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Supporting the Lao PDR Department of Water Resources to develop a River basin Plan for the Nam Xam river

The International WaterCentre (IWC) was recently involved in a visit to Lao PDR to support the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR’s) mandate to develop river basin plans. The Australian Water Partnership (AWP) in conjunction with Alluvium and the IWC, are providing support to develop an Integrated River Basin Management Plan (IRBMP) for the Nam Xam Basin in the north-east of Lao PDR. The development of an IRBMP for the Nam Xam Basin, will also inform similar processes in other priority basins which are being undertaken by DWR and supported by other multilateral and bilateral donors.

The purpose of this trip was to facilitate a workshop with the national, provincial and district representatives of DWR, as well as other local stakeholders, to develop strategy options that will achieve the vision and objectives of the IRBMP.  While in Laos PDR, the IWC helped to deliver a capacity building workshop on strategy options for basin planning. This was the third in a series of 7 capacity building sessions. As part of this project, the IWC is also assisting DWR with on the job mentoring support where specialists from Australia are paired with staff from DWR for ongoing and informal capacity development in relation to river basin planning.


Workshops held in Sam Neua


Capacity building

Capacity building workshop delivered by Tarek Ketelson


The capacity building session was held in the provincial capital of Sam Neua and delivered by Tarek Ketelsen a governance expert from Amperes. It covered approaches to river basin planning including water allocation planning and strategic river basin planning.

Ms. Manivanh, a gender specialist from Laos also delivered a capacity development session on GEDSI and stakeholder engagement which built on a previous capacity building session that was delivered online. This session included an interactive exercise called ‘power walk’ that helped participants understand different levels of privilege and built support for more inclusive river basin planning.


Participating in the “power walk” as part of a capacity building workshop on GEDSI, delivered by Ms Manivanh



Strategy options workshop

A strategy options workshop was also held in Sam Neua to build on the work completed in an earlier visit. The workshop allowed stakeholders to refine the basin vision and objectives as well as begin to identify strategy options to include in the plan.

The following organisations were represented at the capacity building and strategy options workshops: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and Department of Water Resources (DWR); Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment (PoNRE); Provincial Line Agencies; Provincial Assembly; Provincial Administrative Office; District Office of Natural Resources and Environment representatives (DoNRE); Sam Neua District Line Agencies; Private sector representatives (Nam Xam 1 reservoir developer); Lao Front for National Development, and Women’s Union.

Strategy options workshop was also held in Sam Neua


Field trip

The Australian team also had the opportunity to visit some small scale mulberry farms in the province, which are being developed as a local industry that can be included in water planning systems. Silk production is developing into a thriving local industry, as well as the possibility of eco-tourism, where visitors can learn about the production process for silk.

Visit to a local mulberry and silkworm farm


This project is funded by the Australian Water Partnership and delivered in partnership with Alluvium Consulting

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