Nam Ton Watershed

Knowledge Platform

Integrated water resources management is often defined as “a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment[1].”

In this definition, the word “Coordinate” summarizes well what it is expected from water resources managers. Actually, the water resources managers have a key role of “facilitators” for supporting trade-off between sectors, advising for decision making and legal framework, and eventually mediating group of persons which have different visions, agenda and interests.

  1. “Where we are”, “where we want to go” (and may be “where we do not want to go”) , “how to get there” ?... are the existential questioning of the Water Resources Managers. They have to build the best optimised consensus and explore win-win options together with the “stakeholders”, which are all people that are involved or that impact the river basin or watershed. “Where we want to go ?” is genarlly called the “vision”..As visions can be multiple, time is going on and the context is changing continuously (sometimes faster than expected and not in the way it was expected), these questions will never get eventual solutions and therefore it will remain an iterating process.
  2. Knowledge and learning process are keys for keeping intelligently moving ahead into this permanently changing environment. It is essential to understand the current environment and to observe the trends. It is why knowledge must be regularly updated.  The Watershed profile is a way for gathering the watershed knowledge, especially to understand the current situation and trends.Therefore, this document summarises the main findings, information and data collected in the Nam Ton Watershed during these last years.
  3. The Nam Ton Watershed is one of the most representative pilot watersheds in Lao PDR in which various areas of Watershed Planning, Management and Conservation  are being implemented in view creating capacity, getting lessons learn and in a next step to be able to sort out kind of watershed guidelines that would be applied country-wide.
  4.  It is likely that getting knowledge is a pillar that sustains the different steps of watershed planning development such as :
  • Developing a shared vision among the stakeholders and help building guidelines and road maps
  • Understanding the stakes when coordinating the different sectors of development (agriculture, forest, fish, urban development, mines and industries, transport, tourism, etc...) 
  • Getting a close monitored evaluation of the trends related to the social, economic and environmental indicators which, when cross-checked, should allow to find the best possible sustainable balance

[1]Global Water Partnership