- Astronomy - Oct 21 Second research flight into zero gravity
- Astronomy - Oct 20 Long- term, hi-res tracking of eruptions on Jupiter’s moon Io
- History - Oct 20 Peabody invites you to its birthday bash on Saturday
- Earth Sciences - Oct 19 Underground Science: Berkeley Lab Digs Deep For Clean Energy Solutions
- Earth Sciences - Oct 14 Planavsky wins 2016 Packard Fellowship for research on oceans
- Astronomy - Oct 13 Buried glaciers on Mars
- Earth Sciences - Oct 13 Researchers capture Central Asia’s ’de- greening’ over millions of years
- Earth Sciences - Oct 12 What to expect from Schiaparelli’s camera
- Environment - Oct 12 Time machine? study warns of long- term dangers of ocean acidification
- Environment - Oct 11 Synergy of art and science? at Yosemite highlighted in Yale Art Gallery exhibit
- Environment - Oct 10 Climate change impacts on Menominee nation’s forest home focus of NSF funding
- Environment - Oct 10 Climate refuges identified for endangered snow leopards
- Earth Sciences - Oct 6 Uranium levels in deep sea coral reveal new insights into how the major northern ice sheets retreated
- Life Sciences - Oct 6 New species of Jurassic reptile identified from skeletal remains on display in Bristol
- Earth Sciences - Oct 5 $4M grant funds new UW RAPID Facility to investigate natural disasters worldwide
- History - Oct 5 ï»¿King's announces new exhibition: Traces of War
Could the Mekong’s water destabilise Asia?
South-East Asian nations surrounding the Lower Mekong Basin should put construction of hydro-electric dams on the Mekong River on hold if they want to avoid a human security disaster more reminiscent of sub-Saharan Africa than modern Asia, a University of Sydney PhD candidate researching the impact of hydro-electric development on the river says.
In a paper published by the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies , Chris Baker calls for a holistic approach, assessing dams for their impact on the entire Mekong Basin rather than looking only at their effect on individual states.
The paper Dams, Power and Security in the Mekong says proliferation of dams could destroy the livelihoods of millions, devastate the economies of Cambodia and Vietnam, and force many to migrate: "The social ramification of such migration is often resentment in the receiving communities against new arrivals. There is documented evidence of this exacerbating ethnic or political tensions leading to violent conflict."
"The forced relocation of hundreds of thousands in the Mekong Basin, similar to that witnessed with the removal of 1.4 million people during construction of the Three Gorges’ Dam in China, is just the beginning," adds Baker, a student at the University’s Centre for International Security Studies.
"In the longer term, the havoc wrought on fisheries and the impact on agriculture brought about by these dams is likely to create a food security catastrophe."
Baker assessed the impact of the Mekong’s current and proposed hydro-electric dams on regional security and wants South-East Asian nations to heed a call for a 10-year moratorium on new dams.
Baker says the "hydropower gold-rush" sweeping the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) - running through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam - is a serious threat to the peace and stability of the region. If continued unabated it raises the spectre of chaos like that of the Arab Spring.
His fieldwork took him around South-East Asia, most significantly to Central Laos where he witnessed first-hand the impacts of the Nam Thuen 2 dam. His paper also closely examines the controversial Xayaburi dam and the impact of 10 mainstream hydro-projects. Giving these dams the thumbs up will result in even more hydro-electric dams down the track putting the Mekong, its resources and its people under vast pressure.
The contentious Xayaburi dam, which has reportedly already begun construction in secret, would block the Mekong with a 49m high, 830m long dam wall. Baker says the environmental impact assessment for the dam is extremely weak, looking at a distance of only 10km downstream. No assessment of bank erosion, downstream hydrology, migratory fish and sediment loads - which would impact fish, fertiliser and water quality - has been made.
"Once they start building on the lower mainstream there will be little to stop a ’tragedy of the commons’, in which dams turn the Mekong into a reservoir up to 3000km long. If that happens millions of people will be affected."
Baker says, when measured against their electricity output, the cost of building the Lower Mekong mainstream dams is unduly high.
These dams would be "highly risky and experimental at best, reckless and irresponsible at worst," Baker observes in his paper. "The worst-case scenario could mean basin-wide losses of over a quarter of a trillion US dollars."
Baker’s research was done as part of a Fellowship with the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia. He will present his findings relating to migration at an ASEAN -commissioned water security conference in Thailand this weekend.
Last job offers
- Earth Sciences - 5.10
Projektleiter/in geologische Langzeitentwicklung
- Earth Sciences - 20.10
Postdoctoral Fellow in Human Geography or Equivalent
- Earth Sciences - 18.10
Assistant Professor in Structural Geology (0.8 - 1.0 FTE tenure track)
- Earth Sciences - 18.10
Professur für Regionale Geographie
- Earth Sciences - 18.10
Professur für Regionale Geographie II
- Earth Sciences - 1.9
Research Associate (Fixed Term) - Mineralogy / Petrology/Isotope Geochemistry
- Earth Sciences - 31.1
Research Associate / Senior Research Associate in Geographical Information Systems
- Earth Sciences - 7.9
Tenure & Tenure Track Positions