Cas@Laos conference

12 December 2023

With 10 provincial water utilities (nampapa) joining live and 8 online, each province of Lao PDR was represented in the annual conference of WOP WaterWorX.

Ministry-Supported Reflections on WWX Capacity Building Tracks

Supported by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, each nampapa had a moment to share their thoughts on the WWX capacity building tracks and the utilities' individual challenges related to climate change. This resulted in a positive message and an eagerness to work together for the coming years.

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National Coordination of GIS Capacity Building Track

The ongoing capacity building track on GIS will be coordinated on a national level. The most experienced nampapa in the North, Middle, and South of the country will be leading examples and teachers for their neighboring provincial counterparts. With the help of a newly developed GIS manual (to be distributed throughout Lao in January), World Waternet will further incorporate the “train the trainer” approach. The manual itself is largely written by the nampapa, encouraging the “by Lao, for Lao” sentiment amongst water utilities.

Addressing Challenges: Climate Change and Hydropower Dams

Challenges related to climate change, but also the impact of hydropower dams, made up another important topic of discussion. Water utilities shared their experience and rising challenges which will serve as a foundation for the WaterWorX team to identify priority areas to further research utilizing the new NWB-fund. Many of the challenges raised by the nampapa, such as deforestation and rising temperatures, go beyond the water sector while severely impacting water utilities operations. This highlights the importance of opening discussions between the food, electricity, and water sectors, their stakeholders, and related ministries.

Annual Conference: Celebrating Achievements and Setting Future Goals

While trainings and fieldwork make up the body of the WaterWorX project, the yearly conference offers a place to celebrate past achievements and set goals for the future. It is an opportunity for the nampapa to speak openly about the challenges of providing a reliable water supply in a quickly growing but sparsely populated country along the banks of the Mekong River. The conference raises topics that incentivize the importance of collaboration and transparency between the water sector and the many sectors that relate to it.

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