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Mekong-Lancang countries reach agreement on dam operation data sharing

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The six Mekong countries have endorsed recommendations of a joint study to pave the way for better information sharing about reservoir operations on the Mekong.

The first phase of the study between the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Mekong Lancang Cooperation (MLC) is expected to facilitate information sharing about reservoir operations on the Mekong’s water flow and water release, as well as practical solutions to mitigate and adapt to impacts.

According to the MRC, the agreement came after hours of deliberation by the MRC Joint Committee and the MLC Joint Working Group on Water Resources Cooperation, at their historic first joint meeting on Sunday in Beijing, China.

The meeting also agreed to establish a joint expert group to oversee further joint studies and to launch the Joint Lancang-Mekong Survey.

The joint survey will see both sides jointly conduct necessary field trips and surveys at key locations in the upper-lower Mekong basin, including relevant engagements and observations on the livelihoods of people and communities living along the river.

Speaking at the meeting, Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun said this is good news for the Mekong and people living in the region.

One of the key recommendations over the short-term period is for the MRC and MLC to work together more closely to ensure there is effective near real-time sharing of storage levels and hydropower operations data throughout the Lancang-Mekong River Basin that could help downstream communities prepare for and adapt to changes.

In the longer term, the joint study recommends that both institutions jointly formulate action plans and strategies, including a comprehensive flood and drought management strategy and a capacity building plan, that can ensure coordinated water resource management and adaptation to changing river conditions.

The Joint Study on Changing Patterns of Hydrological Conditions of the Lancang-Mekong River Basin and Adaptation Strategies was launched in June last year at the 12th MRC Regional Stakeholder Forum (RSF).

The study’s early findings and recommendations are included in its first phase report, which will be shared at the 13th RSF on October 5, 2023 in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Agence Vietnamienne d’Information – 12 septembre 2023

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