[Thailand] ENRICH: ENhancing ResIlienCe to future Hydro-meteorological extremes in the Mun river basin in Northeast of Thailand

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths

Abstract

Mun river basin in Northeast Thailand is a prime example of the area impacted by hydro-meteorological hazards. Its specific vulnerability lies in the fact that its upstream parts are more prone to droughts, whereby the downstream part of the basin is a flood risk zone. About 80 to 90% of rice cultivation area in the Mun river basin is rain-fed. Rainfall in the study area is highly erratic both in space and time even though the annual average amount is near to the norm of Thailand. This unevenness has serious effects on rice production, living conditions and income of farmers who are the main population in the region.
ENRICH will bring together expertise and experience from UK and Thailand in the areas of climate variability and climate change, floods and drought modelling and water resources management. The ultimate aim of this project is to establish a strong collaboration and exchange of knowledge between the University of Exeter and AIT, to develop innovative integrated solutions to address the pressing problem of hydro-meteorological extremes and adaptation strategies and measures in the Mun river basin.
The proposed project will address the following research questions:
- What are the main environmental drivers affecting the meteorological and climate variability and change in Northeast of Thailand?
- What are possible hydro-meteorological scenarios and extremes in future in the study area? What is the level of confidence that the projected changes can be attributed to environmental and climate changes?
- What are the expected changes in hydro-meteorological hazards and risks due to future climatic extremes?
- What are the possible and plausible adaptation strategies and measures to improve climate resilience in the study basin?
In line with the recent policy and planning of the Royal Irrigation Department and Department of Water Resources of Thailand, this study will investigate drought hazard due to future climate change, and its impacts on vulnerability and risk in the study area. Furthermore, analysis on current adaptive measures and recommendation for further improvement to cope with future climate change will be produced.
The proposed two and a half year research programme will be realized through four integrated Work Packages (WPs):
WP1 Land use changes
WP2 Climate variability and climate change
WP3 Hydrometeorological extremes
WP4 Adaptation strategies based on the synthesis of results
The ENRICH team will work closely with the Thai Department of Water Resources and the Royal Irrigation Department, from the project inception workshop, through data acquisition and analysis and finally during the dissemination phase, so that the outputs can be taken up.
Two public participation meetings will be organised in the study area with local stakeholders - farmers, industries, local line agencies at provincial/district levels etc. - to understand the hydro-meteorological hazards related issues (at the start of the project), and discuss adaptation measures (towards the end of the project while developing the adaptation strategies and measures) with them.
Whilst ENRICH is a stand-alone initiative that can be completed independently, from an early stage it will seek cooperation with other projects funded within this programme to identify the potential for synergies through sharing data and expertise.

Planned Impact

The key impact of ENRICH will be in the enhanced resilience to drought in the Mun river basin. This will be achieved through research and related activities that will ensure that research results are taken up by the local stakeholders.
We will hold workshops in Thailand at the start of the project, half way through the project and at the end. These three events will have different concept, schedule and aims. The first one will inform the project via stakeholders' input to specifying the focus of our work. Relevant stakeholders will be identified by local project partners (DWR, RID) and will include representatives of the agricultural sector, water managers and policy makers. With their permission, stakeholders attending the first workshop will be added to a mailing list so that they can receive updates about the project as it progresses. The second one will be a progress meeting and the last one will be the main dissemination event that will provide biggest impact.
The ENRICH web page will be established as the landing portal providing all information and research outcomes related to the project. Relevant social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) will be created and integrated into the website to interact with the public, and will be linked with Exeter and AIT institutional social media communications. We will produce quarterly newsletters to inform stakeholders, the steering committee, consulting companies, modelling software developers and the public the latest research outcomes from ENRICH. We will also work with our universities' press offices to issue press releases about key SPIRE publications and to facilitate media interviews, raising public awareness of our work.

Publications

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