Vientiane Times, September 3, 2013
China will continue to provide information on hydrological forecasts and data to countries in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) so floods can be mitigated in the lower stream region.
This was highlighted at the conclusion of the 18th meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and its dialogue partners held on Friday in Vientiane, with the relevant delegation from China in attendance.
“China committed to continue providing hydrological data to the MRC more frequently, increasing reporting from once a day to twice a day, with the country to undertake to bear the related expenses,” an official from the MRC Secretariat told *Vientiane Times *yesterday.
At the meeting, the Chinese delegation reaffirmed the renewed agreement reached between China and the MRC on August 6 in regards to their cooperation, particularly the provision of hydrological data by China to the MRC.
According to the MRC official, China will organise this year’s training course for MRC staff on flood prevention, and the management of sediment flows in relation to hydropower plant development.
At the meeting, participants from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and China discussed the progress made and outcomes of cooperation between the MRC and its dialogue partners in the period since the previous meeting concerning the exchange of hydrological data, water resources and hydropower plant development in the upper basin (Lancang River), flood management and hydrology disaster risk mitigation.
They also discussed navigation on the reaches of the Lancang and Mekong, environmental protection measures, and other cooperation potential in relation to transnational water issues in the sub-region.
Several hydropower dams have been built on the upper Mekong situated in China’s territory, which have caused concerns about the change in flows in downstream reaches of the river.
To address the issue, China’s Ministry of Water Resources and the MRC reached an agreement in 2002 in relation to the provision of hydrological data, which was renewed in 2008.
Since 2003, China has provided data on precipitation and water levels collected from the Yungjinghong and Man’an stations to the MRC on a regular basis.
An MRC delegation visited the two hydrological stations this year.
At the meeting, the Chinese side committed to participate in MRC activities, with young Chinese staff and technical experts to be tasked to the work, a proposal that was praised by MRC member countries.
A representative of the Cambodian delegation said Cambodia looked forward to participating in future activities, and hoped delegates could visit specific dam sites along the Lancang River. Lao delegates appreciated the Chinese plan, while Thailand hoped for increased communication on technical aspects, so that cooperation runs smoothly and reflects the facts.
Secretary General of the Lao National Mekong Committee’s Secretariat, Mr Monemany Nhoybuakong, who chaired the meeting, praised the sharing of expertise by the Chinese delegation and the details provided on the progress of hydropower projects on the Lancang River.