Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of famous French underwater explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, is visiting Cambodia as part of an international campaign to raise awareness about the threat to the world’s water resources.
During a visit to Phnom Penh Wednesday she expressed her concern about hydropower development on the Mekong River, which she said could have “serious consequences” for the river’s unique water flow system and resources.
“The Mekong is still at a point where its natural state is intact; its annual flooding, its ecosystem with migrating species and many resources that support so many people,” said Ms Cousteau. “I hope the government will be able to balance forwarding the interest of the country with sustaining the natural resources,” she said.
“My family legacy has inspired me to have interest in these issues,” Ms Cousteau said. Jacques Cousteau was a French filmmaker who made more than 100 documentaries about the sea and aquatic life; he died in 1997. In 1992, “Captain Cousteau,” as he was known, visited Cambodia as part of a documentary on the Mekong River.
“My family took me on my first expedition when I was four months old. They [tried] to teach to me to swim when I was 3 months. I learned scuba diving when I was seven,” she said, explaining the influence of her famous grandfather on her life.
Cambodia is the seventh country Ms Cousteau, 33, has visited as part of a 100-day journey, which is being filmed for her “Blue Planet” project to document the state of water resources in eight countries on five continents.
Ms Cousteau said she had visited Kratie province and would now go to the Tonle Sap lake and Angkor Wat before leaving for Australia. “At Angkor Wat we want to show the history of the use of infrastructure to manage water. And how when this infrastructure failed, it destroyed the civilization. It could be a lesson for the world,” she added.