In Washington, ‘Mekong Days’ Puts River in Focus

Advocacy groups, environmentalists and policy-makers have wrapped up five days of events surrounding Mekong River issues in Washington. “Mekong Days,” a series of talks, films and other forums that ended Tuesday, highlighted issues in the region, where some 60 million people live. The Mekong River, a major source of food for many in the region, is currently under increased pressure from hydropower dam projects and the potential impact of climate change. Environmental advocates say the dams could hurt fish stocks in the river, even as temperature and rainfall changes threaten agriculture and livestock. … A recent study funded by USAID, “Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change,” found increasing threats to livestock, fisheries and other agriculture. … At least 11 dams are currently planned for the lower Mekong, a major concern for fish populations that migrate up and down the river. China has built four dams upstream already, and Laos is in the process of building a dam in Xayaburi province, despite objections from Cambodian and Vietnam.