IWMI joins new dialogue series by ACIAR 

In the inaugural session of the ACIAR Research for Development Dialogue series, IWMI, NAFRI, and ACIAR celebrated a strong 16-year relationship through the presentation and discussion of two widely successful research programs completed in Laos this year. One of these outstanding projects was IWMI Laos’s Agricultural Groundwater Project, presented by IWMI’s Paul Pavelic. Peter Horne, General Director of Country Operations co-chaired the meeting with was Dr Bounthong Bouahom, Diretor General of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), and emphasized the importance of demonstrating how applied research results can influence policy and the future development of programs.

Peter Horne congratulated the programs for outputs such as new tools, maps, and economic assessments that illustrate the tangible positive impacts of these projects. It was widely agreed upon that policy makers need to see this evidence at scale: the number of farmers impacted needs to be high and evidentially sizable across a region, and we are on the path to meeting this goal. The increased capacity of the project was evident, and the commitment to involving students of diverse backgrounds proves vital to long term program success. The significance of ensuring that all ongoing projects go all the way through to development was also highlighted.

The Research to Development Dialogue Series will continue to showcase and facilitate the inexplicably important connection between research and political action.

Posted by IWMI Thursday, October 27, 2016 1:36:00 PM

Workshop on “Mobilizing Science for Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security: Engaging the Media in Lao PDR” 

IWMI-SEA along with several other CGIAR Centers (CIAT, IRRI, ICRAF) and WLE provided support to CCAFS by co-organizing a 2 day workshop on “Mobilizing Science for Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security: Engaging the Media in Lao PDR” on 29-30 April 2015.  The workshop was also supported by the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and the Lao Journalists Association.  Participants included 56 journalists from all sections of the media covering all provinces in Laos.

The objective of the event was to enable journalists to better articulate the key issues and concerns on climate change, agriculture and food security in Lao PDR through improved science-based reporting in order to   influence decision-makers, key stakeholders and farming communities. Moreover, the workshop aimed to encourage the media to regularly publish/broadcast/upload stories on climate change, agriculture and food security in the country and initiate a vibrant public-private communication and social mobilization network in the region, with the journalists as primary members.


Launch of Climate-smart Village (CSV)

On the second day of the Engaging the Media workshop, IWMI-SEA organized the launch of the first Climate Smart Village (CSV) in Lao PDR. 95 participants took part in the visit to Ekxang village, Phonhong District, Vientiane Province. The Ekxang village CSV is coordinated by IWMI. It was nominated in 2014 as a result of IWMI research, still underway in the village, to test and promote sustainable ways of achieving greater use of groundwater for agriculture. Ekxang was also selected due to its proximity to markets, strong local institutions and a spirit of entrepreneurship in the community.


Posted by IWMI Wednesday, March 16, 2016 11:12:00 AM

Groundwater in Practice in Laos 

A one day study tour and training was organized by members of the IWMI South East Asia regional office on November 2, 2015. The visit was to Nam Panai watershed in Vientiane Province. The watershed is one of the focal sites for Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and WLE supported project “Enhancing the resilience and productivity of rainfed dominated systems in Lao PDR through sustainable groundwater use”. The field trip was the final component of a 2 week National Groundwater Training Program organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) supported National Integrated Water Resources Management Support Project (NIWRMSP). The event was led by IWMI and jointly organised with the National Resources and Environment Institute (NREI) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

In total, 45 participants took part in the tour/training. This included undergraduates from various faculties/departments of the National University of Laos and practicing professionals from related Government Institutions of Lao PDR participated.  The participants had exposure to a range of hydrogeology and related issues including:

  • the hydrogeological conditions in the area
  • drilling and testing tube wells for irrigation
  • monitoring of aquifer properties, groundwater levels and water quality
  • exposure to community managed tube well irrigation pilot and privately managed dug well irrigation for cash cropping
  • household level groundwater use assessments
  • community management of groundwater


The undergraduates who participated gave positive feedback about the learning experience. Dr Saykham Sithavong, Acting Deputy Head of the Faculty of Water Resources, reaffirmed that it was an invaluable day of learning for his students to better understand practical aspects in contrast to just the theoretical learning from the class.


Paul Pavelic from IWMI, highlighted that this field tour will enable students and practitioners to decide if they would like to pursue a career in the field of hydrogeology and groundwater management in future. Oulaphone Ongkeo from MONRE - NREI, reported that MONRE is preparing the National Groundwater Action Plan. The details of the Plan includes field surveys, collecting data, data analysis and other activities.



Posted by IWMI Friday, November 13, 2015 11:14:00 AM

Interview with Radio Free Asia 

Please click this link to access to the interview dialog in Lao language on the groundwater project in Lao PDR

Posted by IWMI Tuesday, June 24, 2014 11:18:00 AM

Interview with Voice of America 

Please click this link to access to the news article on the groundwater project in Lao PDR

Posted by IWMI Tuesday, June 24, 2014 11:16:00 AM

Assessment of the Potential for Groundwater Irrigation in the Resettlement Villages of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project 

The preliminary assessment of the potential for groundwater development in Sopphoun and Phonthong villages in Bolikhamxay Province was concluded at the meeting held at Khon Kaen University, Thailand, on 9 August 2013. The meeting was attended by members of the Enhancing the resilience and productivity of rainfed dominated systems in Lao PDR through sustainable groundwater use project.

The meeting was organized to present the findings from the preliminary assessment of the potential for implementation of groundwater irrigation projects at two of the resettlement villages of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project (THXP) in Lao PDR.

The project team invited Hydrogeosci Co. Ltd., to lead the hydrogeological component of the study and to assess the possibility of implementing a pilot site at THXP. Hydrogeosci Co., Ltd., reported that there is potential for the development of groundwater for irrigation in Phonthong Village. However, this was not the case in Sopphoun Village, which has significantly lower prospects for the development of groundwater resources to support village-level irrigation from the shallow aquifers.

