To help tackle the impacts of climate change, Thailand’s water sector is enhancing its focus on adaptation to climate change. Ecosystem-based measures for adaptation, also called EbA measures, which rely on the services of nature and ecosystems, are critical to reducing risks from flood and droughts and adapting to climate change.
Thailand’s lead water agency, the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR), supported by the Thai-German Climate Programme -Water (TGCP-Water) project implemented by GIZ, is promoting EbA measures for consideration and more systematic use in national water policies and in key planning processes at the river basin scale.
To generate more evidence and greater knowledge of the benefits of these nature-based measures, on 7 January 2020, the ONWR and GIZ teamed up with 5 Thai universities in a Joint Research Partnership to develop a methodology that allows for the monitoring and evaluation of the benefits of EbA.
The 5 Thai universities will work together from July 2020 to December 2021 to identify appropriate hydrological, environmental as well as socio-economic indicators to assess the benefits of living weirs made from locally sourced materials such as bamboo, coconut coir and the wide-flung roots of banyan trees as well as different kinds of flood retention areas (monkey cheeks, for example) and wetlands.
While the pilot team under the leadership of Chulalongkorn University together with Mahidol and Naresuan universities will develop and test a prototype methodology in pilot sites at retention areas in Sukhothai and Phitsanulok provinces in the lower Northwest of Thailand, a team from Prince of Songkhla and Walailak universities will focus on the prototype methodology for living weirs at two pilot sites in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces in the South of Thailand.
Both projects were kicked off in July 2020, by conducting a kick-off meeting in Bangkok and a field trip to Phitsanulok province where initial talks engaging provincial government authorities and local leaders provided useful insights for suitable pilot sites for the methodology development.
To ensure long-term engagement, during the course of the project community members will be introduced to the M&E approach and the use of digital-based solutions for EbA monitoring at the sites between January and May 2021. Furthermore, students from the universities under the Joint Research Partnership will have the opportunity to gain practical experience in data collection in the field.