Population is growing in the relatively unregulated Mekong River basin, and demands for hydropower and food are increasing. The basin has prospered but the poorest have not shared the benefits. Agricultural production is keeping up with rising food demand, but capture fisheries are unlikely to increase production, threatening the supply of animal protein in people’s diets. National governments decide water issues unilaterally, with weak transnational institutions and limited public participation. Growing pressures, exacerbated by climate change, will likely increase tensions over access to water, reinforcing perceptions of institutional failure and stimulating demands for improved governance.
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