In ‘Our River Was Like a God’: How Dams and China’s Might Imperil the Mekong, The New York Times explores the impacts of hydropower development on the Mekong region, featuring data gathered under the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).
The collapse of a dam in southeastern Laos triggered massive flooding that killed dozens and displaced thousands of people, bringing a renewed focus on hydroelectric dams in mainland Southeast Asia. In an email interview, Diana Suhardiman, a senior researcher at the International Water Management Institute, discusses the trade-offs associated with large-scale dam projects.
Dr. Petra Schmitter at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WLE leads a pilot project that could revolutionize farming in Myanmar's Central Dry Zone, one of the most food-insecure regions in the country.
“We should apply this model to the other 300 irrigation projects in the dry zone. Now many villagers in this area know how to use water more efficiently and there will no longer be disputes over the allocation of water in the near future”
A decade of research shows that partnering with communities is vital if we are to meet growing food needs, while preserving the environment in two of the world’s largest river deltas. This is especially true in the face of climate change.
“Biodiversity – the essential variety of life forms on Earth – continues to decline in every region of the world, significantly reducing nature’s capacity to contribute to people’s well-being,” says the latest Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report.
Coffee is a major export of Vietnam, but the highlands where about 40% of the coffee is grown, is experiencing water shortages in the dry season. Research has found that yields can be increased while decreasing water consumption, and irrigation practices can be improved.