The Mekong River Commission developed tools for Water Resource modeling in the four member country since the initiation of the Decision Support Framework (DSF) in 2001 under the Water Utilization Program (WUP-A) funded by the World Bank. The Decision Support Framework (DSF) containing a knowledge Base, a Basin Modelling Package and Impact Assessment Tools.
The DSF System development aimed to have a transparent modeling system that could be used by each and any of the member countries to check proposals and strategies for water resource developments. This system has been developed and expended under the Information and Knowledge Management Programme Phase 1 (IKMP 2005-2010). The first release of a new MRC Toolbox was developed and handed over to MRCS at the end of 2010.
To fulfil its commitments under the 1995 Mekong Agreement, MRC aims to provide Member Countries with the necessary tools to support and promote planning and management of the water and related resources throughout the LMB according to the principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM).
MRC has developed a modelling toolbox (MRC Toolbox), which comprises software and applications to enable comprehensive and rigorous analyses and assessments.
The main purpose of the DSF (Decision Support Framework) is to assist planner to access both the magnitude of changes brought about through nature and man-made interventions in the water resource system, as well as the impacts that these will have on the natural environment and upon people’s livelihoods.
In the MRC Toolbox the original models of the DSF have been supplemented by the more detailed models IWRM and 3D modeling developed under the WUP-FIN component and improved by Syke in IKMP Phase 1 as well as additional models (such as HEC ResSim) and tool for analysis of sediment and water quality to enable an approach base on integrated Water Resource Management Principles.
MRC Toolbox Interface and structure
Users can connect with Models and Knowledge bases through the MRC Toolbox Interface, customize their views and add links their own tools. Knowledge bases (KB) can be exchanged between users or set up for specific studies or River Basins.
4 Main Components in MRC Toolbox:
- Knowledge Base which contains hydro-met data, modeling results, models and QA Information and a socio and environmental data base
- Data Management Tools are the foundation of the toolbox and comprise Knowledge Base Manager, Scenario and Model Manager, Data Transfer Tool and GIS-based knowledge base query tool for quick access to data and model results.
- Data Analysis Tools provide the capability to analyse the outputs from the process models and display the results in different reporting formats. The data analysis tools are applicable to both time series and spatial (GIS) data and are being expanded to include socio economic, probabilistic flood and disaster impacts.
- The Process Models/Software comprising of DSF Models (SWAT, IQQM, iSIS in LMB ) and including developing models such as IWRM, HEC-RES Sim, DMS 3D Model including primary productivity and water quality. The open architecture will allow further models in the future such as for Sediments, Climate Change, Mike suite.
Using the toolbox
The toolbox provides a flexible approach to problem solving. The key first step, as illustrated, is the clear definition of the problem and identification of the processes that have to be analysed.
In some cases a process model will already exist that is capable of undertaking the required analyses, but in other cases either an existing model requires adaptation or a new model will need to be constructed, in some instances requiring new software to be added to the toolbox.
In other cases the problem may be soluble without recourse to further process modelling but instead through analysis involving use of different data sets held in the Knowledge Base (or imported from the Master Catalogue for this purpose), for example poverty analysis, trends in irrigation growth etc. As new models are developed or different sets of processed results become available, where needed and once quality assured, these can then be shared with others in the user community at different locations in the basin.