Asia and Caucasus

Thailand: Partnership policy in Songkhla Lake (#269)

The most pressing problem facing the Songkhla Lake Basin is land degradation and water pollution caused by land use changes and shrimp farming expansion. Action was taken to combat these issues and an Integrated Environmental Management approach was applied. The key lesson of this case is that replacing blueprint master planning approaches with process oriented planning frameworks increased sustainability significantly.

Transboundary: Mobilising grassroots engagement and facilitating high-level dialogue for transboundary water management in the Mekong River Basin (#449)

The Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia, beginning its 4,200 km journey in the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau, passing six countries and reaching the South China Sea. Policy reforms to adopt integrated water resources management had been initiated and water related laws had been developed. However, there were still major gaps in the supporting knowledge and information. IUCN and its program Water &Nature Initiative (WANI) supported to scale up so called Tai Baan research (villagers’ research) that enabled local communities to represent their own social reality and through media and public forum, this knowledge can be mainstreamed into water management research and implementation.

Transboundary: Adaptation to climate change in the countries of the Lower Mekong Basin (#385)

There are growing concerns about the potential effects of climate change on the socio-economic characteristics and natural resources of the Lower Mekong Basin. In response to the potential impacts of climate change, the Mekong River Commission has launched the regional Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative. Furthermore, a Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment has been conducted. The most important lesson learnt is that it is essential to establish a regional organisation to combat climate change. 

Transboundary: Basin Economic Allocation Model (BEAM); An Economic Model of Water Use Developed for the Aral Sea Basin (#432)

Steadily shrinking for decades due to unsustainable irrigation policies, the Aral Sea is under increasing pressure, making both allocation and availability major challenges. Action has been taken and the Basin Economic Allocation Model has been developed as a long-term decision support system to facilitate putting “value on water use”. This demonstrates that economic models can be applied to assess economic value maximization of different water uses.

Transboundary: IWRM Information base for Central Asia (#377)

Unsustainable irrigation policies during the Soviet era have had devastating consequences for the Aral Sea. With the collapse of USSR, the riparian states took action and entered into agreement on Cooperation in the Joint Use and Protection of Water Resources of Interstate Significance. Furthermore, the international community took action and much attention has been devoted to re-establish the Aral Sea ecosystem. This case illustrates the importance of engaging all key stakeholders.

Transboundary: Regional Water Management Cooperation in Central Asia (#351)

In Central Asia, water is unevenly distributed with states positioned downstream being placed in a very unfavourable position. The situation is further complicated since the benefits from cooperation are highly asymmetrical. Despite the challenge, the states have taken action and entered into a regional agreement, which attracted the international donor community to engage further. This case illustrates how international initiatives can influence institutional arrangements in transboundary basins.   

Transboundary: Rural livelihoods and irrigation management transfer in Fergana valley of Central Asia (#362)

With the collapse of the USSR, the water sector seized to be subsidised leading to deterioration of basic infrastructure. Action was taken to partially transfer the responsibility for operation and maintenance of irrigation systems to water users. Nonetheless, this has had limited success because it has been seen as an additional cost rather than benefit. This illustrates that for this to work, the returned benefits need to be higher than the costs.