Working with IUCN, the Mekong Water Dialogues and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Denmark-based global water and environment institute (DHI) hosted a seminar in Vientiane on 25 May to present and discuss “decision support tools for water resources and river basin management”.
Such tools (or Decision Support Systems, DSS) are a combination of computer models and other techniques which help politicians and other decision-makers understand the problems of water resources in a river basin, as a basis for making better decisions on how to use, allocate and protect water.
The presenters highlighted examples from Asia, including the Mekong region and delta, and from Africa, Latin America and Australia, on how such tools can help improve the management of floods and droughts, which are expected to become more serious in the future as a result of climate change. They also showed how to use such instruments for better water quality management and environmental protection, as well as how to operate dams and reservoirs more efficiently for combined hydropower production, irrigation and flood control.
Some 45 participants from different ministries, agencies and provinces of Lao PDR, representatives from the newly formed river basin committees of Nam Ngum and Nam Theun-Nam Kading, as well as from the Mekong River Commission, discussed with presenters from DHI, IUCN and IWMI on how to develop and use such decisions support system tools in Lao PDR.
In particular the Director-General of the newly formed river basin committee for the Nam Ngum River basin, Mr. Chanthanet Boualapha, and colleagues from the Nam Theun-Nam Kading river basin, participated actively and showed great interest in pursuing the development of such tools for better coordinated management of the dams and reservoirs in these in these river basins in Lao PDR.
In a final Panel discussion, the seminar concluded that the future development and management of the water resources of the country should be based on scientific evidence that is made available and easily accessible to decision makers through modern computer based techniques, such as models and decision support systems.
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