The planned construction of hydropowered dams on the Mekong River in South-East Asia could jeopardize livelihoods, water access, and food security for 60 million people across Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, according to a study.
The study reports that dams will block fish migration routes and decimate fish supplies in the lower Mekong region.
As fish dwindle, communities will have to look for alternative sources of protein, such as livestock and poultry. Raising these will require more land and water, and be prohibitively expensive.
“People talk about food security in relation to dams but we need to put the numbers to what that really means,” says Stuart Orr, freshwater manager at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International and co-author of the study published in the October issue of Global Environmental Change.