Salween, Nujiang or Nu River

Length 2,800 Km
Basin size 271,914 Km2
Population 6 million
Population density 22 people/ Km2
Key economic activity Fishing and agriculture
Key threats 16 proposed large dams, ineffective institutions and governance. Political instability and ongoing civil war exacerbate key threats
Importance
The Salween river basin is more than twice the size of England, the 2nd largest river basin in southeast Asia and one of the last free-flowing international rivers in Asia.

Location
Shared by China, Myanmar (formally Burma) and Thailand, 6 million people live in the Salween watershed and depend on the river for their livelihoods, dietary protein, and nutrient rich food particularly during the dry season.

The Salween flows from the Tibetan Plateau adjacent to the Mekong and the Yangtze, in the “Three Parallel Rivers” World Heritage area, at the epicentre of biodiversity in China.

People
In the upper Salween’s Nujiang Prefecture in China, 92% of the population consists of ethnic and religious minorities. Along the Thai and Myanmar border, there are over 13 ethnic groups living in traditional communities on the river’s banks.

Currently, there is ample water per person.

Species
The Salween is home to 92 amphibian species, and 143 fish species of which 47 are found nowhere else in the world; 3 areas support endemic birds.

The Salween delta and associated wetlands support populations of the unique Fishing Cat, the Asian Small-clawed Otter and the Siamese Crocodile.

It has the world’s greatest diversity of turtles including the Giant Asian Pond Terrapin and Bigheaded Turtle.

On valley walls, terrestrial flora and fauna are well-maintained in often pristine conditions.

The Golden Eye Monkey, Small Panda, Wild Donkey of Dulong and Wild Ox still flourish in this basin.


For references please download the pdf of the report
 / ©: WWF
Salween River Map
© WWF
Threat to the River: Infrastructure / ©: WWF
Threat to the River: Infrastructure
© WWF
 Siamese crocodile, Thailand. / ©: WWF-Canon / Gerald S. CUBITT
Siamese crocodile, Thailand.
© WWF-Canon / Gerald S. CUBITT

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required