Vientiane — The Mekong River Basin supports nearly 70 million people, providing energy, transport, tourism and other income-generating development opportunities. As climate and weather patterns become more volatile, flood and drought events in the Mekong have become more frequent and intense with growing potential to cause devastating damage to the region’s food security and economies. Those communities that were unprepared have suffered the most.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) plays a vital role in basin-wide river monitoring and flood and drought forecasting. The organisation has been working tirelessly to improve its information system to provide better access to the public, including not only the policy makers and academia but also ordinary Mekong people.
Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, CEO of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, shared: “The river monitoring and flood and drought forecasting data page revamp is a part of the effort from the Mekong River Commission to bring the vast amount of data and information about the Mekong River more timely and easily to the public. In addition, we will continue to make the forecasting work more advanced including with longer forecasting period to help Mekong people be effective in dealing with climate change events, especially the extreme climate events that can cause devastating impacts on communities and agricultural and natural ecosystems.”
In September 2022, the MRC’s Flood and Drought Forecast and Monitoring page has been revitalised since the last improvement in 2018 with a new interface and more user-friendly navigation. The upgraded page provides an immediate update and a comprehensive overview of the current status of river condition, river flood forecasting, risk of flash flood, drought forecast and rainfall distribution over the Lower Mekong River Basin.
People who live along the mainstream river like in Chiang Saen in Thailand, Vientiane in Laos, Phnom Penh in Cambodia or Tan Chau in Viet Nam, can now easily see the river conditions on the front page of the MRC website at www.mrcmekong.org. The “How to read” function on the page guides the users to use the data resources effectively and helps them reach the information they are looking for.
What will happen to the river in the next few days? Users can go to the tab of the “River flood forecast” to see whether the water level will go up or down in the upcoming week. Furthermore, they can click on the condition of each station to know more detailed stats and figures. River flood forecast is updated in the morning every day.
For flash flooding, districts at risk are marked in eye-catching colour on the interactive map. Although this is the wet season, drought can occur in selected parts of the basin. The information on drought conditions is being forecasted on a weekly basis. Finally, the rainfall distribution over the Basin is visualised from 144 hydrometeorological stations classified in different rainfall depths. — VNS