Sustainable Water Management under Variable Rainfall Conditions in River Communities of Champhone District, Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR

  •  Outhevy Vongmany    
  •  Kazuo N. Watanabe    
  •  Takeshi Mizunoya    
  •  Makoto Kawase    
  •  Akira Kikuchi    
  •  Helmut Yabar    
  •  Yoshiro Higano    
  •  Nouansisavad Sombounsack    
  •  Oukham Phounpakon    


A large majority of the rural population of Lao PDR remains dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and food security, for which access to and management of irrigated and rain-fed water sources is critical. Crop choices and planting calendars follow a monsoonal (dry season/wet season) weather system and are vulnerable to variations in the supply of rainfall, particularly deficits in the dry season and oversupply in the wet season. Climate change projections show that flood vulnerable areas like Champhone district, Savannakhet province might face worse problems in future, affecting food security and agricultural development.

This study examines how households are being affected by flooding and drought in Xe Champhone district. Flood vulnerability was assessed by calculating the rainfall variation to determine the water balance during rainy season and dry season. This was combined with analysis of social data from household surveys, together with institutional capacity at different levels and coping strategies currently used by farmers. Constraints and opportunities are identified to strengthen adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in the Xe Champhone River basin of Savannakhet province. Hydrology data show that the water balance was unstable during both the rainy and dry seasons. The minimum runoff is very low in dry season (Q = 2.4 m³/sec), while the maximum runoff is high in rainy season (Q = 274 m³/sec). Harvesting rainwater in the wet season for use in dry season could reduce the vulnerability of farmers. This study aims to support small-scale community water management initiatives in Lao PDR.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.