Having returned from Thailand a few days ago I noticed the Mekong has still not got anywhere near reaching it’s normal high levels needed to flood the Tonle Sap Lake. As mentioned in my blog of the 29th June, upon finishing the Conservation International film, this could prove catastrophic for both Cambodia and Vietnam in particular, with many millions of people dependent on this hydrological cycle for their food each year. As the main fish harvest isn’t until the end of the year when the lake starts to empty we will not know the full consequences of this for a good 6 months yet. It doesn’t look good and having seen how low many of the reservoirs were in Laos and Thailand two months ago it might be a while yet (if at all) before it rises significantly.
There was an interesting news item on TV in the last few days saying that on the Mekong delta in southern Vietnam farmers were already having problems as sea water, which is normally kept a bay by the massive outflow of water from the Mekong, was destroying rice crops that they normally plant at this time of year. Another part of that story is the lack of silt coming down the Mekong, which makes the region so fertile.
It’s too early to predict doom and gloom just yet but I think we could see massive food shortages next year if there’s no change soon. It’s hard to believe the catastrophic predictions of environmentalists for the future of the lower Mekong could be coming true so soon.
Keep an eye on this story over the next few months.