Vientiane, Lao PDR, 6th May 2016
Vientiane, Lao PDR, 6 May 2016 – Expert teams of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, representatives from some of its member countries, and China met from 4 to 5 May in Vientiane to discuss and explore a possibility to conduct a joint observation and evaluation of China's emergency water supplement to the Mekong River and a future joint research project.
This initiative is to allow the MRC and China, our Dialogue Partner since 1996, to evaluate jointly the effect of the emergency water supplement from China for the dry season of 2016 that runs from 1 December 2015 to 31 May 2016, to gather this important experience and to build a good foundation of further Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation.
Since mid-March this year, China has begun implementing what it calls ‘emergency water supplement to the Mekong River’, by increasing the discharge of Yunnan’s Jinghong Reservoir to the lower reaches of the Mekong. China’s Ministry of Water Resources informed the MRCS that from 15 March to 10 April 2016 it would increase the discharge of Jinghong Reservoir to 2,000 m3/s, which is about twice as much as the average annual discharge of the water or more than three times as much as natural discharge in the same period of the dry season. In two other separate notifications the MRCS received, China would release the discharge of 1,200 m3/s from 11-20 April, approximately 200% of natural discharge of the same period, and this discharge of water from the same reservoir would be increased to 1,500 m3/s from 21 April to 31 May 2016.
“We have put a lot of efforts in the release of emergency water supplement to the Mekong River,” said Mr Li Zhongping, Head of the Chines Delegation, at the meeting, adding that China is ready to conduct the joint observation and evaluation with the MRC.
Ms Nuanlaor Wongpinitwarodom, a representative of Thailand Joint Committee Chairperson for 2016, acknowledged the goodwill of China in releasing water to help ease drought condition in the Lower Mekong countries and stressed the importance of this joint study.
“The MRC believes that these joint evaluation activities between China and the four Member Countries will help broaden and deepen our cooperation, and produce results that are helpful, not only to mitigate the flood disaster but also the drought crisis”, she said at the meeting.
During the meeting, the two sides agreed this joint observation and evaluation will cover the cause analysis of the drought in the Mekong Basin and analysis on hydrological conditions of the Mekong mainstream influenced by the emergency water supplement from China.
Results of the joint observation and evaluation will be made available in June 2016.