GIS and a Push to Save Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake

 

A Push to Save Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake – NYTimes.com.

[The]Tonle Sap is in trouble — from overfishing to feed a fast-growing population, from the cutting of mangrove forests that shelter young fish, from hydroelectric dams upstream, and from the dry seasons that are expected to grow hotter and longer with climate change.

The Tonle Sap is a lake that feeds into the Mekong River in southeast Asia.  It is under pressure from dams upstream, increasing populations around its perimeter, and over fishing.  Can it survive?  Geographers and others are creating a mapping analysis program that will allow them to make predictions.

A Push to Save Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake - NYTimes.com

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Building Boom

Chinese corporations, financial institutions, and the government are involved in billions of dollars worth of large dams in Africa. Civil society and dam-affected peoples’ movements are concerned that China’s own poor record on protecting human rights and the environment could mean trouble for African rivers now targeted for Chinese-built large dams.

Africa is a growing source of raw materials for China’s industrial sector as well as a marketplace for Chinese goods. Chinese companies are heavily involved in many fields: oil, mining, logging, and infrastructure. Unlike western financiers China’s assistance comes with almost no strings attached.

via Chinese Dams in Africa | International Rivers.

I was looking for information on Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam when I came across this information from International Rivers.  I knew China had invested heavily in Africa, but this is a LOT of dams.

According to this article China is involved in building 304 dams in 74 countries, not just in Africa.  Here’s the list.  Most are in Africa or Southeast Asia.  Many of the ones close to home will generate electricity that will be exported to China.

I have so many questions I don’t even know where to begin.  How about you?

Mekong River – Quick, Look Before it’s Gone

In pictures: Damming Laos’ Mekong River – In Pictures – Al Jazeera English.

A total of 11 large hydropower dams are planned by the governments of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, while China has already completed five dams on the Mekong’s upper reaches, with another three under construction. China is also the driving force behind a cascade of dams on the Nam Ou River, a tributary of the Mekong in northern Laos.

Environmentalists fear these dams’ impact on fish numbers may have a devastating effect on food security and biodiversity in the region.

These countries are under intense pressure to industrialize and provide jobs for the people flooding into their cities.  Since factories require electricity, these dams are part of the vicious cycle – more displaced people needing more jobs.

The river also supplies the livelihood of millions of people.  How will damming it affect them?  The people most directly affected by this had no voice in the decision – how just is that?  What will become of the species that coexist with the river?  How will the changes affect the ecosystem of Indochina?  What would happen if these governments decided not to build the dams?

Historic Dam Removal

Dam breached to provide upstream access for spawning salmon.

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