The Mekong River Commission (MRC) said Thursday that China had agreed to provide it with year-round hydrological data from the Chinese stretch of the river.
In a statement, the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane said the Chinese data would improve river monitoring as well as flood and drought forecasting in Mekong countries.
The agreement was signed by the MRC and China’s Ministry of Water Resources during a one-day virtual meeting with China and Myanmar Thursday.
“This agreement is a landmark in the history of China-MRC cooperation,” said Dr. An Pich Hatda, chief executive at the MRC Secretariat.
Dr. Hatda said water infrastructure operations in the Mekong basin and tributaries are “increasingly contributing to river flow changes and fluctuations that can impact riverine communities.”
He added that increased sharing of data would be “critical to the management of the Mekong River.”
“The increased regulation of the basin and the opportunities and challenges it brings calls for greater data and information sharing, improved water-release notifications, coordination of operations, and enhanced early-warning systems,” Dr. Hatda said.
China has been sharing water level and rainfall data from two hydrological stations for the past 18 years.
The stations are located on the mainstream of the Mekong at Yunjinghong and a tributary at Manan, both in China’s southwestern Yunnan province.
The statement said year-round data from the two stations would be shared twice daily and include rainfall and river-level data.
“China has also agreed to share urgent information on any unusual rise or fall in water levels and discharges, as well as other relevant information on factors that might lead to sudden flooding in the lower reaches of the basin,” it said.
The statement said the MRC and China had been collaborating in several areas since 1996 with annual meetings, data and information sharing, joint symposiums and studies as well as technical exchanges on water resource development, environmental protection and hydropower development.
According to its online source, the Mekong River Commission is the only inter-governmental organisation that works directly with the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to jointly manage the shared water resources and the sustainable development of the Mekong River.
China and Myanmar, the upstream countries of the Mekong River Basin, are Dialogue Partners of the MRC. The Commission engages a wide range of stakeholders in its strategies, plans and work.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press