2 JAXA closure edit4

MRC and Japan wraps up ‘Space Application for Environment’ Prototype Initiative

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 3rd Aug 2017

The Lower Mekong Basin is at greater risk to climate change with extreme weather events such as typhoons and heat waves and is also more vulnerable to floods and droughts that can affect people’s livelihoods and reduce agricultural productivity, especially in the downstream catchments of the Mekong River. While future impact of climate change is difficult to forecast, projections for the Mekong River Basin, like flood and drought forecasting, is paramount.

In 2015, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Earth Observation Research Center (EORC) partnered in a joint initiative that deployed satellite and space technologies to estimate rainfall, soil moisture and groundwater recharge. These tools and data would support decision-making on transboundary catchments in the Lower Mekong Basin, and can be further applied in various technical programs of the MRC.

The SAFE (Space Application for Environment) prototype project in conjunction with MRC’s Integrated Knowledge Management Programme, was tasked to examine, research and make recommendations about deploying the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) as a means for quantitative rainfall estimation with proper correction methods for areas in the Lower Mekong Basin. The project also introduced the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to estimate soil moisture and groundwater recharge and verified the estimated soil moisture data by comparing it with other data and other measuring methods. The project originally identified three catchment areas where data was lacking but later changed to focus on one large area stretching between Chiang Saen to Luang Prabang (due to MRC restructuring).

Flooding in Vientiane 2008“The SAFE prototype has been introduced at the right time when data was most needed, and has been quite successful at providing the much-needed data and enhancing the information we already had on hand to build up our knowledge base” said Dr Pham Tuan Phan, MRC Chief Executive Officer.

The SAFE prototype project recently wrapped up after a workshop and training session in Vientiane on 19-21 July 2017.

The closure meeting heard about results and achievements of the SAFE project, including technical details and outcomes of the research. There were also hands-on training exercises carried out, where participants from the MRC Secretariat, the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan, International Center for Water Hazard and Risk Management, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (Japan) and other organizations were shown how to measure GSMaP rainfall adjustments by using rain gauge data and another where they learned about GSMaP data conversion for SWAT modelling.

The meeting proved to be a productive forum where participants could discuss future technical cooperation between MRC and JAXA that would lead to improved flood forecasting, drought monitoring, and flood risk reduction.


Latest News

MRC supports Laos in advancing national climate change adaptation planning

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) strongly supports Lao PDR in the country’s endeavor to advance its national climate change adaption planning, says an MRC Secretariat official.

Germany commits EUR 4 million to strengthen Mekong transboundary water cooperation

The government of Germany has committed EUR four million (approximately US$ 4.6 million) to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to strengthen Mekong cross-border water cooperation...

Stakeholder forum debates proposed Pak Lay project, recommends steps to strengthen basin planning in the Mekong

A two-day regional stakeholder forum on the proposed Pak Lay hydropower project and other ongoing initiatives comes to a close today. The forum, convened by the Mekong River Commission

Op-ed: MRC encourages all stakeholders to contribute to Pak Lay prior consultation process

On Thursday the Mekong River Commission will host its 5th Regional Stakeholder Forum to give all stakeholders the opportunity to discuss, provide, and exchange views on planned and proposed hydropower projects on the Mekong River mainstream...

Media advisory: Invitation to MRC regional stakeholder forum on Pak Lay’s prior consultation process and related work on hydropower

Interested members of the media are invited to cover the MRC regional stakeholder forum on the Pak Lay's prior consultation process...

Media Contact

For media inquires, please contact:
Sopheak Meas: sopheak@mrcmekong.org
Le Thi Huong Lien: huonglien@mrcmekong.org or
mrcmedia@mrcmekong.org or view the Contact page here