Streamflow prediction in the Mekong River Basin using deep neural networks

Thi-Thu-Ha Nguyen, Duc-Quang Vu, Son T. Mai*, Thanh Duc Dang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, the Mekong River Basin (MRB), one of the largest river basins in Southeast Asia, has experienced severe impacts from extreme droughts and floods. Streamflow forecasting has become crucial for effective risk management strategies in the region. However, this task presents significant challenges due to rapid climate changes and the presence of numerous newly constructed upstream dams, which disrupt the natural flow. In this paper, we develop multiple deep learning models (incl. Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP), Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), Long short-term Memory (LSTM), and Transformer) to predict streamflow with different lead time forecasts based on observed meteorological variables and climatic indices (i.e., discharge, water level, precipitation, and temperature) from 1979 to 2019. The results indicate that LSTM obtains high performance for streamflow prediction in both dry and wet seasons while Transformer is not recommended for long-term prediction, especially in the dry season. The proposed deep learning models capture well the fluctuation of river flow in the MRB during the period of high-dam development, especially LSTM (NSE ≥ 0.8). The models’ performances are enhanced with the adding of temperature for short-term prediction while precipitation was the most sensitive variable for long-term one. Such proposed models are essential for government agencies to plan mitigation and adaptation strategies at different periods, which can range from days to years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97930 - 97943
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 02 Aug 2023


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