VIENTIANE, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The Mekong River passing several countries in Southeast Asia has recorded higher water levels this year after four straight years of low flow and droughts.
Over the first four months of 2022, the river level was recorded at the highest in several years in part as a result of increased rainfall, the local daily Vientiane Times on Friday reported, citing data from the Mekong River Commission (MRC).
As a result, greater flows of sediment and nutrients should boost fish stocks, improve agriculture and benefit some 70 million people in riverine communities, according to the MRC.
However, the water level rise "doesn't eliminate the risk of moderate drought," Winai Wangpimool, director of the MRC Technical Support Division, was quoted as saying.
MRC figures showed water levels across the Lower Mekong River Basin remain below the 60-year average from 1961 to 2021. Climate change has also posed a challenge, according to CEO of the MRC Secretariat, Anoulak Kittikhoun.
Last year, the traditional wet season was shortened from five months to four, from June-October to July-October, and more precipitation this year also means the risk of torrential rain and flash flooding, the Vientiane Times reported.
MRC meteorological indicators showed that from November 2021 to April 2022, the lower Mekong basin was not only wetter than in normal years, but the accumulated 2022 rainfall was above average by about 25 percent.
According to the Lao media report, data from monitoring stations showed water levels this year notably higher than in the drought years from 2019 to 2021. For example, the water level rose from 1.84 meters on March 2 to 3.25 meters on May 11 at Thailand's Chiang Saen station, while a water level rise of as much as 2.22 meters was recorded along the stretch from Stung Treng to Kampong Cham stations in Cambodia.
The MRC is an intergovernmental organization for regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. It was established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.