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Virtual Workshop on “Integrated Management of Flood and Drought in the Mun River Basin in Thailand” organized

22 May 2022
Sanjeet Amatya

By Office of Public Affairs

April 20th, 2022 — Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in association with the University of Exeter (UoE) organized a virtual technical dissemination workshop on “Integrated Management of Flood and Drought in the Mun River Basin in Thailand,” — where stakeholders from universities, governments, private sectors, research, and international organizations addressed the urgency of developing frameworks to tackle both floods and droughts in Thailand.

The technical dissemination workshop is a part of the series titled “ENhancing ResIlienCe to future Hydro-meteorological extremes in the Mun river basin in Northeast Thailand (ENRICH).” This ENRICH-2 project builds on the previous ENRICH-1 project, which was completed over a period of 3.5 years. The ENRICH-2 project is funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under the NERC COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Project Scoping Call – focusing on hydro-meteorological extreme (floods and droughts) for South-East Asia and beyond. 

The objectives of ENRICH-2 are:

  1. To assess flood hazards in the Mun River Basin for current and future climate, with a 30-year time horizon (until 2050); 
  2. To develop a framework for integrated management of flood and drought in the Mun Basin;
  3. To formulate adaptation strategies that will consider the connections between diverse extremes.

In the opening remarks, AIT President Dr. Eden Woon warmly welcomed Ms. Sarah Blackburn, Head of International at NERC, Prof. Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UoE,  and other distinguished panelists and participants.

President Woon said, “Recently released Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by IPCC highlights how severe the global warming and the climate change has become. Recent severe weather patterns globally can be traced directly to climate change. Water is the primary medium through which we feel the effects of climate change. Asia and the Pacific is the most disaster-affected region globally and home to more than 40 percent of the globe’s calamity, and 84 percent of the people they affect.” He concluded that the urgency of resilient water management toward climate adaptation is required.

Prof. Quine and Ms. Blackburn also delivered welcome and opening remarks, respectively at the workshop. An overview of the project (ENRICH-2), including the ENRICH-1 (ENhancing ResIlienCe to future Hydro-meteorological extremes in the Mun River Basin in the Northeast of Thailand) project and the objectives and expectations of the workshop, was delivered by Prof. Mukand S. Babel of the Water Engineering and Management (WEM) Program, School of Engineering and Technology (SET), AIT.

“This event has local and global relevance,” the UoE Vice Chancellor highlighted. Prof. Quine pointed out the importance of the project to agricultural production in Thailand and other countries exposed to combined short-term and long-term impacts of flooding and drought (such as Australia, Northeast Brazil, the United States of America, and different parts of India and China). Ms. Blackburn, in support of Prof. Quine, said solutions or findings that derived from research taking place in one location could benefit and impact another location under similar climate risks. 

The work carried out to achieve the objectives of ENRICH-2 was presented in 3 different sessions by Dr. Jessica Penny and Dr. Priscila Alves from the UoE. Each session comprised comments from distinguished panel members and feedback from the participants. 

Ph.D. student from UoE, Ms. Jessica Penny, presented the assessment of flood hazards in the Mun River Basin for current and future climate by combining ‘drought hazard maps for baseline and future’ and ‘flood hazard maps for baseline and future’ to project ‘joint hazard maps for baseline and future.’ In addition, she also shared her research on ‘the formulation of adaptation strategies,’ proposing Nature-based solutions (NBS) and collaboration with stakeholders. 

Through her qualitative analysis, Dr. Priscila Alves, Lab Manager and Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Maryland, utilized data from ‘Clarivate Web of Science,’ ‘Google Scholar,’ and ‘Connected Papers’ to develop the framework for integrated management of flood and drought risks. Her research comprised defining the context-specific conditions, assessing dual risk context, implementing dual risk integrated solutions, and evaluating the context-specific conditions. Dr. Alves concluded, ‘engaging with stakeholders is the key, especially for understanding the social and political contexts of the region.’

The final session, chaired by Prof. Babel, focused on further inputs from the workshop participants and the way forward within the project and beyond. Prof. Slobodan Djordjevic from UoE led the presentation and underlined that the partners and institutions in this project would remain engaged with stakeholders from Thailand and seek further financial support for more substantial projects. Some of these project ideas included a comprehensive evaluation of adaptation strategies to floods and droughts in Thailand and piloting some of the adaptation measures for integrated flood and drought management in the Mun River Basin. He also highlighted the possibility of applying the ENRICH-2 project outcomes in other regions of Asia and different continents.

To conclude the event, Dr. Ho Huu Loc of AIT and Prof. Mat Collins of UoE thanked all the participants for joining the event and providing their valuable input. Ninety-five participants from different government departments, universities, and research and international organizations attended this workshop.


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Project ENRICH – A collaboration between AIT and the University of Exeter is completed