Articles | Volume 26, issue 9
Research article
05 May 2022
Research article |  | 05 May 2022

Satellite observations reveal 13 years of reservoir filling strategies, operating rules, and hydrological alterations in the Upper Mekong River basin

Dung Trung Vu, Thanh Duc Dang, Stefano Galelli, and Faisal Hossain

Data sets

Codes and Data of Satellite Observations Reveal 13 Years of Reservoir Filling Strategies, Operating Rules, and Hydrological Alterations in the Upper Mekong River Basin D. T. Vu

Dam Monitoring EGAT - Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand

CHIRPS: Rainfall Estimation from Rain Gauge and Satellite Observation University of California

Harmonized World Soil Database (version 1.2) FAO, IIASA, ISRIC, ISSCAS, and JRC

Global Reservoirs and Lakes Monitor (G-REALM) IPAD, FAS, and USDA

Short summary
The lack of data on how big dams are operated in the Upper Mekong, or Lancang, largely contributes to the ongoing controversy between China and the other Mekong countries. Here, we rely on satellite observations to reconstruct monthly storage time series for the 10 largest reservoirs in the Lancang. Our analysis shows how quickly reservoirs were filled in, what decisions were made during recent droughts, and how these decisions impacted downstream discharge.