Cambodia and Thailand have the fewest infrastructure projects on the Mekong or its tributaries among the four member countries of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). According to the commission, there are a total of 61 projects on the tributaries and the main body of one of the world's longest rivers.

The Mekong has a total length of 4,350km, originating from the Tibetan plateau and flowing through six countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Within MRC member countries – Thailand, Laos, Cambodia  and Vietnam – the river spans 3,663km.

It flows 1,982km through Laos, 968km in Thailand, 489km in Cambodia and 224km in Vietnam, according to updated data from the MRC obtained by The Post.

According to the information, Thailand has the fewest infrastructure projects connected to Mekong tributaries, with just two: the Sri Song Rak floodgates, which store water during the rainy season for dry season use, and the Huai Luang river basin development project, which prevents flooding and drought in Udon Thani and Nong Khai provinces.

In Cambodia, only three have been developed, with the Funan Techo Canal project set to become the fourth. The canal will link to the Bassac River, a tributary of the Mekong.

Existing projects include the Vaico Irrigation Development project in Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces, which sources water from the river; the Lower Sesan II hydropower project in Stung Treng province (built on a tributary); and the Neak Loeung bridge project.

Laos has the largest number of projects on Mekong tributaries and its main body, with a total of 40, 37 of which involve hydropower. Additionally, eight of these projects are on the river itself.

Vietnam has a total of 15 projects on the Mekong, including 11 hydropower stations and two bridges.

While Cambodia is set to break ground on the Funan Techo Canal in less than two months, Vietnam has raised concerns about its water usage and environmental impacts, with some critics linking it to geopolitical issues. However, the government has allayed these concerns.

Kin Phea, president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s Institute of International Relations, said Vietnam should not be worried because Cambodia has few projects compared to Laos and Vietnam itself. He added that the canal is located on a tributary of the Mekong only.

He stated that Cambodia has the sovereignty to undertake projects within its territory and that this venture will enhance the country’s political and logistical independence.

Phea added that Cambodia has never hindered project development in the other three MRC countries.

"So I think Vietnam should not be too worried. There should be enthusiasm that Cambodia can develop into an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050. This economic potential will have a positive effect on neighbouring countries,” he said.

The 180-kilometre canal, worth $1.7 billion, is scheduled to open on August 5, with 51 per cent of financing coming from local investors.