Mekong depth set to dip

Mekong depth set to dip

The Mekong River's depth in Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district is expected to drop by about 1.3 metres today, as a dam in China's Yunnan province reduced its discharge rate last week, a river monitor warned.

According to a warning on Saturday by the Mekong Dam Monitor, an online Mekong River monitoring network, communities downstream of the Jinghong dam should prepare for a sharp dip in water levels on Monday of up to 1.3 metres.

The National Water Command Centre (NWCC) also issued a warning to provinces along the Mekong River to brace for sharp drops in water levels, as the dam's operator slashed its discharge rate to 1,854 cubic metres (m³) per second, from 2,525m³, on Friday and Saturday.

Water levels along the river, including in Loei, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani provinces, depend on the discharge from Xayaburi dam in Laos, the centre said.

Meanwhile, Phakaimat Wiara, vice-president of Chiang Rai's Chamber of Commerce, said boats will still be able to navigate the Mekong at its current depth.

However, since ports in Laos and China are shut due to Covid-19, traffic along this river isn't as bustling as it used to be, she said. Only a handful of barges are travelling back and forth between Thailand and Myanmar, she said.

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