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China denies responsibility for Mekong's severe depletion

March 30, 2010, Mar28, 2010

As Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia which together make up the Mekong
River Commission (MRC) prepared to meet Apr 3-5 in the Thai coastal town of
Hua Hin to discuss serious depletion in the river's water level, China has
denied that the series of dams it had built in occupied Tibet had anything
to do with the crisis. Chen Dehai, counselor at the Chinese embassy in
Thailand, has said the dams in the Lancang River were not the cause of the
falling water level that has victimized not only downstream countries along
the Mekong River, but also China itself, reported China's official Mar 26.

Still, the Mekong River Commission countries are expected to press China to
release water from the dams.

Water levels in the Mekong, Southeast Asia's biggest river flowing 4,350 km
(2,700 miles) from the glaciers of Tibet to the rice-rich delta of southern
Vietnam, have dropped to as low as 0.33 of a meter (13 inches) in places,
bringing a severe blow to the downstream countries' agriculture and fishery

China maintains that the Lancang River contributes only 13.5 percent of the
annual flux of the Mekong; that the river is mainly sustained by tributaries
outside China.
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