The Nam Ou River hydrological monitoring and reporting system, a supporting project of Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Project invested and constructed by the Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), is the first project of its kind for a river basin in Laos, as well as the largest one in the country that covers the widest area. It is hailed as an “eye” of the Nam Ou River basin.
Put into service in May 2014, the system automatically collects, transmits and processes hydrological, meteorological and project operation information in the basin. It is also able to complete hydrological forecasting and send warning alarms.
On the monitoring screen of the system in the centralized control center of the Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Project, thousands pieces of Chinese and English hydrological information are popping up. “The system can operate by itself 24 hours a day without human attendance,” the head of the center told People’s Daily.
“These science-based and reliable meteorological information help us control the water volume in each station, allocate generator load, and improve the utility rate of the water and benefits of power generation based on the water level and flow of the reservoir,” the head of the center continued.
Thanks to the system, the Nam Ou River basin has effectively coped with natural disasters and extreme weathers such as floods, droughts, and typhoons, protecting the lives and property of the people, as well as the operation of the power station.
Eric is an employee of the Nam Ou Power Co., Ltd. under PowerChina. He lives in a village along the Nam Ou River, and his family has lived on fishing for generations. According to him, it was very difficult for them to deal with the sudden rise of water level in the old days. Now thanks to the hydrological monitoring and reporting system, his family feel assured when going out fishing, as they are always informed with the change of weathers.
“We are thankful that the Chinese enterprise has brought the system to Laos,” said Sinava Souphanouvong, Vice Minister for Energy and Mines of Laos, adding that the system offers reliable technical support for the irrigation, fishing, navigation and tourism in the Nam Ou River basin.
Laos is exploring feasible plans to establish such system in other river basins, and is also actively launching a long-term cooperation mechanism with China’s Yunnan province, so as to enrich the country’ s hydrological database and build new models of disaster prevention and relief.