The Tale of Two Rivers: Mekong and Columbia

Courtesy of WaterWired, an interesting comparison of how the Mekong River is managed across political boundaries to the Columbia River (which some consider as being ‘backwards’ from the Mekong in that the larger, more powerful country (hegemon) is the downstream riparian).  As the report notes:


A few days ago we hosted visitors from the four Lower Mekong River basin countries:Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. They were on the last leg of a State Department-sponsored USA visit and were interested in the kinds of work we were doing that would be relevant to their issues. They were especially interested in those of us who are/were working in the Mekong Basin, China, and in the Columbia Basin….

…The four countries formed the Mekong River Commission in 1995. The other basin states, Burma (Myanmar) and China, are not members of the MRC but have cooperated as Dialogue Partners since 1996.

The four lower basin riparians are keenly interested in China’s desire to construct dams on the Upper Mekong and the dams’ potential downstream effects; four of eight have been constructed. There are also issues facing Lower Mekong dams as well; here is a recent article.

One of our presenters was Patrick MacQuarrie, an OSU doctoral student putting the finishingOperations-ColBasinMap touches on his dissertation.   He distributed copies of his research overview and Power Point presentation on comparisons between the Mekong and the Columbia, especially regarding conflict prevention and resiliency,  his dissertation topic. He gave me permission to post the handouts:

I was keenly interested in such a comparison, since I always think of the Columbia being ‘backwards’ from the Mekong in that the larger, more powerful country (hegemon) is the downstream riparian.

MacQuarrie told me an nteresting story. He related how hard it had been to convince his doctoral committee that his research topic had merit. A week after he succeeded in doing so, he learned that a delegation from the Mekong River basin was en route to Portland to learn about the Columbia basin and potential similarities to their situation. So he felt vindicated…”

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at 10:11 am and is filed under Mekong River.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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