China and Laos Enhance the Cooperation on Water Concervancy - BeiDou Technology Helps Laos Improve Monitoring and Forecasting

Laos in June has entered into the rainy season, and while adequate precipitation brings coolness to the hot weather, the risk of meteorological disasters also increased. “When there is too much rainfall, the water levels of the Mekong River and its tributaries in Laos will rise, causing natural disasters such as floods and mudslides, as well as damages to agriculture, transportation and personnel safety”, said Khanmany Khounphonh, director of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Lao Ministry of National Resource and Environment, “I used to be extremely worried during the rainy season, but no more this year. As Laos and China goes increasingly deeper in the cooperation of meteorology and water conservancy under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework, Laos is in continual improvement regarding the abilities to cope with natural disasters and manage water resources.”

“The staff is working on real-time monitoring the Mekong River water level, collecting hydrological data every hour. Data collected automatically will be sent to the office’s computers via the electronic equipment in the hydrological station, having no longer to personally go to the river in rain carrying measuring tools,” the director of Laos National Water Information Data Center told the reporter.

Yipo introduced to the reporter while operating the computer, and a large electronic screen on the center data wall showed a panoramic view of the Mekong River in Laos. The cameras in the hydrological station can rotate 360 degrees, demonstrating all the data collected by the electronic equipment, including water level, flow rate and rainfall.

This work scene witnessed by the reporter took place in the Lao National Water Resource Information Data Center, which is not only the demonstration construction project assisted by the Chinese government, but also one of the early achievements of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation. It is reported that the center uses China’s leading design concepts and information technology, especially the forecasting system that combines the Internet of Things (IoT), BeiDou satellite communication technology, meteorology and hydrology, achieving automatic information collection, transmission and interconnection. Establishing the water resource information data center has primarily equipped Laos with abilities such as collecting and transmitting hydrological information data automatically, information processing, early warning and forecasting. It realizes the interconnection of the water resource network and improves fundamentally the ability and level of hydrological resource’s monitoring, early warning and forecasting, providing Laos with decision and technical support in flood control, drought and disaster reduction, and comprehensive utilization of water resources.

“China has helped Laos in installing the first set of equipment in the Vientiane Hydrological Station, and is now installing the second set in Luang Phabang. Not only the Chinese government supports us in equipment, but the Chinese technical staff also patiently teaches us how to operate, reserving a large number of database ports in the program to lay a solid foundation for the future development of water conservancy in Laos”, Khanmany told the reporter.

Thongloun Sisoulith, prime minister of Laos, said in the launching ceremony of the Chinese government assisting the Lao National Water Resource Information Data Center in February that, “China has provided highly valuable assistance, and the profound friendship between people of the two countries is more than evident. We hope both sides to reinforce the cooperation in water conservancy, creating the cooperation model of Lancang-Mekong water resource.”