Chinese Dams Under US Scrutiny in Mekong Rivalry

Chinese Dams Under US Scrutiny in Mekong Rivalry

A U.S.-funded project using satellites to track and publish water levels at Chinese dams on the Mekong River was announced Monday, adding to the superpowers’ rivalry in Southeast Asia.

The 4,350-km (2,700-mile) waterway, known as the Lancang in China and flowing south through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, has become a focus of competition.

Beijing has dismissed U.S. research saying Chinese dams have retained water to the detriment of downstream nations, where 60 million people depend on the river for fishing and farming.

The Mekong Dam Monitor, partly funded by the State Department, uses data from cloud-piercing satellites to track levels of dams in China and other countries.

The information will be available in near real-time starting Tuesday.