Research Article

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

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, eaao1053
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao1053

Optimizing flow in dammed rivers

Hydropower dams radically alter river flow regimes, often with consequences for the functioning and productivity of the waters downstream. Where fisheries in large tropical river systems are affected, there can be knock-on effects on food security. For the Mekong River, Sabo et al. used a data-based time series modeling approach to estimate the features of the flow regime that optimize the fishery that is crucial to food security in Cambodia (see the Perspective by Poff and Olden). Fish futures can be maximized within a managed hydrologic system with careful prescription of flows. Such data-driven approaches can be used to link hydrology to ecology and food production and specify design principles that could help to deliver food security in other river systems.

Science, this issue p. eaao1053; see also p. 1252