Friday April 22, 2022

Radio Free Asia

Residents in Laos said they were surprised to find water on the Mekong River rising this week due to unannounced releases from the Jinghong Dam upriver in China, although there were no reports of significant damage.

The Mekong in parts of Laos rose more than 30 centimeters (0.98 feet), according to a notice issued Wednesday by water authorities in Thailand. Water levels rose higher in Thailand, to between 70 and 80 centimeters in Chiang Khan district in Loei province and Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai province, Thailand’s Office of National Water Resources said.

Officials in Laos and in Thailand said they were not notified of the release from the dam in in southwestern China’s Yunnan province.

China has 11 massive dams, including two large storage dams, along the mainstream of the Upper Mekong Basin, known as the Lancang in China. Laos has two hydropower dams in operation on the Mekong mainstream and dozens more on its tributaries as part of the government’s aim to bring in revenue by exporting electricity to the country’s richer neighbors.

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