15th RAMSAR site in Thailand
November 21, 2018 – Bangkok: WWF-Thailand’s 3-year conservation project, financially supported by Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) as part of their 5-year Global Water Programme, has resulted in the development of numerous participatory mechanisms towards the protection and restoration of an important freshwater source in Northeast Thailand. This would also be the first nominated Ramsar Site in Thailand as a result of the partnership between the private sector, local government and NGO, marking it a remarkable case of success in conservation work. HSBC is also the first financial institute in Thailand to further endorse on this nomination.
The Songkhram River Basin is one of the most important rivers in Northeastern Thailand. It is the last Mekong tributary in Thailand that has no major infrastructure blocking the water flow. This means, fishes can swim freely into Songkhram River from Mekong and use it as a spawning ground. This will, in turn, replenish fish stocks and become a vital food source for this part of the Mekong Region. The quality of water in Songkhram River is also vital for agriculture, especially rice farming. Once accepted by the National Environmental Board, this soon-to-be Ramsar site will cover a stretch of 92 kms and a total of 34,000 rais (or 13,500 acres); encompassing 49 communities, and over 240,000 people.
After the conservation success of the Songkhram River Basin, WWF-Thailand has applied the same practice to the Nong Harn River Basin which is also an important ecosystem in Sakon Nakohn, a province located in Northeast Thailand. The lake covers an area of 125.2 km² and is the largest natural lake in Northeast Thailand. The Nong Han River Basin was originally established as a source for the improvement, maintenance and conservation of aquatic animals. Nowadays, it has turned into a multi-purpose water resource that is used for consumption, agriculture and fisheries.
On 10-11 November 2018 at the Nong Han River Basin in Sakon Nakhon province, volunteers from HSCB were invited to an on-ground workshop where they learnt how to monitor water conditions, compost bio-fertilizer from water hyacinth and release floating buoys.
The HSBC Water Programme promotes water as a fundamental driver of socio-economic growth. The programme emphasizes on the decrease of water quality in Thailand as a result of population growth, urban development and climate change. Maintaining sufficient quantities of good quality water is becoming a growing global challenge that requires immediate attention. Most importantly, the programme shows that action can be taken to turn the tide so that clean water can be accessible for all.