China dam claims should be studied, says rivers official

A new report that found China’s upstream dam management is responsible for dangerously low water levels and drought conditions along the Mekong River needs to be “studied”, according to a Cambodian National Mekong Commission official.

The report, titled “Monitoring the Quantity of Water Flowing Through the Upper Mekong Basin Under Natural (Unimpeded) Conditions”, used river gauges to sense water flows along the river. It said China’s portion of the Upper Mekong saw high levels of rainfall from April to November 2019 as downstream regions like Cambodia were in drought.

With regular snowmelt, there should have been enough water flowing downstream to keep levels high even in the Lower Mekong, the report claimed, but that did not happen. Instead, most of the water was held in upstream dams by engineers in China.

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