Extracted from the Inventory of Conflict and Environment (ICE) website. For more information about the Mekong flood plain please go there.
Through a unique natural process, the Tonle Sap, which is fairly small and shallow for the most of the year, increases in size and volume almost nine-fold during the monsoon season when the Mekong floods and pushes water into the lake. Due to its rich biodiversity, the Tonle Sap floodplain is one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world, supporting over 3 million people and providing at least 60% of the Cambodians’ protein intake.
The problem is further complicated by the overall decline of the Mekong River, caused by adverse human interference and climate change. While exact origins of the Mekong have not been identified, it is known that its source lies somewhere in the mountains of Tibet. Every spring, when the ice melts the resulting water flows into the river, replenishing it. With Asia becoming hotter and drier as a consequence of climate change, the glaciers that provide Mekong’s water may diminish with time, supplying less and less water with each consequent year. Such decline in water supply at the source, exacerbated by excessive demands imposed on the Mekong’s flow by filling of dam basins, may lead to severe deterioration of the Tonle Sap and its biosphere.
Here are some pictures to show you what the flood plains look like when they are flooded. These pics were taken on the way back from the 'fishing village'. In the dry season, these would just be open land, some being cultivated with padi.