Since 2012, IWMI Southeast Asia has been working with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) on a multi-disciplinary groundwater irrigation project in Lao PDR. Access to groundwater provides a means for income and food security in rural villages where surface water is absent or unreliable. In collaboration with WLE and institutions from Lao PDR, Thailand and Japan, this policy brief draws from the project’s findings and lessons to provide informed options for policy-makers. It makes suggestions on how to build capacity while promoting cross-sector coordination, and lays out the groundwork for future research in this area.
Sustainable management of groundwater is essential to long-term availability of this resource. Although groundwater is relatively widely available and of good quality in Laos, technical and capacity limits have prevented local communities from using groundwater for irrigation. This study addresses these obstacles and offers recommendations for scalability based on the economic, social and hydro-geologic setting of a given area.
The 4-year study recommends that the government of Lao PDR define and promote new irrigation policies that are inclusive of groundwater, strengthen institutional and human capacity of key stakeholders, promotes cross-sectoral coordination, and continues to invest in research for redevelopment. The brief is available in both English and Lao language.