, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 163–170 | Cite as

Monitoring trends in the extent of major floods in the lower reach of Songkhram River Basin, Northeastern Thailand

  • ThihaEmail author
  • Rojchai Satrawaha
  • Komgrit Wongpakam


This study analyzes trends in the extent of major floods in the lower reach of Songkhram River Basin, one of the most important areas for aquatic biological production in the Lower Mekong River Basin. We first classified the time series Landsat imagery acquired at a 2-year interval between 2000 and 2006 using the unsupervised classification method. We then analyzed the extent of major floods through the image matrix analysis on seasonal land cover map pairs. Additionally, we estimated flood volumes and discharge rates for each time series. We finally analyzed the extent of land uses that were affected by major flood events. Accuracy assessment showed that the extent of major floods was accurately mapped. Analysis of trends of major floods revealed that there was a considerable variation in the extent through 2006, with the flood decreasing since 2002. Analysis of flood risk areas based on the 2000–2004 data showed that about 3.04% of the study areas was at high risk of being flooded. Between 2000 and 2006, about 5.5% of the study area that are classified as agriculture and built-up land uses was affected by major floods. Our estimates on flood volumes and discharge rates are consistent with the data from other studies. Overall findings suggest that accurate mapping of major floods and flood risk areas using space and time dependent data can be important for developing protocols for flash flood early warning and flood risk management and mitigation. Output GIS maps and data combined with crude assumptions about water flow will serve as the baseline data to estimate the amount of water that flows in and out of the basin. Further research should focus on integration of social science research to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of major floods and identifying coping strategies of affected communities.


Major floods Flood risk mapping Landsat Unsupervised classification Songkhram River Basin Thailand 



This research was supported by a research grant from Mahasarakham University, Thailand. The Land Development Department of Thailand provided the following GIS data: land use, administrative boundaries, aerial photos and topographic maps. Thirty-meter ASTER digital elevation data was downloaded from the site We thank the local residents of Nong Khai, Sakon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom provinces of North-east Thailand for providing valuable information and sharing their insights toward water-induced disasters during our field work. We also thank an anonymous reviewer for his comments on earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Limnology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Walai Rukhavej Botanical Research InstituteMahasarakham UniversityMaha SarakhamThailand

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