Managing water resources in an equitable and sustainable manner in the context of climate change and greater uncertainty is a huge challenge for the Mekong countries of Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. The challenge is made more difficult in times of water scarcity when total water use in a system affects both the supply and quality of water while existing institutional arrangements are unable to cope with economic demands, domestic demand and environmental flows.

This brief, based on a literature review, provides a greater understanding of the institutional, social, financial and political and climatic factors that influence water-related risk and water management in times of scarcity.