Mekong sandbanks obstruct cross-border boat services

Mekong sandbanks obstruct cross-border boat services

A massive sandbank has emerged in the Mekong river in Nakhon Phanom province due to the low level of water, making boat services between Thailand and Laos difficult. (Photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)
A massive sandbank has emerged in the Mekong river in Nakhon Phanom province due to the low level of water, making boat services between Thailand and Laos difficult. (Photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)

NAKHON PHANOM: The lowest level of water in the Mekong river in several decades has caused sandbanks to emerge, obstructing boat services across the border between Thailand and Laos, according to a local report.

The low level of water has been caused by many factors including drought and retention of water at the numerous dams upstream in China.

At many spots in Muang, Tha Uthen, Ban Phaeng and That Phanom districts, the water level is now only about one metre high, causing sandbanks more than one kilometre long to emerge, hampering cross-border boat services. The boats are forced to travel a much a longer distance around to circumvent the sandbanks.

Fishery and riverside agriculture have been affected.

Sayam Sirimongkol, the provincial governor, said that with the rainy season several months away, a plan has been laid to overcome the problem. Machines have been used to dredge water channels to make way for the boat services and dig up the river bed in order to create basins for the production of tap water.

After submitting a request to the government, the province has been initially provided with nearly 200 million baht for 371 projects to dredge water resources in 12 districts to store water for consumption and agriculture, he said.


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