Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2024-96
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2024-96
24 Apr 2024
 | 24 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

On the Cause of Large Daily River Flow Fluctuations in the Mekong River

Khosro Morovati, Lidi Shi, Yadu Pokhrel, Maozhu Wu, Paradis Someth, Sarann Ly, and Fuqiang Tian

Abstract. Natural fluctuations in river flow are central to the ecosystem productivity of basins, yet significant alterations in daily flows pose threats to the integrity of the hydrological, ecological, and agricultural systems. In the dammed Mekong River, the attribution of these large daily flow changes to upstream regions remains mechanistically unexamined, a factor blamed on challenges in estimating the time required for large daily shifts in upstream river flow to impact the downstream regions. Here, we address this by integrating a newly developed sub-basin modeling framework that incorporates 3D hydrodynamic, response time, and hydrological models. This integration allows us to estimate the time required between two hydrological stations and to distinguish the contribution of sub-basins and upstream regions to large daily river flow alterations. Findings revealed a power correlation between river discharge and the required time to reach downstream stations. Significant fluctuations in the river's daily flow were evident before the advent of the era of human activities, i.e., before 1992. This phenomenon persisted throughout subsequent periods, including the growth period from 1992 to 2009 and the mega-dam period spanning from 2010 to 2020, with minimal variation in the frequency of events. Sub-basins were found to significantly contribute to mainstream discharge- a contribution which led to a significant contribution of sub-basins into mainstream daily large river flow shifts. The outcomes and model derived from the sub-basin approach hold significant potential for managing river fluctuations and have broader applicability beyond the specific basin studied.

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Khosro Morovati, Lidi Shi, Yadu Pokhrel, Maozhu Wu, Paradis Someth, Sarann Ly, and Fuqiang Tian

Status: open (until 28 Jun 2024)

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Khosro Morovati, Lidi Shi, Yadu Pokhrel, Maozhu Wu, Paradis Someth, Sarann Ly, and Fuqiang Tian
Khosro Morovati, Lidi Shi, Yadu Pokhrel, Maozhu Wu, Paradis Someth, Sarann Ly, and Fuqiang Tian

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Short summary
This study addresses the regional contribution of the transboundary dammed Mekong River to daily large river flow fluctuations. Regional studies for cross-border rivers hold significant importance for regional water resource management and provide insights into how regional human activities and climate change influence the mainstream flow. The developed sub-basin approach holds significant potential for managing river fluctuations and have broader applicability beyond the specific basin studied.