The Importance of The Mekong River of Southeast Asia

Mekong River is located in Southeast of Asia and is the 12th longest river in the world runs across six countries covering an incredible distance of 2703 miles and is the 7th longest river in Asia. The river is not only a monumental water source but also a source of life for over 60 million people who co-exist and largely depend on it for both food and water. Among the six countries it cuts across China, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam Laos and Cambodia.

Here are some of the importances of Mekong River.

Trade route

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Making river has been an important trade route to the Chinese people. It’s commonly known as Lancing. As the river meanders from Qinghai, its source, to the lower basin of Yunnan, it connects china to the rest of South East Asia. Annually the river carries over 300,000 tones of goods that are shipped between Bangkok and Kunming ports. If the waters of the Mekong River happen to reduce by fifty percent, there is a significant drop in terms of goods for the first half of the sequent year. This best explains what Mekong River means to the Chinese people.(image by mekong69).

Water for drinking and recreation

Mekong River is a source of clean water to the people of this country. Asia being in desert like conditions doesn’t have enough water reservoirs to cater for the millions of population, in this regard; Mekong River comes in handy as it provides the people and their animals with clean water. It has also fish which some communities that live along the river banks heavily rely on as a source of food and income. People have also used the river as a recreation facility for many years, in hot afternoons you will most likely find a good number of people swimming at designated areas along the riverbank.


Asia is a dry region; most Asian countries generally depend on crops for food with rice being the most important type of food. For many years, rice has been these countries source of food, income and prosperity. Mekong River is actually their backbone, we know that rice best does well in paddy fields, it also require a lot of water to grow, Mekong River has faithfully been providing plenty and adequate water to these regions, this has made it possible for the habitants to grow rice all year round. Asia has been exporting its rice to foreign countries and will continue to export as long as Mekong River still flows.

Hydroelectric power

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Mekong River has also been harnessed to produce hydroelectric power in most countries, In China Lower Mekong Basin, the river produces over 30,000 MW, other countries are also producing more power and this has been an important source of clean energy. Dams constructed behind the power plants have also helped to reduce flooding in the lower parts of the river.(image by NEMW Institute Upper Mississippi).

Mekong River has been a great blessing to the Asian countries, other than linking many nations; it has ensured there’s enough crops and clean drinking water for people and animals. During the dry seasons, irrigation activities are however reduced so that people living downstream the river can still access adequate water. You might consider visiting Asia the next time you are on vacation and see this great historic river.


Related post:5 Unique Facts about Temples of the Mayan Tribes in Central America

Feature image by four12

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