21 Apr 2010

China's so-called friends

China's dams on the Mekong worry neighbors. The Chinese -- as people everywhere -- will use up all that "extra" supply, the environment will suffer, and the situration will return to the that of "emergency" status quo ante -- something that also worries Peter Gleick. It would be better if the Chinese recognized that everyone "shares" the river (as is the case with the Colorado River Compact, flawed though it may be), but don't count on China respecting the rights of its downstream neighbors.

Bottom Line: Those who have power should not abuse it: They rarely get what they want, and they may get a lot worse.

1 comment:

  1. China is worth the worry in the region, but consider two things:
    1. only about 15% of the total flow of the Mekong comes from China. On the surface, that's a relief, but b/c of the timing and location of those flows, China, with existing and planned dams, could effectively control Mekong baseflow. The implications are rich.
    2. There are people in China working for more equitable water policies within, but from a policy perspective, one question: If China decides not to play, what happens? It'd be like my little brother telling me I'd better stop (doing whatever) or he's gonna,...he's gonna...tell on me?
    Sad, true. Unjust, yes. But I can't see another reality. Can you?


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