From its source in the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River travels over four thousand kilometers through six countries, eventually flowing through the vast Mekong Delta of Vietnam and into the sea. More than seventy million people rely on the river for their culture, livelihoods and food security. The Mekong basin, however, is rapidly urbanizing. More than 140 dams are currently planned, under construction or commissioned for different rivers in the basin. If constructed, this will radically alter the basin’s hydrology, its ecology and, consequently, the lives of millions who depend upon it.
How can two seemingly opposite demands—sustainable development of a region and the rising demands for energy and economic growth—be met?
The purpose of this project is to open up the debate on hydropower development in the region through the use of film.
“MEKONG” examines the issues of hydropower development and its impact on Mekong citizens’ lives. It features stories of Mekong citizens up and down the river, from fishers on the Tonle Sap, activists still fighting at the Pak Mun dam in Thailand, to a vice minister from Laos convinced he can build the region’s most “river-transparent” dam. Filmed in four countries, and four languages, it includes footage of China’s Mekong [Lancang] dams, as well as on-site footage of the controversial Xayaburi dam in Laos.
Considered the rice basket of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is already at risk due to climate change, sea level rise and intense local development. Mekong Delta citizens are concerned about these risks but are determined to adapt and survive. “MEKONG – THE DELTA” follows the efforts of students and scientists from the delta’s Can Tho University as they develop a resilience strategy for the challenges facing the delta over the next hundred years.
Copyright © 2013, International Water Management Institute (IWMI); IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and Sida, Swedish
International Development Cooperation Agency. Please read our copyright notice and disclaimer.