Enhancing management of water resources in Vietnam and Thailand

Published: Jan 20 2017

Vietnam and Thailand, like other countries in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, have long dealt with water-related problems -- flooding in the rainy season, drought in the dry season, and degradation of water quality because of a growing population, urbanization, and agricultural and industrial expansion. Efficient management of water resources is all-important for these countries. The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and its consortium members*, through SERVIR-Mekong, an initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), recently partnered with key water resources agencies in Vietnam and Thailand to help enhance their water resources management. 

The Vietnam collaboration was officially recognized on January 11, 2017, in Hanoi, where ADPC Executive Director Hans Guttman and Vietnam Academy of Water Resources (VAWR) Director General Dr. Nguyen Vu Viet signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Group photo at signing ceremony
Dr. Nguyen Vu Viet, Director General/VAWR (seated at left) and Dr. Hans Guttman, Executive Manager/ADPC
(seated at right) sign MOU (see Notes section for identification of others pictured)

VAWR is a leading research institution of science and technology in water resources in the region, advising Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on national strategy, programs, and plans in the science and technology of irrigation, hydropower, environment, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters, and adaptation to climate change. VAWR also performs scientific research and provides technology transfer as well as consultant services in investment and construction in water resources, hydropower, and more. 

"The signing of this MoU between the Vietnam Academy of Water Resources and ADPC marks a milestone in how the USAID- and NASA-partnered SERVIR-Mekong program is shaping cooperation in climate change action and disaster risk management in the Lower Mekong region,” said Guttman. “Through the technical assistance mechanism**, VAWR was able to reach out to SERVIR-Mekong to begin a fruitful partnership that will only get stronger with this MoU in place.”

Vu Viet expressed his thanks to ADPC for their cooperation and his hopes for “fruitful collaboration between ADPC and VAWR in 2017, to contribute more to natural resources management and disaster risk reduction in Vietnam."

The signing ceremony took place at VAWR as part of a science policy exchange with 120 scientists and policy makers to review the agency’s 2016 accomplishments. The new partnership was prominently featured, with two presentations in plenary.

At the close of the ceremony, Guttman noted: “I am certain there will be plenty of opportunities to strengthen our collective efforts and, hopefully, expand this partnership with other stakeholders in the region as we strive for strong regional and national capacity in using geo-spatial technology to solve pressing climate change and disaster risk management challenges."

Under a separate engagement in Thailand, ADPC signed a formal letter of collaboration with the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII), a leading scientific agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology. HAII is tasked with developing and applying science and technology, including collection, synthesis, and analysis of data, to support better agricultural and water resources management in the region. Their team of experienced professionals and scientific researchers is committed to delivering the most viable solutions with new technology initiatives for water resource management.  State-of-the art geospatial information and technologies are key to their success.

“HAII … has been working on centralized water crisis management, which is a complete integration of water management from upstream to downstream areas,” explained Dr. Royol Chitradon, Director of Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII), Thailand Ministry of Science and Technology. “We focus on protecting upstream areas from severe floods, preparing retention areas for diverse floodwater in midstream areas, and rapid water drainage in downstream areas.”

Through partnership with SERVIR-Mekong, HAII will have streamlined access to data from NASA and other sources to further strengthen their existing and future initiatives supporting integrated water management.

“HAII will use the high resolution geospatial data from satellite imagery and geospatial technologies that SERVIR-Mekong provides in monitoring and assessing the extent of flooding,” said Chitradon. “This will lead to more informed decisions on flood disaster risk reduction and water management. In normal times, an implementation of integrated water management will help the country in infrastructure development and natural resources management to achieve sustainable national development."

HAII is also looking to SERVIR-Mekong for involvement in scientific trainings and workshops with NASA and other experts.

To help SERVIR-Mekong develop successful and useful applications, HAII will identify specific needs for improved tools to address present and future challenges in relation to hydroinformatics in Thailand. They will also provide data needed for validation and calibration of SERVIR-Mekong tools.

Notes:

  • SERVIR-Mekong aims to promote the use of publicly available satellite imagery and related geospatial decision-support tools/products to help key stakeholders and decision makers in Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam better predict and manage floods and other natural disasters, improve agricultural risk management, manage land-use more sustainably, and help governments and communities increase resilience to the negative effects of climate change. 
  • *Consortium members:  Spatial Informatics Group (SIG); Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); and Deltares
  • Photograph identification: From left to right (standing): Mr. Tran Manh Truong, Deputy Head of Planning Dept./VAWR; Mr. To Viet Thang, Deputy Director of Center for Training and International Cooperation/VAWR; Dr. Dang Hoang Thanh, Director of Personnel Dept./VAWR; Dr. Nguyen Thanh Bang, Director of Planning Dept. /VAWR; Dr. Giap (behind woman in traditional dress), Director of Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Center/VAWR; Dr. Ha Hai Duong, climate change expert/VAWR; Dr. Nguyen Tung Phong, Deputy Director General/VAWR; Dr. David Ganz, ADPC;  Dr. Nguyen Thi Anh Tuyet, Director of Center for Training and International Cooperation/VAWR; Dr. Tran Duc Trinh, Head of International Relations/VAWR (focal person from VAWR in SERVIR Mekong project); Ms. Bach Phuong Lien, (in blue dress), Staff of Center for Training and International Cooperation Community-based Disaster Risk Management/VAWR; Dr. Tran Ba Hoang, Director of Southern Institute for Water Resources
  • **SERVIR-Mekong’s Technical Assistance mechanism, available through the SERVIR-Mekong website, is a resource for receiving advice and information, and potentially support, for challenges in the Mekong region that may be overcome by applying geospatial data and technology to decision making and planning.  Users can request training support, technical advise, or even apply for a new or customized tool or dataset.
  • HAII is a management agency of the National Hydroinformatics and Climate Data Center (NHC), Thailand.

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