Cabinet okays Mekong MOUs

Cabinet okays Mekong MOUs

The cabinet has approved two draft memorandums of understanding (MOU) that will set in motion the effective management of water resources for countries connected to the Mekong River, says the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR).

The MOUs will establish international cooperation under the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) framework where useful data on hydrology and precipitation over the Mekong River held by China will be shared with downstream countries.

China is where the trans-boundary river originates. The upper half of the Mekong River is also known as Lancang.

Somkiat Prajamwong, the ONWR secretary-general, said the data will be supplied to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, the countries where the river passes through.

The data for the whole year will be shared. Currently, only information related to the river's situation during the summer season is made available by China, according to the office.

The first collection of data, supplied by two riverine stations in the south of China, will be sent by China to the five countries starting from Nov 1, Mr Somkiat said.

The two MOUs were given the green light by the cabinet yesterday. One draft memorandum specifically governs the sharing of a year's worth of data with the five countries.

Mr Somkiat said the information was vital for local authorities for monitoring water levels and assessing potential risk of disasters posed to riverside communities.

"The draft MOU provides a catalyst for collective efforts to be made in water resources management and disaster mitigation by countries linked to the Mekong River," the ONWR secretary-general said.

The other draft MOU contains a letter of intent to set up technical support for cooperation to manage resources among the five countries.

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