Discharge and Sediment Monitoring Project

Development Partners:


140x140 Locations of existing and former discharge measurement stations on the lower Mekong River

The current data available at MRCS is used for analyses on fluvial geomorphology and climate change processes in the Mekong basin and in addition, the development pressure and climate change are obligated to have update data and information in order to minimize or damage causing by those man activities and calamity.

The main objectives are to collect, compile and provide accurate and reliable water level, discharge and suspended sediment transport data at stations along the Mekong River and Bassac River in the Mekong Basin, as approved by the MRC Joint Committee in 2004, to improve rating curves and to quantify suspended sediment transport at stations in the Mekong region. The project is managed under the Information and Knowledge Management Programme (IKMP) in the Technical Support Division (TSD) of the MRC Secretariat. It is to ensure that all data collected basin wide are securely available in timely manner at the Office of the Secretariat in Phnom Penh (OSP) and the Office of the Secretariat in Vientiane (OSV). Each country is responsible for the implementing activities of its part of the system with the support and co-ordination of the MRC. The project started in 2010 and made very good progress and enhanced collaboration with MRC Members Country and within the LMB. The main implementations of the project activities were focused on discharge and sediment transport measurements in the mainstream and to a lesser extend in the tributaries. The project will be finalized by June 2014 and therefore a final evaluation of the entire project's scope will be performed.

The main project components and outcomes are:

  • Regular discharge measurements on selected sites (cross-sections)
  • Regular sediment sampling (suspended, bedload and bed material) – at the same sites,
  • Detailed bathymetric survey (river morphology) at one of the proposed mainstream dam sites,
  • Providing equipment for the measurement and sampling activities,
  • Providing equipment to sediment labs,
  • Capacity building with an emphasis at the Line Agency Level of the Member Countries.
Each country is responsible for the operation and maintenance of its equipment and undertaking of the measurement and sampling activities with the support and co-ordination of the MRC.

Discharge and Sediment data collection is a core activity of the Mekong River Commission since the Mekong Committee was established in 1957. This activity has provided a significant amount of basic data and information for the purpose of project development, design, operation and includes researches and other studies. In addition, the analysis of data will strengthen the understanding of the fluvial geomorphology and climate change processes in the Mekong basin.

For a number of years, the AFD and the FFEM have contributed to several programmes run by the Mekong River Commission (MRC). As a result of the agreement, the DSMP has started since 2009 under financial support by FFEM/AFD and financial support framework of Government of Finland to IKMP. The part proposed for AFD funding via the FFEM was implemented on:

  1. Understanding of fluvial geomorphology and climate change
  2. Tools and procedures for guiding development of hydro power
  3. Capacity Building
  4. Project Management
  5. Monitoring and evaluation

The Finish fund has been used mainly for data collection and supported for some specific training. Under the financial agreement between MRCS and FFEM/AFD and financial support framework of Government of Finland to IKMP as well as the 9th PCC and the coordination meeting held on April 19, it is necessary for the IKMP Sediment Monitoring Project to continue its discharge and sediment monitoring activities in mainstream gauging stations from 2009 onward.

140x140 Field monitoring team
140x140 ‘New’ D96 being deployed

140x140 Suspended sediment sampling jars which need to be replaced with larger volume containers
140x140 Bed material samples from the Mekong River

140x140 ADCP instrument to power sampling winch
140x140 Current meter and sounding weight