© WWF-Viet Nam / Cham Team
This report highlights how multi-billion-dollar industries and vital supply chains in the Mekong region, reliant on a healthy and connected Mekong river, are increasingly vulnerable to the negative impacts of hydropower development.

Risk or Reward: Hydropower Impacts on Supply Chains in the Mekong Basin unpacks how continued hydropower development jeopardizes five crucial regional supply chains: energy production, fisheries and aquaculture, rice production, sand mining, and textiles and electronics. Governments, investors, and businesses are urged to question the decision to pursue further high-impact hydropower development in the region, considering the substantial risks involved. 

The report’s findings — which span across the Lower Mekong region — provide policymakers, businesses, and investors with a new perspective to understand and explore supply chain risk beyond current framings, which often neglect the systemic, complex, and long-term nature of hydropower-related risks. Through a broader analysis of what’s at stake, the report calls for decision makers to anticipate, prepare for and mitigate these risks as they continue to arise in the coming decades. 

The Mekong's recent economic growth, while impressive, has not come without significant environmental and social repercussions. River infrastructure development has disrupted the Mekong’s natural processes, negatively impacting economic productivity and biodiversity. The report highlights that the fisheries and aquaculture industry, which is among the hardest hit sectors, is estimated to face financial losses of up to US$21 billion with a potential decline in Mekong fisheries of 30-40 per cent. Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake alone is facing 40-57% production losses by 2030. 

The report is launched ahead of the World Hydropower Congress (31 October - 2 November 2023), where more than 1,000 decision makers, innovators and experts from industry, governments, finance, civil society and academia are expected to gather for high-level policy dialogue to “influence the global growth of hydropower.