Vientiane Times, March 25, 2014
Lao and foreign experts hope the Nam Xong sub-river basin management project will continue its original task of caring for water resources and the environment, despite the project coming to the end of its term.
The experts made their comments at a meeting held yesterday in Vientiane to summarise the outcomes and lessons learned, announce the project closure and discuss the approaches the project took that could be used in other river basins in Laos.
“I hope the project which comes to a close today will be the starting point for continued joint care of the environment, especially water resources which are important to agriculture and related to the livelihood of the riverbank community,” Deputy Director General of the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ms Angsana Sihapitak, said.
The project was a small-scale trilateral project between Laos, Thailand and Germany. It aimed to improve water resource management in the Nam Xong sub-basin through educating local authorities and community representatives, as well as through the practical water protection regulations and technical solutions for water users.
The project began in March 2012 with support from GIZ, TICA, and the Thai Department of Water Resources.
The sub-river basin of the Nam Ngum river basin covers an area of more than 180 hectares in the Kasy, Vangvieng, and Hinheup districts of Vientiane province. It covers one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, including areas which are of strategic importance for national development.
Water resources are crucial to the livelihoods of around 64,000 people living in the sub-river basin, relying on incomes from farming, fishing and tourism.
The sub-basin ecosystem and environment has been threatened in the recent past by the increasing population, rapid industrial expansion and tourism development.
During its two-year term, the project supported effective water quality management and cooperation between the three districts, which all acknowledged the importance of proper water management.
GIZ Office Bangkok Country Director Mr David Oberhuber praised the cooperation of the project partners, which he said had achieved efficient and effective outcomes.
Director General of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Water Resources, Mr Chanthanet Boualapha, reminded those at the meeting of the project’s objectives.
He stressed the need to work with authorities at all levels, including those in the local community and the private sector, to achieve integrated water management that considered benefits to people both upstream and downstream.
Mr Chanthanet also said the lessons learned through this pilot project could be applied to the management of other sub-river basins.