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China renews data-sharing initiative with the MRC

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
An Pich Hatda and Yu Xingjun sign the agreement. MRC

China will continue to share hydrological data with the Mekong River Commission in order to contribute to river monitoring and flood forecasting in member countries, including Cambodia.

In a statement issued on Friday, the MRC said An Pich Hatda, CEO of the MRC Secretariat, renewed a data-sharing agreement with Yu Xingjun, director-general of China’s Ministry of Water Resources, in Beijing on Wednesday.

It noted that China has shared water-level and rainfall data with the MRC’s Lancang and Manan hydrological stations over the past 16 years during every flood season, which lands between June and October, and that the agreement will allow the data sharing initiative to continue.

“The near real-time data provided by China has enabled the MRC member countries Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to strengthen their river water-level monitoring and improve the accuracy of flood forecasting, as well as mitigate the negative effects of flooding,” the MRC said.

Mr Yu said during the signing ceremony for the agreement that China places great importance to cooperation with the MRC under the principle of friendly consultations and mutual benefit.

“We recognise that timely and reliable hydrological information in the flood season is crucial to effective and scientific decision-making in flood management and mitigation in the Mekong river,” he said.

According to the statement, the MRC and China first agreed to share data in 2002 and renewed cooperation in 2008 and 2013. It added that China has been a dialogue partner since 1996 and that it has also agreed to share urgent information on any abnormal rise and fall in water level and discharge, as well as other information on factors that could lead to sudden flood in the lower parts of the basin.

Mr Pich Hatda said the agreement is another milestone in MRC-China cooperation.

He said that the renewal signifies China’s and MRC’s commitment in continuing their work and increase cooperation.

“The availability of information will also enable the MRC to better undertake its role of providing objective and scientific analyses of flood and drought events and improve understanding of the Mekong river basin,” he said. “We will build on the success of this cooperation in elevating further engagement with China.”

Te Navuth, permanent vice chairman of Cambodia’s National Mekong Committee, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Chan Youttha, spokesman for the Water Resources and Meteorology Ministry, yesterday said Cambodia and other countries in the world are affected by the El Nino phenomenon, which brings drought and less rain.

Mr Youttha noted that rainfall would increase the water level at the Tonle Bassac-Chaktomuk water station to 9.50 metres, which is good for the agriculture sector.

“Overall, according to our forecast this year, our Mekong river water in Chaktomuk could reach 9.5 metres, which is good for our agriculture sector – and the water can also be used in the future,” he said.

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