regarding the impact on downstream countries, the report says that during the wet season, floods drive important processes in the Mekong such as the Tonle Sap reversal, an event which makes the Tonle Sap Lake the world’s largest and most productive inland fishery.

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Viet Anh