Lao PDR to Improve Water Resources Management

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VIENTIANE, July 26, 2017 – The Ministry of Finance and the World Bank today signed an agreement for financing support of $25 million of additional funding for the Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management (MIWRM) Project. This additional support will continue to improve the country’s national water resources management systems.

“Supporting integrated water resources management practices in the lower Mekong basin is a high priority in our partnership with Lao PDR as we seek to support the Government’s commitment to green growth, including the sustainable management of rivers,” said Ms. Ellen Goldstein, new World Bank Country Director for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar, speaking on her first visit to Lao PDR this week. During her visit she met with key stakeholders, including the Minister of Finance. “Managing natural resources in a way that sustains Lao PDR’s rich fisheries, wetlands and aquatic resources, will be key to accelerated and inclusive growth in the country,” she continued.

The water management project seeks to develop a functional national level water resources management system under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to sustainably manage irrigation, fisheries, hydropower, and water supply resources, while protecting the environment and reducing flood and drought risks associated with climate change. Some of the activities supported are development of regulations to support implementation of the recently amended Water Law, establishing a national early warning center and national water quality laboratory program, and assessing water availability under different climate conditions, and assisting the Government in strategic planning of water resources.

The first phase of the project, approved in 2012, developed the building blocks for integrated water resources management including drafting of the new Water Law and river basin modeling, provided sustainable irrigation for over 14,000 hectares of land, improved flood control infrastructure, including 4 modified flood gates, and introduced community fisheries through 30 Fisheries Management Committees. The additional financing extends this project to 2021 and seeks to build upon these foundations.

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