To improve the capacity of local stakeholders in small-scale water resource management, the Center for Civil Society and Nonprofit Management (CSNM) of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University (KKU), together with the National University of Laos (NUoL) and Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), formally launched the ‘Enhancing the Community and Small-Scale Water Resource Management in the Mekong Sub-region (X-water)’ project in an online event on January 28, 2022.
To be implemented in selected areas in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand, the X-water project will be focusing on the co-production of knowledge, equipping smallholders and local leaders with innovative management tools, and mainstreaming of small-scale water resource management policy. The capacity development program is funded by the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), through the fund management and coordination of the Mekong Institute (MI).
The project team, led by Dr. Buapun Promphakping of CSNM, KKU, introduced the implementation strategy during the event. He shared that the project will harness participatory action research methodologies to assess small-scale water resource management, identify best practices, and implement prototypes. Trainings and other experiential learning tools like study visits to demonstration sites will be used in the project.
The X-water project will be implemented in eight villages in Trapang Trabek and Trang Krasang, Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia, nine villages in Vang Vieng District, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR, and in the subdistricts of Na Thong and Ku Thong, Chiang Yuen District, Maha Sarakham Province, Thailand.
In his special message, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, the Executive Director of MI, emphasized that “water scarcity is one of the most important environmental issues in the Mekong Subregion. It has been an increasing concern of the Mekong countries, as it impacts the well being and livelihoods of the people as well as undermine the development potentials of the subregion.”
Being “timely and highly relevant”, Mr. Suriyan commended the project, as it “will provide a platform for documenting and sharing innovative approaches for small scale-water resources in the Mekong Subregion and will be the basis for further development and promotion.”
To share his experiences in managing a similar research project, Mr. Mongkol Lukmuang, Director of Water Crisis Prevention Center, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment of Thailand, presented on community water resource management. He enumerated the research activities that they had undertaken, such as exploring waterbodies in the Northeastern region (Mekong tributaries), field survey, observational system installation, and determination of water crisis criteria for each waterbody.
He talked on how the project utilized digital technologies to facilitate the reporting of the available water amount, water level, and released water at the outlet via an online application. He also shared their efforts in raising awareness and educating the stakeholders about the importance of waterbodies.
To introduce the team to some project requirements, Mr. Robby Rosandi of the MKCF and Ms. Patranuch Saksawang of the Finance Department of MI presented the MKCF project monitoring and reporting guidelines.
More than 30 participants from KKU, NUoL, RUPP, and other relevant stakeholders joined the online event.