Population Health

August 7, 2019

Food security of Cambodians threatened by hydropower demands

Image of fishing platforms on a riverThe lower Mekong River Basin produces more than two million tons of fish annually, making it the largest freshwater fishery — and one of the most productive ecosystems — in the world. The basin also support a number of rice production powerhouses.

With a handful of new hydropower dams completed, and more than 135 either under construction or forthcoming, the Mekong’s waterways will soon be altered dramatically.

Cambodia in particular is especially vulnerable to changes in waterflow due to its location downstream from countries that are stakeholders in the hydropower business.

With support from a National Science Foundation grant, University of Washington researchers from the College of the Environment, College of Engineering and School of Public Health are racing to discover how changes to the Mekong will impact the future of both fish and rice and, ultimately, the Cambodian people.

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