Lecture 4: Water management I

by Benchawan Teerakul, Prince of Songkla University

Associate Professor Dr. Chatchai Ratanachai lectured about water management andhis talk was composed of four parts as summarized below:

1) Water as a part of the earth system:

Water is widely occurring on Earth. Only 2.5% of all Earth’s water is freshwater, which is what life needs to survive. Most of the 2.5% of freshwater is locked up in ice and in the ground. Only 1.3% of all freshwater is surface water and 0.45% of freshwater is in rivers. Although rivers hold only 0.00014625% of all water on earth, rivers are the main water resource for humans.

2) Water for Sustainable Development (SD)

To manage water for SD, there is a need to consider the definition of SD. In Brundtland Report, SD is defined as Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Three pillars of SD includes environmental, economic and social well being. Functions of water resources include maintaining natural (dynamic) balance, forming a life-support system, aesthetic use and providing ecosystem services that will support human well being.

3) Water as an environmental issue

Environmental issues related to water are not linear, but interconnected, intersectoral/international /intergenerational, complex/human ecology/policy related, problem-based/place-based and may be a challenge for governance. Environmental issues are complex, dynamic, and uncertain. To solve these problems, there is a need to use system and trans-disciplinary approach. The most crucial issue in the future is water-energy-food nexus.

4) A case study of the Songkhla Lake Basin (SLB)

The main issues in SLB are demand for freshwater, salt water intrusion, waste treatment capability, sedimentation, resource use conflicts, problems with previous development plans, development direction moves in the opposite direction of sustainability principles, no public participation in management, changing traditions and culture, unplanned landuse, and lack of environmental awareness. Government organization (ONEP) together with three universities including Prince of Songkla University, Taksin University and Rajabhat Songkhla University developed a master plan to resolve these problems.