Dams planned for construction in the Mekong Basin of South East Asia would drastically and irreversibly reduce sediment flow, according to a new study published in Science Advances, which provides the framework to optimize where and how dams are built in this (and other) regions. If current dams remain on schedule in the Mekong Basin, it could devastate ecosystems and fisheries in the lower floodplains by the middle of the next decade, the authors say. The findings also suggest opportunities remain for strategic planning to minimize damage to the lower basin by concentrating future hydropower above large existing dams, although this strategy may conflict with the economic ambitions of bordering nations.
Read the research paper: Planning dam portfolios for low sediment trapping shows limits for sustainable hydropower in the Mekong. R.J.P. Schmitt et al. Science Advances