Friday April 8, 2022


Every rainy season from July to August, the Mekong River floods into the Songkhram River, inundating the Songkhram Basin’s streams, lakes and creeks with sediment and fish. After the rains, the Songkhram River drains back into the Mekong River in September and October. This unique ebb and flow of flood waters between the two rivers has resulted in creating the Songkhram wetlands and seasonally flooded forests ecosystems rich in fish, animal and plant biodiversity.  The Lower Songkhram Basin is called the “womb” of the Mekong Basin, similar to Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, and is now recognized under the Ramsar Convention as a wetlands of international importance.

Given the wetlands serve as feeding and breeding grounds for many local and migratory fish, the Lower Songkhram Basin is a rich source of fisheries for local communities in the region providing both protein and supporting local livelihoods. The lake ecosystems and flooded conditions are also suitable for rice cultivation. Rice farming and fisheries are an integral part of the culture of local communities.

In the last two decades, hydrological changes in the Mekong River, especially due to large-scale water resources development in the upstream such as hydropower and extreme climate events, has affected the water levels and flows of the Mekong River that bring water, sediments, fertilizer and nutrients to the Songkhram River and disrupt seasonal fish migration. At the same time, the size and quality of the wetland areas in the Lower Songkhram Basin also decrease due to changes in land use around the wetlands, increase in agriculture and encroaching urbanization. The people most affected by these changes are local fishers and farmers.

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