Hydropower Image

Development of hydropower in the basin is seen as.....

"...tradeoffs of economics relative to environmental concerns"

     Development of hydropower in the basin is seen as a cornerstone for economic prosperity and ultimately for political stability for the six countries that border the Mekong River [7]; however, the environmental trade-offs are relatively unexplored. Currently there are proposals for 11 main-stem and up to 78 tributary dams mostly centered in the upstream countries of China and Lao PDR. Globally there has been unprecedented growth in construction of hydroelectric dams with approximately 50% of the all large river systems under some form of dam regulation; the majority of unregulated rivers are in artic regions. Located in the tropics, the Mekong is therefore one of the last unregulated rivers of its kind and a microcosm of the many challenges in sustainably meeting the socioeconomic needs of people in developing countries. The direct scientific knowledge obtained from the Mekong is therefore important for a more general understanding of how these freshwater ecosystems function and how we might mitigate the effects of widespread environmental change.