Forecast Mekong: Virtual River of Life
The Mekong is one of the world's longest rivers connecting six Asian countries, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. People and fish, as well as many other species in this biologically rich region, are directly connected to the river, so that what impacts the river also impacts them. A river of life and livelihood, the Mekong provides for navigation, agriculture, and for the rich, naturally-produced fishery that is the primary protein source for more than 50 million people. Computer models and visualization tools can help people develop an integrated view of river life and provide a scientific basis for critical decisions about regional development and sustainability. The video is a form of science diplomacy requested by the U.S. Department of State to educate policy-makers and citizens in Southeast Asia about the vital importance of the Mekong River and delta in maintaining food security and livelihoods in the region. The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Geological Survey, and university partners are developing a graphic visualization tool, or GVT, to present SWAT model results, thereby helping policy makers and planners communicate and evaluate complex river scenarios. Forecast Mekong is working with the Mekong River Commission to apply advanced computer applications, hydrographic surveys, and SWAT visualizations that will enhance the integration of knowledge and models of river life of the Mekong Basin from the headwaters to the delta.