Increased Importance of Groundwater in Deltas: MRC Approach

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Mekong River Commission (MRC)

Mekong River Commission (MRC) organised a training on groundwater data collection and analysis (focusing on agricultural production) in Bangkok, 3-5 February 2020.  IGRAC contributed to the training by providing specifics of regional, international groundwater assessment, monitoring and information management.     

The need for a regional survey of “current groundwater use and the potential of new developments” is clearly defined in the MRC Strategic Plan 2016-2020. In the framework of a project “Sustainable Groundwater Use and Management for Agriculture” the MRC member states already set up National Working Groups (NWGs) that will convey the survey. In order to prepare for the survey, the MRC Secretariat organised a training for groundwater specialists from Cambodia, Lao PRD, Thailand and Viet Nam. The objectives of the training were:

  • Share information and discuss the status and issues of groundwater use for agriculture by groundwater experts from Member States;
  • Explain and discuss in detail on data collection procedures and analysis methods;
  • Share examples of required data and the practice exercises of data analysis methods to increase common understanding and work direction among the four countries;
  • Learn about specifics of regional/transboundary groundwater cooperation 
  • IGRAC was asked to share experience and developed products and services about regional/transboundary assessment and monitoring of groundwater services. Very much related to these two activities, IGRAC also introduced data and information management, elaborating on added values of  international sharing in a systematic and sustainable matter;  the content and functionalities of the GGIS (Global Groundwater Information System) were briefly introduced, along those of  GGMN (Global Groundwater monitoring Network) portal.    

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Mekong Workshop

Possibilities for further collaboration were discussed with representatives of the MRC secretariat and member states.  It was a common belief that groundwater needs a better embedding in the broader socio-economic and environmental issues, based on  informed management and governance. Regional cooperation, including data and information sharing and capacity building in a key to  better use and protection of shared water resources in the Mekong delta.