Us Mekong Dam monitoring launched: Real-time release of China’s upstream hydrological data

The Us State Department-funded Mekong Dam Monitor, which uses satellite data to track the water level of Chinese DAMS on the upper Mekong, was launched on Monday.

Monitoring data from the project will be made available online in real time from Monday, including indicators of surface moisture near the dam and comparisons with annual averages to provide data on the dam’s impact on natural flow, Reuters reported.

Brian Eyler, director of the Stimson Center in Washington, which is funded by the State Department and operates the water-level monitoring system, said China was using DAMS to control the flow of water upstream, causing severe droughts in downstream countries.

“The evidence provided by the monitoring system shows that with careful design and operation, China’s 11 major DAMS were able to maximize hydropower generation and sell it to the eastern provinces of China for use, with no consideration for downstream impacts,” he said.

The 4,350km long Mekong river, known as the Lancang River in China, flows south through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In recent years, a record drought in the Mekong River has affected the lives of 60 million fishermen and farmers downstream.