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Flashcards in The Mekong Deck (21)
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1

Where does the Mekong flow?

Located in south-east Asia
Six countries share the Mekong (Myanmar, Laos, Thailand ,Cambodia, China and Vietnam)

2

How long is the Mekong?

It is the 12th longest river, at 4,350 km.

3

Why would the Mekong need to be protected?

Protection of endangered species like the Irrawaddy dolphin, the Mekong giant catfish and giant freshwater stingray.
20,000 species of plants, 1,200 bird species, 800 species of reptiles and amphibians and 430 mammal species exist in the Mekong Basin.

4

Why does conservation on the Mekong need to be developed?

Reason for development: the high biodiversity and potential threat to these species from hydroelectric dams and pollution from farming.

5

What are the proposed schemes of energy development on the Mekong?

Proposal of mega-schemes to build hydroelectric power dams (such as the Xayaboury dam project) in the Lower Mekong area (some have already been built) including a series of dams in Laos.

6

What are the reasons for developing energy development on the Mekong?

Reason for development: hydroelectric potential along the tributaries of the basin, the energy can be used for valuable electricity, assist with irrigation in farming and regulate flooding (a flood in 2000 caused the death of 800 people).

7

Describe fishing on the Mekong.

80% of daily protein in Laos is gained from fish.
The largest freshwater fishery in the world is located on the Mekong.
In 2008 3.9million tonnes of fish valued at a maximum of $7 million.
1200 species of fish occur in the Mekong.
1 million people in Cambodia rely on fishing as their source of income.

8

What are the reasons for developing fishing on the Mekong?

Reason for development: the high income of the business, the variety of fish to be caught, few other economic opportunities for poorer communities and the floodplain consisting of mostly forest giving a source of food for fish, as well as the floods transporting fish to areas of the floodplain providing high populations of fish.

9

What is the reason for water management on the Mekong?

Brings irrigation to 80% of rice production in the Lower Mekong basin (4 million hectares of land is irrigated)
1/3 of the 60 million use the Mekong for drinking water.

10

Why would water management be developed on the Mekong?

Reason for development: high demand due to an increase in population (as well as high existing population of 60 million living in the Mekong area).

11

Briefly describe the settlement on the Mekong, and the reasons for developing it.

60 million people live in the river Basin and 80% rely on the river.
Reason for development: high demand due to an increase in population (as well as high existing population of 60 million living in the Mekong area).

12

Briefly describe farming on the Mekong, and the reasons for developing it.

Briefly describe the settlement on the Mekong, and the reasons for developing it.

13

In detail describe a conflict concerning fishing, with a resolution.

Fishing vs energy development as flooding of the Mekong provides nutrients for fish, so placing hydroelectric dams to prevent floods will affect populations of fish as well as disrupt migration and alter their habitats due to changing the water course which would impact fishing businesses (floods bring the fish into the area).40% of Cambodia’s fish will be lost if a dam is built on the mainstream of the Mekong and fishermen who would receive several baskets of fish daily now only get 3 or 4. Resolution: Asian Development and International Rivers (a non-profit, non-governmental organisation) are attempting to conserve the natural environment to protect endangered and other fish species by being involved with partners of the future and current Mekong dams, allowing the river to flow freely.

14

In detail describe a conflict concerning farming, with a resolution.

Farming vs settlement. Farming in the Mekong makes use of agrochemicals and surface run-off causes drinking water to be polluted (98% of samples contained Isoprothiolane in the river) which can cause serious health implications. Resolution: China has launched projects to prevent pollution in the Lancang river area (such as an afforestation project to cover an area of 630,000 hectares by 2020).

15

How could the addition of Dams effect countries economically?

The majority of the river isn't navigable by ships because of shifting sand bars in the dry season and islands which prevent larger ships from passing.
Mountain Dam in Laos which transports water from one tributary to another costed US $1.8 million and earns US $80 million per year, 60% of profit goes to the government and it was paid for by world and Asian.

16

How could the addition of Dams effect fishing?
(there are quite a few points)

There are plans to build 9 dams in Laos and more in Cambodia - fish species are thought to become extinct.
40% of Cambodia's fish will be wiped out if a dam is built on Mekong mainstream.
Fish once now caught by river communities now have to be bought at market.
Families that still rely on fish from the Mekong in Thailand used to catch 3 to 4 baskets of fish daily whereas now they only get 3 or 4 fish.

17

What iconic animals may countries along the Mekong loose of more dams are built?

There is a Irrawaddy Dolphin specific to the area will most likely face extinction if a dam is built on the Mekong mainstream.
There is a huge catfish specific to the area which will most likely face extinction with the building of even one more mainstream dam. Fish is around 80% of the daily protien for Laos river communities.

18

What effect will dams have on sediment flows?

Most Dams are n sediment supply zones, and can impact the transition of sediment and sediment supply stages.
A benefit to the Dam would be that it could control flooding on the lower plains of the river however a lack of flood water can cause bad agriculture due to a lack of silt and nutrients.

19

Where has china built Dams?

Seven megadams have already been built, and over 20 more are under construction or being planned in Yunnan, Tibet and Qinghai (see map). The scheme will drastically change the river’s natural flood-drought cycle and block the transport of sediment, affecting ecosystems and the livelihoods of millions living downstream in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

20

Where are Dams planned to be built along tributaries?

In Thailand and Laos.

21

Describe what happens to displaced people from dams built in Laos.

New villages are built to support displaced people by the company, however the inhabitants had no choice about its whereabouts.