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Article

Water Quality Degradation in the Lower Mekong Basin

1
Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
2
Graduate School, Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear, No. 157, Preah Norodom Blvd., Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh 12300, Cambodia
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Wonders of the Mekong Project, c/o IFReDI, Fisheries Administration, No. 186, Preah Norodom Blvd., Khan Chamkar Morn, Phnom Penh 12300, Cambodia
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Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute (IFReDI), Fisheries Administration, No. 186, Preah Norodom Blvd., Khan Chamkar Morn, Phnom Penh 12300, Cambodia
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Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Russian Boulevard, Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia
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Department of Biology and Global Water Center, University of Nevada, 1664 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89557, USA
7
Ecology Center, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jesús R. Aboal
Water 2021, 13(11), 1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111555
Received: 19 April 2021 / Revised: 25 May 2021 / Accepted: 26 May 2021 / Published: 31 May 2021
The Mekong River is one of the world’s largest rivers, unparalleled in terms of its biodiversity and ecosystem services. As in other regions, sufficient water quality is required to support diverse organisms, habitats, and ecosystems, but in the Mekong region, water quality has not been well studied. Based on biological and physical-chemical data collected over the last two decades, we evaluated spatial-temporal water quality of the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) using biotic and abiotic assessment metrics. We found that during the 2000s, water quality in the LMB was unpolluted, with “very good” metrics for tributary rivers and “good” status for mainstem rivers. However, during the last decade, water quality has been degraded in the LMB, particularly near Vientiane City; the Sekong, Sesan, and Srepok (3S) Rivers; the Tonle Sap Lake system; and the Mekong Delta. Water quality degradation likely corresponds to flow alteration, erosion, sediment trapping, and point and non-point wastewater, which have occurred from rapid hydropower development, deforestation, intensive agriculture, plastic pollution, and urbanization. Regular biomonitoring, physical-chemical water quality assessment, transparent data sharing, and basin-wide water quality standards or management are needed to sustain water quality to support biodiversity and ecosystem function in the LMB. View Full-Text
Keywords: water quality monitoring and assessment; macroinvertebrates; water quality index; BMWP score; Prati index; 3S Rivers; Tonle Sap Lake; water pollution water quality monitoring and assessment; macroinvertebrates; water quality index; BMWP score; Prati index; 3S Rivers; Tonle Sap Lake; water pollution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sor, R.; Ngor, P.B.; Soum, S.; Chandra, S.; Hogan, Z.S.; Null, S.E. Water Quality Degradation in the Lower Mekong Basin. Water 2021, 13, 1555. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111555

AMA Style

Sor R, Ngor PB, Soum S, Chandra S, Hogan ZS, Null SE. Water Quality Degradation in the Lower Mekong Basin. Water. 2021; 13(11):1555. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111555

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sor, Ratha, Peng B. Ngor, Savoeurn Soum, Sudeep Chandra, Zeb S. Hogan, and Sarah E. Null 2021. "Water Quality Degradation in the Lower Mekong Basin" Water 13, no. 11: 1555. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111555

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