The project team agreed to proceed with a second phase that would involve a pilot irrigation trial in a 30-hectare area. This would first involve the drilling and testing of three water wells, two of which would be used as irrigation wells.

Jens Johan Laugen, Social and Environmental Manager, THXP, showed a strong commitment toward this collaboration with the project team, and indicated a strong interest in launching a full-scale irrigation scheme if the pilot trial is technically, socially and economically successful.

The one-day program started with a visit to the groundwater irrigation site at Na Yom Village to discuss irrigation system and water delivery, prior to visiting the Inter Water Treatment Company to inspect the various tools and equipment necessary for groundwater development.

The meeting was jointly organized by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI); Groundwater Research Center, Faculty of Technology, Khon Kaen University; and Hydrogeosci Co., Ltd. Participants at the meeting included representatives from the Department of Irrigation; Department of Water Resources; Natural Resources and Environment Institute; Theun-Hinboun Power Company; and the Water Resources Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos.

Posted by IWMI Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:20:00 AM

Short Course on Hydrogeology II – Groundwater Modeling and Application 

The second short course on hydrogeology, Groundwater modeling and application, was held at the Groundwater Research Center (Khon Kaen University, Thailand) during the period between 4 and 8 November 2013, for nine participants representing five agencies from Lao PDR: Natural Resources and Environmental Institute (three people); Department of Water Resources (one person); Department of Irrigation (one person); Water Resources Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos (three persons); and Faculty of Environmental Sciences, National University of Laos (one person).

The main objectives of the short course were to introduce the participants to the theory behind groundwater modeling using MODFLOW Flex; to provide several examples of hands-on exercises with developing the Visual MODFLOW model; and to introduce groundwater management using numerical modeling techniques with case studies.

The main outputs of this short course included the initiation and encouragement of basic knowledge of groundwater modeling and application for the participants; compilation of technical material such as lecture notes and essential articles; preparation of potential teamwork for future groundwater development projects in Lao PDR; and the establishment of new knowledge and new networks.

The short course was conducted by a team from the Groundwater Research Center, Faculty of Technology, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.

Posted by IWMI Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:19:00 AM

Two-day Groundwater Team Meeting 

The Enhancing the resilience and productivity of rainfed dominated systems in Lao PDR through sustainable groundwater use project recently completed its two-day team meeting on 3 and 4 April 2014, in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.

The main objectives of the two-day team meeting were to bring all partners together to share their achievements and the challenges encountered during the project since the last meeting was held in early 2013. Some of the major accomplishments highlighted include the completion of the short course on Hydrogeology II – Groundwater Modeling and Application, the socioeconomic survey carried out at Ekxang Village, the fellowship grant secured for a member of a local partner and the support provided to ensure their acceptance on a PhD scholarship to study in Australia.

Other outputs from the project include the following:

* Asseldonk, M.W.J. van. 2013. Towards an understanding of how community participation leads to a greater sense of responsibility of the community in groundwater irrigation projects in Lao PDR: A case study from Ekxang village, Vientiane Province. BSc thesis on Future Planet Studies. The Netherlands: University of Amsterdam.

* Hydrogeosci Co. Ltd. 2013. An appraisal of groundwater irrigation prospects at THXP resettlement villages. Report to IWMI for Theun-Hinboun Power Company Ltd. (unpublished).

* Pavelic, P.; Kone, O.; Ongkeo, O. In prep. Pathways to realizing the potential for effective groundwater governance from the least developed country context of the Lao PDR. Water International (under review).

* Serre, L.-A. 2013. Impact of informal irrigation on the groundwater resources at the village scale on the Vientiane Plain, Lao PDR. Diploma thesis (French). France: ISTOM. [IWMI report is under preparation].

The meeting also allowed each participant to highlight what they were planning to contribute to the project in 2014, with sessions to share constructive feedback apart from building team spirit. It was also an opportunity for those who are new to the project to obtain further information on activities of the project.

Posted by IWMI Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:18:00 AM

Placement Opportunities 

Students are sought for the Research Project “Enhancing the Resilience and Productivity of Rainfed Dominated Systems in Lao PDR through Sustainable Groundwater Use” to work alongside other members of the research team on the following topics:
1)    Field trials to assess the technical and economic performance of small-scale irrigation in Vientiane and Bolikhamxay provinces
2)    Social and institutional dimensions of developing viable and sustainable new community-level groundwater irrigation systems
3)    Groundwater flow modelling and predictions for regional aquifer systems
4)    Development of communication materials and tools for multi-level stakeholders


Click here to download more information:





Posted by IWMI Monday, May 12, 2014 11:15:00 AM

Short Course on Hydrogeology I – Fundamental of Groundwater Resources_Brief 

The “Short Course on Hydrogeology I – Fundamental of Groundwater Resources” was organized at the Groundwater Research Center – Khon Kaen University, between 22 and 25 April 2013, to build better understanding of the groundwater science, development and management; strengthen the institutional and human capacities, especially those of the groundwater project; expand the teaching and research capacity in university partners; and improve team-spirit within the groundwater project.

The sessions were a mixture of theory, practice, tutorials and field visits to research areas and irrigation projects.

A total of 30 team members from Lao, namely Department of Irrigation (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry); Department of Water Resources, and Natural Resources and Environment Institute (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment); Water Resources Engineering Department – Faculty of Engineering, and Faculty of Environmental Sciences (National University of Laos), attended plus 2 invited IWMI colleagues, supplemented by around 14 Thai team members from GWRC-KKU attended for the entire four days.

Posted by IWMI Monday, September 16, 2013 11:21:00 AM
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