Study tour in Thailand teaches best practices for sustainable management of water resources
Landell Mills, in partnership with the Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, organised a five-day study tour to Thailand as part of the Technical Assistance project Strengthening Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Mountainous River Basins. The contract is administered by ADB, funded by the Japanese Fund for Poverty Reduction and managed by Landell Mills.
The tour improved the participants' knowledge and capacity in sustainable management of water resources in River Basins through visits to various government water-related departments such as the Department of Water Resources, Office of National Water Resources, and Royal Irrigation Department, as well as technical visits to the Kra Siao Operation and Maintenance Project and a floodgate project to learn about controlling the flow of water during both drought and flooding periods.
The participants included Landell Mills' staff, along with 20 key stakeholders from the project's three target countries; Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal. They included members of the Panj Amu River Basin Agency (PARBA) and the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) in Afghanistan, Environment Officers of the Wangchhu Basin Committee (WBC) and Chair Persons of the District Councils in the basin in Bhutan, and members from the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilization (HPCIDBC), the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), and the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MEWRI) in Nepal.
The participants learnt about functioning river basins and the governance and institutional setup of River Basin Organisations. The study particularly focused on understanding the linkages between river basin management and local government, and the key government strategies and mechanisms used in Thailand. They can now apply this knowledge to help implement IWRM in the project's target river basins; the Panj Amu in Afghanistan, Wangchhu in Bhutan and the Bagmati River Basin in Nepal.
Particularly useful lessons from the study tour included institutional arrangements and stakeholder coordination mechanisms, showing the roles and interactions between various organisations involved with water management in Thailand. There was also a focus on technology in river basin management, and discussions around the formation of water user groups and decision support systems in terms of data sharing and management.
The project 'Strengthening Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Mountainous River Basins' is providing technical assistance to strengthen water resources management. It will help each of the three target countries to cope with expected changes in water availability due to climate change and increases in water demand to support economic and population growth.
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