The Mighty Mekong River, the Future

The mighty Mekong River - Thailand

The Mekong River plays an important role in South East Asia for agriculture, transport and tourism. And while living in Thailand and traveling in SEA the Mekong River has drawn my attention and whenever I am nearby this mighty river I have to stop somewhere, somehow and overlook the river. There is something that attracts me to this river. So join me in a few stories about this river. This is the fourth and last story in the sequel "The Mighty Mekong Story". The first story was "The Mighty Mekong River .... a brief overview". The second story was "The Mighty Mekong River .... A bit of History and Culture". The third story was "The Mighty Mekong River .... Traveling and Tourism

With all the economic changes going on in the region of the Mekong River the future of the river is changing rapidly. And not always for the better. With all the roads being build in Laos and Cambodia the good old times of ferries is disappearing and bridges are being build on many places. And because of that some places & villages along the river are changing because there is no reason anymore for people to make a stop-over there or to have a market there. With things like that the Mekong River is loosing a part of its charm. On the other hand for some local people it might bring new opportunities and much easier transport to other places in the region.

For transport in the region of course bridges are needed.
1. Lua Namtha (Laos) - Shan (Myanmar) under construction
2. Nong Khai (Thailand) - Vientiane (Laos) used for road + rail
3. Second Nong Khai bridge in the planning with rail-road
4. Nakhon Phanom (Thailand) - Thathek (Laos)
5. Mukdahan (Thailand) - Savanakhet (Laos)
6. Chiang Khong (Thailand) - Hoaxyxay (Laos) just finished
7. Bung Khan (Thailand) - Paksan (Laos) in very far planning stage
8. Paklay (Laos) under construction
9. Pakse (Laos)
10. Pakse (Laos) - Ubon Ratchathani (Thailand) in very far planning stage
11. Don Khong (Laos)
12. Kampong Cham (Cambodia)
13. Strung Steng (Cambodia) not sure in planning or construction already going on
14. Kandal (Cambodia)
15. Neak Loeng (Cambodia)
16 t/m 19. In Vietnam are 4 bridges

Although the bridges will bring many positive and some negative change for the places where the bridges are build (or being build) there is something that is much worse ... dams in the Mekong River itself and in rivers that contribute to the Mekong River.  With all the economic changes going on in the region there is a huge demand for electricity and one of the solutions for this is hydro-electric. And for that you need dams. So currently there are being build a few dams and many other dams (in China and Laos) are in the pipe-line. The locals do not really benefit from this electricity as most of it is sold to places far away (like in Thailand & China).

That means building of dams, creating of new lakes, changing the flow of the river, changing the options of transport over water and most of all a change of the habitat for animals (fish) in the river. And with the creation of new lakes, land and all villages are destroyed and the water-level of the river is becoming lower every year.

Personally I think the the Mighty Mekong River will loose it's MIGHTY because of the building of dams in China, Laos and maybe even Cambodia. And it will not only loose its mighty but also a part of its biodiversity (due to the lack of migration due to the dams). And less mighty means less water what again will have a huge negative influence on the agriculture along the river and especially in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Besides that I think that the Mekong River will loose a part of its charm due to the building of the many bridges.

For some more information about the future of the Mekong River:
Dams & Food Security in the Mekong River
Save The Mekong River
Controversial dams in the Mekong River
International Rivers
National Geographic
WWF Greater Mekong Region

For all stories about The Mighty Mekong River just click on the label "MekongStory". For all postings relating to the Mekong River just click on the label "MekongRiver". If you like to travel along the Mekong River in Laos or Cambodia,  NOW is the time to go as rapid economic development will change this countries very fast. And travel-wise not for the better.

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