The importance of a participatory approach to water management is main focus of the National Dialogue on Water Resource Management in Bangkok, Thailand.
Stakeholders from four water basins across Thailand (Bang Pa Kong basin, Yom basin, Kuraburi basin and Ka Poe basin) shared their experiences and lessons learned, with key national and provincial government agencies.
The 50 participants, representing different sectors, shared their experiences on Thailand’s water resource management. Community experience was highlighted by Ms. Bussabong Chaokanha, a member of the Prachinburi basin committee, who shared with the audience the experiences gained from the Bang Pakong river basin. In particular, the use of community based participatory surveys and analysis to influence change amongst stakeholders.
The ecosystem principles to riverine management are taking hold in numerous systems across Thailand. The dialogues highlighted examples from three river basins; the Mae Yom River basin, the Kuraburi watershed and the Ka Poe watershed, all of which apply a Ridge to Reef approach. This approach focuses on building water basin networks throughout the entire watershed to ensure a comprehensive approach to ecosystem management.
One of the key lessons voiced during the dialogue was the participatory approach to water resource management as essential for long term sustainability. Government agencies learn from the experiences of local communities, and work more collaboratively with academic institutes and relevant local authorities to ensure the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach is successfully implemented in Thailand. Communities were also encouraged to develop community water resource management plans at the local level.
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