MRC Announces Competition to Modernize Mekong Monitoring Technology

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) announced Thursday a competition to design cost-effective, sustainable technology to monitor the Mekong’s water level, rainfall, soil moisture and water quality.

In a statement, the MRC said the contest was for undergraduate or graduate students from 15 universities in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Competitors have to design telemetry sensors — typically installed in separate stations or outdoors on riverbanks, usually in rural areas. The sensors have to be suitable to the terrain, location, weather and functions. They must also be solar powered and able to collect and send real-time data from stations to servers.

The MRC already has some 250 stations that monitor hydrology, rainfall, water quality, ecological health, fisheries and drought. But most depend on foreign equipment that is often expensive and sometimes outdated.

‘VEXING CHALLENGES’

Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, chief executive at the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane, said home-grown solutions could be cheaper, develop local expertise, and encourage Mekong citizens to develop innovative solutions for Mekong problems.

“We hope to inspire our Mekong youth to achieve their true potential – and provide creative responses that solve many of our vexing challenges,” he said.

In March, a panel of international judges is scheduled to select four winning teams in the water level, rainfall, soil moisture and water quality categories.

Each will receive US$5,000 and be invited to Vientiane in April to present their projects to the 4th MRC Summit.

“The winners will then work with the MRC to implement their successful technology along the Mekong,” the statement said.

 

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press