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Mekong water level lowest in 50 years

The Northeast is considered a drought-prone area as a result of its frequent lack of rain. Many provinces are again facing a water shortage. In Khon Kaen, more than 10 districts have been affected by the lack of rain. The water level in the Mekong river is at its lowest level in 50 years.

The fast falling and very low level of the Mekong river has revealed stanchions at the base of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. Pontoons and river boats must remain ashore because the water level is so low that they could run aground. Thousands of outcrops, both small and large, have emerged from the Mekong river for a distance of over five kilometers in Sangkhom district. Water that normally flows over the rocks has dried up leaving only small puddles where people can safely walk. As a result, only thalwegs that are adjacent to the Lao PRD are used for travelling.

In Nong Khai, the water level at 80 centimeters, is 11.4 meters below the Mekong river bank. In the same period last year, the water was 150 centimeters high. The water level in the Mekong river is at its lowest level in 50 years.

The level of water in the Mekong River in Bueng Kan has also continuously declined. The water level has been measured at three meters. This is affecting river traffic in the Mekong. Small boats that commute between Thailand and Laos need to be extra careful and avoid the sand bars. However, cargo ships and ferries are mostly unaffected. ABC Laos News has advised that the Xayaburi hydro-electric dam of Lao PDR, which is in the process of experimenting with electric generators opens and closes its water gates as required, and is currently releasing water into the Mekong River between July 15 – 29. This may cause the water level in the Mekong River to rise rapidly. The public is advised to move any essential property near the river to a safe place.

NNT Thailand

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