China Should Join Mekong Commission: US Official

China should join an intergovernmental commission supervising development of the Mekong River to more effectively address environmental and other problems faced by downstream Southeast Asian nations, a senior U.S. government official says.

Aaron Salzberg, special coordinator for water issues at the U.S. State Department, also underlined the importance of political will in ensuring that the Mekong River Commission (MRC) functions as an effective forum in coordinating shared use of the region’s main waterway.

“In the long run, I think it would be good for China to become a full active member in the MRC … sharing data so that the downstream countries actually understand what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen and they can prepare accordingly for those types of things,” Salzberg told RFA.

“China can play an active role in managing their infrastructure for downstream benefits,” he said.

Five dams commissioned in China on the Mekong river’s upper portion have caused rapid changes in water levels and other adverse effects downstream, especially in the four countries of the Lower Mekong Basin—Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos—where tens of millions of people depend on the river for food, water, and transportation, environmentalists say.

China has refused to join the MRC—which comprises the four lower Mekong nations and manages development along the Mekong—although the river’s source is located within the Asian giant’s borders, saying it prefers to negotiate on a bilateral basis to resolve any problems on the issue.

via China Should Join Mekong Commission: US Official.

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Construction of Lower Sesan Dam in Stung Treng to Start in 2014

Construction of the Lower Sesan 2 Dam in Stung Treng province will begin in 2014 and the government will spend next year relocating some 5,000 people from villages that are located in the dam’s future reservoir area.

Located near the confluence of the Sesan and Srepok rivers in Stung Treng, the 400-megawatt hydropower dam was approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday, but neither a start date nor financial compensation for the affected communities has been announced.

Siek Mekong, the commune chief of Sesan district’s Srekor commune—which is located in the 33,560-hectare reservoir area —said yesterday that the government had informed commune officials that the start date was some time in 2014.

via Construction of Lower Sesan Dam in Stung Treng to Start in 2014 | The Cambodia Daily.