Mekong crisis hits water supplies

Bangkok Post 27 February 2012 

 

Areas of the Mekong River are drying up and levels elsewhere are falling, severely affecting water supplies in three districts of Nakhon Phanom, a local official says.

Although the dry season has only just started, the water level of the Mekong in the northeastern province is continuing to fall to the point where areas of the river bed in Muang, Tha Uthen and That Phanom districts have completely dried up.

Falling water levels elsewhere have made it difficult for private vessels and cargo boats to get to their destinations.

Provincial Waterworks Authority director Jaroong Silparaya said on Monday water production in the three districts had dropped by 30 percent.

The international river is the main source of raw tap water in Nakhon Phanom.

Officials in That Phanom, the area hardest hit by the drought, borrowed pumps from the provincial irrigation office to siphon water from deep trenches in the Mekong to compensate for falling levels elsewhere, Mr Jaroong said.

This year’s drought was likely to be a bigger problem than in previous years as the Mekong River is drying up faster than at the same time last year, he said.

The official blamed upstream Chinese dams for the drought. He urged householders to save water and make the best use of it.