Water Management in Seasonal Floodplains of the Mekong Delta: A case study from four villages in Cambodia and Vietnam

Werthmann, Christine

This paper will focus on issues that arise in the Lower Mekong region. Poverty is extremely high in the rural areas of Cambodia and Vietnam and access to natural resources and their sustainable management play a significant role in poverty reduction in both countries.

Institutional arrangements in four villages in the Lower Mekong area (2 in Vietnam, 2 in Cambodia) will be described. The region is characterized through various forms of institutions and different overlapping and changing property rights not only with historical, political and social-economical differences in Cambodia and Vietnam, but as well as with differences through seasonal changes. Furthermore, various groups have access to the resources and use them in various ways at different times, which give the water resource system a multiple use character. Although the four villages do face quite similar natural settings and in all villages people derive their livelihoods from fishing and rice farming, institutional arrangements differ between Vietnam and Cambodia as well between the villages with each having its own history of collective action and property rights settings.

This paper presents a situation analysis of the complex water management institutions in four villages, describing various factors that are crucial when examining local governance arrangements and their sustainability. Using Action Research in the field now helps to outline factors that make local institutions in each of the four villages unique as well as to attempt to generalize findings.

Conclusions will be that blue-print approaches to development can not be sustainable and successful, because local governance schemes differ, even in similar natural settings.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth Institute
Published Here
November 30, 2015