Groundwater resources in GMS are under increasing threat, caused by expansion of human activities, unsustainable groundwater exploitation and climate change. Increasing frequency of water-related disaster such as droughts and heavy rainfall creates a more uncertain dimension of water resource prediction. Inadequate management of groundwater and lack of information to understand groundwater status have resulted in problems such as groundwater depletion, groundwater quality deterioration, seawater intrusion and alteration of groundwaterdependent ecosystem (GDE). The addressed issues pose an immediate threat to sustainability of water environment. Given the critical role of groundwater resources for human use and socio-economic development, sustainability issues of groundwater should be dealt based on the improved understanding of hydrogeologic conditions and its linkage with the society, through active engagement of multiple stakeholders, including governments, academia, intergovernmental agencies, and local communities.
Since 2013, CCOP in collaboration with KIGAM and UNESCO has initiated "Regional study on groundwater resources and its interaction with Mekong River, with a special focus on the TBA management", in an attempt to achieve sustainable management of groundwater resources in the CCOP regions by sharing infonnation and discussing common issues. In 2017, CCOP and KIGAM commenced a pilot study project to initiate the study of groundwater flow and its interaction with Mekong River, targeting a transboundary aquifer between Cambodia and Mekong Delta of Vietnam. One of main activities of the project was to install the groundwater monitoring well in the transboundary aquifer region of Cambodia. The target study area is located in the Leuk Daek District of Cambodia. The town is located in the vicinity of the Mekong River and is also close to the international border between Cambodia and Vietnam.
In 2018, the project team expanded the work area of the project to cover the transboundary aquifer system between Lao PDR and Thailand, aiming to fill up the data insufficiency and raise the country's capacity to manage groundwater resources with enhanced groundwater monitoring technology and international collaboration. Main activities in 2018 & 2019 includes ( 1) Organize regional workshops to strengthen collaboration between relative stakeholders for TBA investigation and data sharing, (2) Install new groundwater monitoring wells in the Vientiane Plain TBA in Lao PDR and monitor groundwater level, (3) Organize a regional expert meeting to study groundwater sustainability of TBA in GMS, ( 4) Collect groundwater monitoring data from the installed TBA monitoring stations in GMS, and (5) Carry out groundwater flow system analysis in the target TBA (Cambodia-Mekong Delta Aquifer) and predict sustainability under climate change.
Whereas the regional collaboration for Cambodia-Mekong Delta TBA and Lao PDRThailand TBA has been successfully catalyzed under the umbrella of CCOP-KIGAM Groundwater Project, the monitoring stations currently constructed covers limited zones in the basin. Accordingly, the extended network of groundwater and GDE monitoring stations along the Mekong River needs to be established for basin-scale water management. A lack of systematic approach to facilitate sub-regional dialogue among the countries, however, has limited regional collaboration for basin-scale water management. Furthennore, despite increasing attention made by national stakeholders and local communities for groundwater monitoring and management, lack of reliable data and expertise, together with insufficient financial/human resources are still hampering improved groundwater investigation.
Investigation of basin scale groundwater assessment and its relation with groundwater dependent ecosystem across the international river system such as Mekong River Basin strongly requires multi-national collaboration through the leadership of the international organization. CCOP has taken a leading role as the multi-governmental organization across East and Southeast Asia countries and contributed to building network and advancing international collaboration in the geosciences fields. The leadership of CCOP in carrying out TBA cooperation in GMS was well demonstrated through the successful implementation of CCOP-KIGAM Groundwater Project from 2017 to 2019. CCOP successfully coordinated the project with Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR and initiated TBA investigation in some key areas within the GMS basin. In addition to that, the regional workshop organized by CCOP, KIGAM and UNESCO provided a platfonn to facilitate communication among the GMS countries, accordingly, to enhance regional collaboration mechanism for transboundary cooperation across the basin scale. These activities, which have drawn wide consensus and strong support from both GMS countries, will be further developed into the regional project in strong partnership with CCOP and KIGAM.
In this regard, the next phase of CCOP-KIGAM Project will focus on strengthening regional capacity for sub-regional groundwater investigation and collaborative management in GMS. The main activities of the next phase of CCOP-KIGAM project include to develop GDE monitoring network in GMS. We will continue groundwater monitoring data collections from both TBA stations in Cambodia and Lao PDR and support the govenunents in GMS region to raise technical capacity for groundwater survey and resource assessment. These activities will further our understanding the impact of climate change on groundwater flow in GMS and its interaction with Mekong River. Furthermore, the project will offer subregional dialogue platform where national stakeholders and academia from GMS countries can discuss and establish sustainable groundwater management and climate change mitigation strategy. The major activities of the project will include (1) organisation of regional groundwater workshops on groundwater in GMS, (2) coordination with the national and sub-regional network for development of GDE monitoring system, (3) installation of GDE monitoring station along the GMS, and ( 4) collection of groundwater monitoring data to study groundwater-surface water interaction process and its potential influence on GDE.
The proposed activities of the project from 2020 to 2022 include
The main goal of 2021 's activity is to realize TBA monitoring wells in GMS.
Key Objectives of the project include:
Scope of work include the following:
The expected outcomes of the proposed project include the followings: