The institutional setting in Thailand is very complex, with various agencies dealing with a single resource, often competing for budgetary allocations. This is most evident in water resources, where the lack of co-ordinated river basin management has led to degradation of water quality and resource depletion. This paper, based on work conducted for the Royal Irrigation Department of Thailand and with financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency, discusses the user needs assessment of an Integrated Land and Water Resources Management System (ILWRMS) for the Bang Pakong river basin. The Bang Pakong is a tidal river in the eastern region of Thailand, with a total catchment area of 18,500 km2. Co-ordinated management of the basin may be achieved by improving the quality of land and water resources information, and by developing the means for information sharing. A system is needed in which the main parties have a sense of ownership while allowing access to land and water information to all stakeholders. The paper reviews the lessons learned during the user needs assessment regarding the interaction of technology and policy in water resources, and discusses the implications for institutional strengthening of river basin management in Thailand.

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