The Mekong River summit has recently convened leaders from all 6 riparian nations. This is a big step forward in terms of regional cooperation & dialogue, and should be viewed as an important event.
I have been curious how the demand for water breaks down within the basin, both by nation and activity. Specifically, relative to the whole flow of the river, which activities use the most water?
According to the Mekong River Commission (from a document they published in 2004), 80% of all water abstractions are agricultural in nature in the Lower Mekong Basin (comprised of Lao PDR, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia). This suggests the potential for enormous water savings through the development of rice varieties that are tolerant to pests and drought.
The discussion of water security in the Mekong Basin, is implicitly tied to food security. It is in the best interests of the MRC nations to examine the largest water demand activity in the LMB, and focus their actions accordingly.