The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) visited several government agencies responsible for water resource management in Thailand, during a visit in December 2021 to explore possible partnership opportunities.
The USACE team, accompanied by staff of the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP), visited the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) on 15 December 2021 for discussions about areas of mutual interest and cooperation. Founded in 1902 initially for canal maintenance, RID plays a key role in Thailand’s social and economic development. SIP has been supporting coordination between RID and the US Geological Survey on sediment management in reservoirs. A training workshop on sediment management will be offered in July 2022.
During their time in Bangkok, the USACE visitors also met with senior officers at Thailand’s Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) and the Hydro-Informatics Institute (HII).
USACE has been a long-term partner with the Mekong River Commission (MRC), the intergovernmental organization promoting and coordinating sustainable water resource management and development in the Lower Mekong Basin. SIP also has a formal partnership with the MRC.
USACE partnership projects in the Lower Mekong region include a Sister Rivers Exchange program between the two river basin commissions of the Mississippi and Mekong, technical training in the use of USACE Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) water resource modeling tools, and customization of “shared vision planning” tools for the MRC and member countries. Current discussions on further water resource cooperation between USACE and Thailand’s ONWR are under way.
On 15 December, the SIP team hosted USACE at meeting in the Pact Thailand office. Staff from the US embassy in Bangkok and USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) also joined in the visit.
SIP is currently mid-way through a six-workshop series of training for Mekong government agencies, conducted with technical cooperation from USACE, the US government’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Mekong River Commission.
“The USACE visit supported the close partnership that has been developed as we jointly delivered the workshops for improved hydrologic and hydraulic decision support,” said Dr Pinida Leelapanang Kampaengthong, Mekong Programs manager at Pact Thailand. “We discussed ways to build on the work that USACE has already done, in the context of current geopolitical challenges in the Mekong region.”
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