Mekong River water level expected to rise

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The water resource ministry said 10 days of expected heavy rain will raise the Mekong and Tonle Bassac water levels in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

The Mekong River’s water level is expected to rise dramatically in the next three months after two years of drought caused by El Nino.

Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Youttha said at a press conference on Tuesday that the El Nino phenomenon causes irregular rain patterns but 10 days of expected heavy rain will raise the Mekong and Tonle Bassac water levels in Phnom Penh.

“This is the first time since 1951 that storms in the Western Pacific region did not affect the Mekong River or the region.

“This July is the first time there have been no storms in the Western Pacific or the South China Sea. But we have seen several storms in early August,” Youttha said.

Mekong River Committee deputy director Te Navuth said on Tuesday that the water level is measured at 119 stations in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The first seven months of the year, the average water level was 397mm. It was 628mm last year and 1,069mm in 2018.

“According to predictions by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, August and September should see an above-average water level from 45mm to 100mm in the lower Mekong river reservoir.

“There will be a tropical depression, tropical storm, and typhoon in the lower Mekong reservoir, Navuth said.

He said lower water levels are not due to water blockage by hydropower plants in China and Laos, but the main reason has been the lack of rainfall.