Living Weirs: Sustainable Water Conservation in Local Community, Na Mai Phai Subdistrict
In 2022, Walailak University supported off-campus water conservation by organizing a project at the local level titled “Developing a Digital Solution-based Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)”. This project was organized for the local people in Na Mai Phai subdistrict, Thung Song district, Nakhon Si Thammarat. The local people faced climate change disasters, especially drought-causing water crises in the subdistrict. For this reason, Walailak University organized the project for the local people to tackle the drought disasters and water crises by constructing living weirs at the Wang Heeb River. The construction process was implemented in collaboration with stakeholders, local people, Prince of Songkhla University, GIZ, local government organizations in Thung Song district, and the private sector. The living weirs were constructed in line with the sustainability methods of ecosystem-based adaptation, the philosophy of sufficiency economy, and local knowledge, ensuring that no ecosystems and environment were affected.
WU assessed, studied, and monitored the benefits and positive impacts of the living weirs through various aspects, including:
- River restoration and hydrological impacts
- Environmental and ecological impacts
- Social impacts and benefits
- The local people’s ways of life and partnership process
The results of the project suggested that the living weirs were beneficial to ecosystem and environmental conservation, sustainable water management, and tackling climate change disasters. Moreover, the project strengthened the community to prepare for tackling climate change by using nature-based solutions. From the study, here were the benefits of the living weirs for improving water security and the environment and tackling drought disasters:
- The local people could store water supplies from the living weirs
- Reduce the damage to the current in creeks and rivers
- Improving the biodiversity
- The living weirs became fish’s habitats
Walailak University has not only supported the water conservation outreach program by WU researchers or lectures but also the water conservation activities integrated with education. In 2022, Walailak University, through the WU students from the Science Program in Environmental Health, organized a project on improving and conserving the aquatic ecosystem of swamp forests in the southern region of Pak Phanang district. The forests have been serving as watershed forests, nourishing people’s lives in the southern region of Thailand. The project aimed to revive the life of the forests through the resurrection of diversity. It also raised awareness among the students about water conservation to maintain its benefits and sustainability for future generations.
In 2022, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit, an expert and lecturer who specializes in sustainable water resource management and planning at Walailak University, established a partnership with the Office of the National Water Resources to work on water security at local, regional, and national levels. Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit was appointed by the Office of National Water Resources as a member of three committees, including the Water Resource Management Sub-Committee in the Southern Region of Thailand, the Basin Management Committee on the Southern Upper East Coast of Thailand, and the Nakhon Si Thammarat Water Resource Management Sub-Committee.
As a member of those committees, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit collaborated with the relevant government organizations to set policies and guidelines for water security management in each region assigned by the committees. Regarding the collaboration with the Nakhon Si Thammarat Governor’s Office, Walailak University, through Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit, was involved in setting the “Nakhon Si Thammarat Province Water Resource Action Plan in the fiscal year 2022.” In addition, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit served as a luminary to assess and suggest recommendations to the Office of the National Water Resources on improving the mobile application to report flooding disasters.
For Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit and the members of the Nakhon Si Thammarat Water Resource Management Sub-Committee were responsible for setting strategic plans for water security management for subdistricts in the province. Nakhon Si Thammarat is one of the predominant agricultural provinces in Thailand in which water resource plays a pivotal role in agriculture.
In addition, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit as a member of the Basin Management Committee on the Southern Upper East Coast of Thailand was responsible for setting strategic plans for water security management in the Southern Upper East Coast of Thailand. The committee partnered with provincial government organizations in Surat Thani, Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and others to exchange ideas and perspectives to improve sources of water.
The Water Resource Management Sub-Committee in the Southern Region of Thailand was responsible for setting national strategic plans for water security working with other sub-committees in other regions across Thailand. The sub-committee fell under the umbrella of the Office of the National Water Resources. The office used the information from all committees to present to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to set guidelines and policies for water security.
Here are the projects of Asst. Prof. Dr. Pakorn Ditthakit to implement as a member of those committees:
- Water management in the Sathing Phra Peninsular and Songkhla Lake
- Water security improvement for consumption in Phuket
- Flooding mitigation management in Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Flooding mitigation management in Chumphon
- Drainage system development in Trang
- Floodgate construction in Yala
- The construction of raw water pump stations in Pattani
- Water wall improvement in the Golok River, Narathiwat
- Water chart construction in the Southern River Basin, Upper East Coast
- The Wang Heeb Royal Initiative Project
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals