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The Mekong Basin – Implications of rapid transformation (part 2)

Event organised by The Irrigation and Water Forum

12 November 2021
09:00 - 12:00 GMT

This event has now ended

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The Mekong River and its tributaries drain a vast area of mainland Southeast Asia. The Mekong flows more than 4,500km from the mountains of south-western China, and together with its tributaries it also drains parts of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. This transboundary river basin feeds and waters some 66m people, but its continued ability to do so is in question as the basin has undergone an extremely rapid transformation. According to the WWF, quoted in The Economist, 16 May 2020, “All the environmental indicators are in the red.”

There are 13 dams along the Mekong mainstream: 11 in China and two in Laos. China plans eight more and Laos seven, while Cambodia has placed a moratorium on mainstream dam building. There are also dozens of dams operating and under construction on Mekong tributaries in all four lower riparian countries, with plans for many more.

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 Anthropogenic impacts on tidal intrusion and flood hazard in the Mekong delta Professor Daniel Parsons, Director of the Energy and Environment Institute & Professor in Sedimentology
09:35-09:40 Q & A
09:40-10:10 Impacts of sand mining on bank erosion in the Mekong delta Dr Stephen Darby, Professor of Geography, University of Southampton
10:10-10:15 Q & A
10:15-10:45 TEFRIC-ERFA: Development of environmental flow approaches and their application to the Mekong River Basin Dr Cedric Laize, Hydro-ecological Modeller, Senior Scientist, UKCEH Professor Julian R. Thompson, Professor of Physical Geography – Hydrology and Wetlands, UCL 10:45-10:50 Q & A
10:50-11:20 From lightly impounded to engineered river: implications for the politics of governing the Mekong Professor Philip Hirsch, Emeritus Professor of Human Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Australia
11.20-11.25 Q & A
11.25-11.50 General discussion
11.50-12.00 Closing remarks.

Recorded Lecture