Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin

John Sabo, A. Ruhi, G. W. Holtgrieve, V. Elliott, M. E. Arias, Peng Bun Ngor, T. A. Räsänen, So Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rivers provide unrivaled opportunity for clean energy via hydropower, but little is known about the potential impact of dam-building on the food security these rivers provide. In tropical rivers, rainfall drives a periodic flood pulse fueling fish production and delivering nutrition to more than 150 million people worldwide. Hydropower will modulate this flood pulse, thereby threatening food security. We identified variance components of the Mekong River flood pulse that predict yield in one of the largest freshwater fisheries in the world. We used these variance components to design an algorithm for a managed hydrograph to explore future yields. This algorithm mimics attributes of discharge variance that drive fishery yield: prolonged low flows followed by a short flood pulse. Designed flows increased yield by a factor of 3.7 relative to historical hydrology. Managing desired components of discharge variance will lead to greater efficiency in the Lower Mekong Basin food system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaao1053
JournalScience
Volume358
Issue number6368
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 8 2017

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Food Supply
Rivers
Fisheries
Hydrology
Fresh Water
Fishes
Food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Sabo, J., Ruhi, A., Holtgrieve, G. W., Elliott, V., Arias, M. E., Ngor, P. B., ... Nam, S. (2017). Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin. Science, 358(6368), [eaao1053]. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao1053

Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin. / Sabo, John; Ruhi, A.; Holtgrieve, G. W.; Elliott, V.; Arias, M. E.; Ngor, Peng Bun; Räsänen, T. A.; Nam, So.

In: Science, Vol. 358, No. 6368, eaao1053, 08.12.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sabo, J, Ruhi, A, Holtgrieve, GW, Elliott, V, Arias, ME, Ngor, PB, Räsänen, TA & Nam, S 2017, 'Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin', Science, vol. 358, no. 6368, eaao1053. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao1053
Sabo J, Ruhi A, Holtgrieve GW, Elliott V, Arias ME, Ngor PB et al. Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin. Science. 2017 Dec 8;358(6368). eaao1053. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao1053
Sabo, John ; Ruhi, A. ; Holtgrieve, G. W. ; Elliott, V. ; Arias, M. E. ; Ngor, Peng Bun ; Räsänen, T. A. ; Nam, So. / Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin. In: Science. 2017 ; Vol. 358, No. 6368.
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