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The Mekong Basin – Implications of rapid transformation

Event organised by The Irrigation and Water Forum

05 November 2021
09:00 - 12:00 GMT

This event has now ended

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The Mekong Basin drains a vast area of eastern Asia, flowing 4,500km from the mountains of south-western China, through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. This transboundary river basin has undergone an extremely rapid transformation, feeding and watering some 66m people. But, according to the WWF, quoted in The Economist, May 16th 2020, “All the environmental indicators are in the red.” There are 13 dams along the river: 11 in China, one in Laos and one in Cambodia.

China plans eight more and Laos seven, while Cambodia has placed a moratorium on dam building. This meeting will consider the implications of the rapid transformation for the basin, its region and other transboundary basins. The meeting comprises two virtual sessions. The first session, on Friday 5 November, will consider aspects of historical developments along the Mekong River and where these developments may be heading.

In the second session, on Friday 12 November, looks at specific developments affecting the flow regime of the Mekong river and possibilities for developing a sustainable river system.


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09:00 Start
09:00-09:05 Welcome and Introduction, Dr Ian Tod (IWF Chair)
09:05-09:35 Challenges of rapid transformation faced by the Mekong River Commission Jeremy Bird, Water Resources Advisor (former CEO of the MRC Secretariat, 2008-2011)
09:35-09:40 Q & A
09:40-10:10 The Mekong in 2030 Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun, Chief Strategy and Partnership Officer, Mekong River Commission
10:10-10:15 Q & A
10:15-10:45 Impacts of Past and Future Dam Development and Climate Change on Flows, Sediments and Nutrients on the Mekong River from China to the Vietnam Delta System Professor Paul Whitehead, Professor of Water Science at University of Oxford and Managing Partner Water Resource Associates
10:45-10:50 Q & A
10:50-11:20 Another drought year or is it a flood that got lost upstream? Local perspectives and analysis of the changing Mekong hydrology Dr Anthony Green, Director of Mekong Modelling Associates Phnom Penh Cambodia (part of JBA Group)
11.20-11.25 Q & A
11.25-11.50 General discussion
11.50-12.00 Closing remarks.

Recorded Lecture