China will discharge water from a dam to the lower reaches of the Mekong River to alleviate drought in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
“We will release emergency water supply from Jinghong Hydropower Station from May 15 till April 10,” the ministry’s spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing.
Vietnam has asked China to discharge more water from the hydropower station in southwest China’s Yunnan Province to help overcome drought on the Mekong Delta.
Mekong River originates in China and runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is known as Lancang in the Chinese stretch.
China and the five countries along the Mekong are friendly neighbors and assistance like this is natural, Lu said.
Since late 2015, countries along the Lancang-Mekong River have suffered from drought to varying extents due to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon, the spokesperson said, adding the situation has worsened recently and threatens people’s livelihoods.
“In order to accommodate the concerns of countries at the lower reach of the Mekong River, the Chinese government decides to overcome its own difficulties to offer emergency water flows,” Lu said.
He said water resources cooperation is an important component of the cooperation mechanism being worked on by China and other Mekong River countries.
“China is willing to enhance coordination and practical cooperation with related countries in accordance with the mechanism in water resources management and disaster response to benefit the people in the region,” the spokesperson added.