A- About the Mekong River
I- The land and its resource
II- People and livelihood and water
III- Water and work
a- Feeding Millions
b- Powering Development
c- Fueling Trade
d- Moving People and Goods
e-Bringing People Together
IV- Special Place
a- The Tonle Sap
b-The Mekong Delta
B- Mekong Development
I- What is the Basin Development Plan?
II- Why is a Basin Development Plan Needed?
III- How Does Basin Development Planning Work?
IV- What are Scenarios?
V- What Has Been Achieved So Far?
A- About The Mekong River
I- The land and its resource
The Mekong River Basin is defined by the land area surrounding all the streams and rivers that flow into the Mekong River. This includes parts of China, Myanmar and Viet Nam, nearly one third of Thailand and most of Cambodia and Lao PDR. With a total land area of 795 000 square kilometers, the Mekong River Basin is nearly the size of France and Germany together. From its headwaters thousands of meters high on the Tibetan Plateau, it flows through six distinct geographical regions, each with characteristic features of elevation, topography and land cover. It would take 2 days of twenty-four hour driving at 100 km per hour to drive the same distance as the length of the Mekong River (4800 km).
Water and related resources
The most abundant resources in the Mekong Basin are water and biodiversity. Only the Amazon River Basin has greater diversity of plant and animal life.
Some key facts about the Mekong
• From its source in Tibet, the Mekong River is approximately 4800km long and flows through six countries: China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. • So much water flows into the mainstream Mekong from the surrounding basin area that, on average, 15,000 cubic meters of water passes by every second. In many parts of the world, that's enough water to supply all the needs of 100,000 people – the population of a large town – for a whole day. • This water nourishes large tracts of forest and wetlands which produce building materials, medicines and food, provides habitats for thousands of species of plants and animals and supports an inland capture fishery with an estimated commercial value of US$2 billion dollars per year. Known mineral resources include tin, copper, iron ore, natural gas, potash, gem stones and gold. • The Lower Mekong River Basin (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam) is home to approximately 60 million people. There are over 100 different ethnic groups living within the basin's boundaries, making it one of the most culturally diverse regions of the world. • Farmers in the Mekong Basin produce enough rice to feed 300 million people a year. Agriculture employs 85% of the people living in the basin. • The Mekong River Basin is one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world. The basin provides a wide variety of breeding habitats for over 1300 species of fish. Conservative estimates indicate that basin dwellers eat over one and half million tones of fish per year. • It has been estimated that total hydropower production capacity in the Lower Mekong Basin is 30 000 megawatts, more than enough to meet the expected demand in the coming decade. • There are 25 major ports on the Mekong River and except for a 14 km stretch around the Khone Falls near the Lao-Cambodia border; almost the entire length of the river is navigable for nearly 8 months of the year. • The Great Lake on the Cambodian floodplain is the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia and forms one of the key features of the lowlands. During the flood season, water flows from the Mekong mainstream northwest to contribute most of the water that fills the Great Lake. The depth of the Great...