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Current Status and Issues of Groundwater in the Mekong River Basin

Climate change and population growth are depleting and degrading the freshwater supplies of a growing number of countries in the Mekong River Basin. Increasing exploitation and contamination of groundwater in these countries poses an immediate threat to supplies, giving rise to competition for this increasingly limited resource and heightening tensions between countries. The limited understanding of groundwater systems by member countries poses an obstacle to their sustainable management. In particular, the lack of a unified hydrogeological map system and a common, accessible database on transboundary aquifers are major factors in conflicts regarding groundwater and land use by key stakeholders, unsustainable use by locals as well as inadequate management by the governments of member countries in the Mekong.

The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP), UNESCO Bangkok and the Department of Groundwater Resources (DMR), Government of Thailand, organised an open forum for Mekong countries to contribute country reports and discuss future collaborative work for the sustainable integrated management of transboundary aquifers. This collaboration will provide a great opportunity to further our understanding of the hydrogeological processes throughout the Mekong River Basin, share benefits from shared aquifers, as well as to provide a strategy and vision for sustainable water resource management in the Mekong countries.

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Current Status and Issues of Groundwater in the Mekong River Basin
Seoul: Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM); Bangkok: CCOP Technical Secretariat; Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok, 2015, 121p.