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Diagnosing challenges and setting priorities for sustainable water resource management under climate change

Ibrahim Nourein Mohammed, John D. Bolten, Nicholas J. Souter, Kashif Shaad, Derek Vollmer

Scientific Reports, 12

January 17, 2022

Managing transboundary river basins requires balancing tradeoffs of sustainable water use and coping with climate uncertainty. We demonstrate an integrated approach to exploring these issues through the lens of a social-ecological system, combining remote and in-situ earth observations, hydrologic and climate models, and social surveys. Specifically, we examine how climate change and dam development could impact the Se Kong, Se San and Sre Pok rivers in the Mekong region. We find that climate change will lead to increased precipitation, necessitating a shift in dam operations, from maintaining low flows to reducing flood hazards. We also find that existing water governance systems in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia are ill-prepared to address the problem. We conclude that the solution space for addressing these complex issues will be highly constrained unless major deficiencies in transboundary water governance, strategic planning, financial capacity, information sharing, and law enforcement are remedied in the next decades.

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CITATION

Mohammed, Bolten, J. D., Souter, N. J., Shaad, K., & Vollmer, D. (2022). Diagnosing challenges and setting priorities for sustainable water resource management under climate change. Scientific Reports, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-04766-2