On 13 June members of the Chi River Basin Organisation committee gathered to discuss national integrated water resource management and river basin management in northeast Thailand. The aim was to consolidate information for use in influencing water policy and improve water governance in Thailand.
The following day, MWD Thailand National Working Group members led a field trip to the Chi River Basin area to view local livelihood initiatives. The Chi River Basin Organisation is strongly supported by the local district administration and by working together, they are addressing livelihood needs through the implementation of an innovative community-based strategy.
Public land, previously degraded by bad farming practices, was rehabilitated with natural compost to enhance the soil fertility. This land was provided to local families for farming. The farmers have succeeded in developing a community cooperative to grow and sell organic vegetables through major supermarkets across the country.
Like in many areas, one of the major challenges for agriculture is water access and the Chi River Basin Organisation is working hard with the farming cooperative to address water quality and availability in a number of ways: adopting sustainable agricultural practices; using multi-crop rotation; minimizing pollution discharged into local waterways; reducing the use of hazardous chemicals and fertilizers by substituting with organic options; and using efficient water irrigation systems.
The Chi River Basin Organisation will be used by MWD Thailand as a case study to demonstrate the strengths and lesson learned from the successful River Basin Organisation network operating in Thailand.