The water level of the Mekong river has dropped considerably in the last few months, affecting irrigation and making navigation difficult. For instance, a trip for cargo boats from Savannakhet to the Thai Province of Mukdahan, which ordinarily crosses the Mekong in a 1-km distance, now has to make a 10-km detour.
A factor causing the drop in the Mekong level is the building of dams in Southern China. Chinese authorities release the water only when their cargo boats need to travel down south.
The drop in the water level has also resulted in the drop in fishermen's catches, which are down 50% from 2005.
For more details, listen to our Laos Today report.