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MRC says wet season to start earlier than expected this year

Soldiers helping a farmer in harvesting paddy affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province. Many hope that this year’s rain would not wreak havoc like last year. Supplied

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) forecasted Monday that the current dry season would be wetter than the last two seasons while the wet season would start earlier this year.

“This year’s dry season will be wetter than in 2019 and 2020, with the rainy season likely to begin in early May. Normally, the monsoon rains begin in late May and end in October,” the MRC said in a statement released in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

The statement also said that water levels in some sections of the Mekong had increased slightly over the past week.

Outflow from the Jinghong hydrological station in China was 1,020 cubic metres per second on Monday, up from 786 cubic metres a week earlier, it said.

In the Lower Mekong, the increase was more apparent in northern Thailand and Lao PDR but “less discernible” further downstream including at Kampong Cham of Cambodia.

The statement noted that China’s Ministry of Water Resources said earlier this month that the outflow at Jinghong had consistently exceeded 1,000 cubic metres per second since the end of January.

“This discrepancy between outflow estimates may be due to the use of different methods to calculate discharges at the Jinghong station,” the statement said.

The Chinese ministry and the MRC secretariat “are now working together to provide more consistent water discharge information,” it added.

In October last year, China agreed to provide the MRC with year-round hydrological data from stations at Jinghong on the mainstream and Manan on a tributary.

“However, the agreement covers data on water levels, not discharge,” the MRC said. Sao Da – AKP

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