Project Overview


The overarching goal of this research is to improve food and nutritional security and the livelihoods of rural communities of Lao PDR. This will be achieved by enabling the use of groundwater for agriculture for dry season and supplementary wet season irrigation.



1: Select sites for groundwater-based irrigation development

The main outputs for the project will be to produce the ‘groundwater prospect maps’ that will serve as support for those selecting areas suitable for agricultural groundwater development, and as a database that is intended to aid in the management of the resource.


2: Conduct on-farm pilot trials and performance evaluations

This aim of this process is to understand: groundwater and its existing uses; the impacts of pilot groundwater infrastructure on the livelihoods of farmers and the groundwater resource; and the effective management of the resource through trial communities and/or participatory approaches.


3: Identify opportunities and constraints for agricultural groundwater use

A report that describes and analyzes both the drivers for groundwater adoption and the existing barriers for its development will be produced. This report will specifically focus on farmers’ perceptions of groundwater use, household characteristics, and existing institutional arrangements at the village level.


4: Promote groundwater governance

Various comprehensive reports will be made available on: the existing policies and institutional arrangements, both inside and outside the water sector; the existing barriers and future potential for groundwater; and a multi-country review of groundwater management policies and strategies to avoid over-exploitation in Lao PDR.


5: Explore the sustainability of alternative development on groundwater resources

Our aim is to understand groundwater processes and availability, both under current conditions and for future climate, crop type and groundwater development scenarios and to assess the sustainable limits of groundwater utilization in the study areas while developing tools and providing guidance for decision makers.


6: Engage in capacity building, training and institutional enhancement

The outputs for this part of the project will be providing focused training for national partners and other stakeholders, which will cover the multi-disciplinary aspects of groundwater and irrigation management. The project aims to support qualified Lao nationals to undertake postgraduate and on-the-job training opportunities.

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