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Water 2018, 10(7), 846;

Water and Suspended Sediment Budgets in the Lower Mekong from High-Frequency Measurements (2009–2016)

School of Maritime Economics and Technology, Ba Ria-Vung Tau University, 84254 Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Vietnam
LEGOS, Univ. Toulouse, IRD, CNRS, CNES, 14 av. E.-Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
Department of Water Environment Oceanography, University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH), 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, 100000 Hanoi, Vietnam
Cuu Long River Hydrological Center, Southern Regional Hydro-Meteorological Center (SRHMC), 84282 Can Tho, Vietnam
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2018 / Revised: 8 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 26 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Asia, with Focus on the Mekong Region)
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Based on a new dataset of high temporal resolution of water discharge (hourly frequency) and suspended sediment concentration (twice daily frequency at ebb and flood tides) at Can Tho and My Thuan stations during the 2009–2016 period, monthly and annual flow and suspended sediment flux of the lower Mekong River were calculated. The present water discharge of the Mekong River to the sea can be estimated to be 400 km3 yr−1, +/− 100 km3 yr−1 depending on El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and the present sediment supply to the sea can be estimated to be 40 Mt yr−1, +/− 20 Mt yr−1 depending on ENSO. The ENSO influence (proxied by the Southern Oscillation Index—SOI) on Q (water discharge) and Qs (sediment flux) is at maximum at a time lag of 8–9 months. The 2010–2011 La Niña event increased the water supply by almost 30% and the sediment supply by 55% in 2011. The 2015–2016 El Niño event decreased the water supply by 20% and the sediment supply by 50% in 2015–2016. The average net water discharge was 12,550 m3 s−1 in neutral years. The Tien River at My Thuan accounted for ~52%, and the Hau River at Can Tho for ~48% of the total Mekong River discharge, with small variations (of the order 1%) amongst years. In terms of suspended sediment delivery to the sea, the Tien River accounted for a more variable portion of 55% in neutral years, 57.3% in 2015–2016 (El Niño) and 62% in 2011 (La Niña). 80% of water discharge occurred during the flood season (July–December) and 20% occurred in the low flow season (January–June), the proportion being 91% and 9% for the sediment supply. Previous estimates of annual sediment supplies to the sea (145–160 Mt yr−1) had been established before 2003. Possible origins of the recent reduction by ~75% of sediment supply are presented and discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mekong; river discharge; suspended sediment; dams; Tien River; Hau River; ENSO; El Niño; La Niña Mekong; river discharge; suspended sediment; dams; Tien River; Hau River; ENSO; El Niño; La Niña

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Thi Ha, D.; Ouillon, S.; Van Vinh, G. Water and Suspended Sediment Budgets in the Lower Mekong from High-Frequency Measurements (2009–2016). Water 2018, 10, 846.

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