An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Aug. 15, 2023

Mekong delegation heads to the United States to exchange best practices on water resources management

By Susan Lee

Leaders, scientists and engineers from the Mekong region and the United States are joining together to address increasing challenges over water security and river management.

Preparations are underway in Hawaii and California for next week’s arrival of a high-level Mekong River Commission (MRC-Mekong) delegation, which heads to the United States as part of the annual Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange program. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the MRC-Mekong delegates are scheduled to meet with the Mississippi River Commission (MRC-USA) to exchange best practices on water and river management. The two commissions will be joined by a third water commission, the International Water and Boundary Commission (IBWC) to learn about how the U.S. and Mexico cooperate on transboundary issues on their shared rivers.

From the MRC-Mekong side, the August 14–18 exchange will include discussions on the five most “troubling” trends currently facing the Mekong River Basin: changing flow regime, sediment flow, salinity intrusion, plastic pollution, and flood and drought exacerbated by climate change. The USACE Pacific Ocean Division (POD) Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Kirk E. Gibbs, will welcome the MRC-Mekong delegation to California, where they will visit the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Castaic Pump Storage Power Plant, University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Prado Dam, and an international wastewater treatment plant.

“We’re eager to share the innovative ways that we use infrastructure and cutting edge technology in the U.S. to help monitor water, assess climate impacts, and forecast flooding,” says Gibbs. “While the specific nature of our challenges may differ, we share a common goal: the sustainable management and development of water resources. This enhances stability in the region and supports an economically prosperous, socially just, environmentally sound and climate resilient Mekong River Basin.”

Embracing this multilateral exchange is the CEO of Mekong River Commission Secretariat, Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, together with the “Heads of Delegation” and Joint Committee members from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

“Experience is the best teacher, and we learn more how to tackle our own challenges as we go along – what works and what doesn’t,” says Kittikhoun. “But through partnerships like this with the Mississippi River Commission and USACE, we also benefit by learning from their experiences and expertise.”

Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, the MRC-USA president and USACE Mississippi Valley Division commanding general, emphasized the importance of international collaboration to address shared challenges.

“Water is a universal necessity. With climate change, how we manage this essential resource must adapt to existing and new water related challenges,” says Peeples. “This partnership is a forum to do just that: collaborate and share our knowledge, our best practices and mistakes, so we can work together to meet these challenges head on. At the same time, enhance capabilities of impacted communities in both the Mississippi and Mekong delta regions.”

The imminent Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange will also include Dr. Maria-Elena Giner, the U.S. commissioner for the IBWC, and Commissioner Adriana Reséndez of Mexico’s Comision Internacional de Limites y Agua (CILA). They will share how the U.S. and Mexico cooperate on water, energy, climate change, and mutual challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Sister Rivers Partnership was launched in 2010 to formalize collaboration in water resource management; the exchange program accomplishes this through its promotion of international collaboration, technical exchanges, and sharing of best practices, which enhances transboundary river governance, disaster risk mitigation, and sustainable development – all aimed to promote stability and prosperity.

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID restrictions on travel, the exchange program resumed last July, when an MRC-USA delegation visited with their Mekong counterparts in Lao PDR and Cambodia. During that exchange, the two commissions also renewed their five-year Memorandum of Understanding, which covers 11 areas of cooperation related to water resources management.

About the Mekong River Commission: The MRC-Mekong is an intergovernmental organization established in 1995 to boost regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. Based on the Mekong Agreement among Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, the MRC-Mekong serves as both a regional platform for water diplomacy and a knowledge hub – to manage water resources and support sustainable development of the region.

About the Mississippi River Commission: The MRC-USA was established by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879. The MRC-USA provides water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress and the Army in a drainage basin that covers 41 percent of the U.S. and parts of two Canadian provinces by overseeing the planning and reporting on the improvements on the Mississippi River. The intent behind the mission of the MRC-USA today is the same as the mission placed on the commission upon its creation—to lead sustainable management and development of water related resources for the nation’s benefit and the people’s well-being.

About the Pacific Ocean Division: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division has a highly diverse workforce of over 1,600 military, civilian and local national team members. The POD mission includes engineering design, construction and real estate management for the Army in Hawaii, Army and Air Force in Alaska, and for all Department of Defense Services and Agencies in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. The Division also administers the Corps’ federal water resource development program and waters and wetlands regulatory programs in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The POD program includes the multi-year $10.7 billion Korea Transformation Program and the $15.8 billion U.S. Japan Defense Policy Review Initiative. POD also supports U.S Indo-Pacific Command’s and U.S. Army Pacific’s Theater Security Cooperation strategies, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HA/DR) Program, and Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness with projects throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Sopheak Meas, Stakeholder Engagement Specialist
Interim Press Officer, Mekong River Commission Secretariat
Email: sopheak@mrcmekong.org | Mobile: +856.20.7777.9168

Ms. Susan Lee
Deputy Director, Public Affairs
Pacific Ocean Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Email: susan.y.lee@usace.army.mil | Phone: 808.835.4716

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Readout of Assistant Secretary Ratner's Call With PRC Office of International Military Cooperation Director
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 16, 2024 - Dr. Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, spoke by video teleconference today with People's Republic of China (PRC) Major General Li Bin, Director of the Central Military Commission...

3rd MLR Concludes Balikatan 24, Transitions to ACDC
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tyler Jordan, a native of Illinois and a machine gunner with 3rd Littoral Combat Team, 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, moves through urban terrain alongside a  Philippine Marine with Marine Battalion Landing Team 10 while conducting urban operations training during Balikatan 24 at Paredes Air Station, Philippines, April 27, 2024. BK 24 is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Malia Sparks)
May 16, 2024 - 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment concluded their participation in the 39th iteration of Balikatan, an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military, on May 10, 2024...

18th MEDCOM Commanding General at LANPAC 24: Remote robotic surgeries to save lives on future battlefields?
18th Medical Command Commanding General Paula Lodi discusses Army Medicine in the Indo-Pacific Region during Land Forces Pacific 2024 in Honolulu, Hawaii, May 14, 2024. 18th MEDCOM sets the Joint theater for medical operations while increasing its strategic posture by synchronizing and coordinating health service support and medical logistics across its more than 4,000 square mile area of responsibility.
May 15, 2024 - What does it take to win in the complex Indo-Pacific region? Spanning over 4,000 miles and consisting mostly of the air and maritime domain, as well as densely populated land masses, the Indo-Pacific creates logistical...

Enhancing communication capabilities with the Philippine Air Force
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Quincy Brooks, 644th Combat Communication Squadron client systems technician, briefs Philippine Air Force 1st Lt. John Mangaoang, assistant director for command and control capability for the office of the assistant chief of Air Staff, about the Harris PRC-152A line of sight radio capabilities during Cope Thunder 24-1 at Basa Air Base, Philippines, Apr. 12, 2024. Cope Thunder 24-1 enables the U.S. and the Philippines to integrate capabilities and technologies to enhance interoperability at all levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)
May 15, 2024 - Bilateral exercises such as Cope Thunder 24-1 underscore the importance of allied and partner nations coming together to enhance interoperability between participating forces. One key aspect of this collaboration is ensuring...

U.S. Navy Destroyer Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in the South China Sea
240510-N-IM467-1007
SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 10, 2024) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG-97) conducts routine underway operations in the South China Sea, May 10, 2024. Halsey is forward-deployed and assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ismael Martinez)
May 15, 2024 - On May 10, USS Halsey (DDG 97) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law...