Mekong water level lowest in 50 years

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Bangkok – Drought conditions in Nong Khai have seen the water level fall 11.4 meters below the Mekong river bank, its lowest level in 50 years.

The fast falling and very low level of the Mekong has revealed stanchions at the base of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. Pontoons and river boats must remain ashore because the water level is so low that they could run aground. Thousands of outcrops, both small and large, have emerged for a distance of over five kilometers and water that normally flows over the rocks has dried up, leaving only small puddles where people can safely walk. As a result, only thalwegs that are adjacent to the Lao PRD are used for travelling.

Meanwhile, ABC Laos News has advised that the Xayaburi hydro-electric dam of Lao PDR, which is in the process of experimenting with electric generators, opens and closes its water gates as required and is currently releasing water into the Mekong river between July 15–29. This may cause the water level to rise rapidly and the public is advised to move any essential property located near the river to a safe place.