Vietnam protects water resources for sustainable rural development

12:26 | 13/04/2015 Society

With a dense network of rivers and canals plus a tropical monsoon climate, Vietnam has abundant water resources from rainfall, surface water, and ground water.

Vietnam protects water resources for sustainable rural development

Acknowledging the grave importance of water in rural development, the Vietnamese government has spared no effort to upgrade its institutions and policies for better water resource management.

Vietnam has 108 river basins and approximately 3,500 rivers and streams with a length of 10 km or more. These water resources are vital to ensuring Vietnam’s food security, energy security, industrialization, and modernization.

However, about two-third of this water originates outside of Vietnam and international cooperation mechanisms for managing trans-border waters are inadequate. Moreover, Vietnam’s growing population and rising living standard is straining its water resources.

Le Huu Thuan, Deputy Director General of the Water Resource Management Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Management, said Vietnam’s population is forecast to reach 100 million by 2020 and will reach 120 million in the next few decades. The increasing population will require better water quality to support a higher living standard and production growth, creating a major challenge for national water resource development.

Because many reservoirs and irrigation systems in Vietnam were built before Sustainable Development Goals were defined, they were designed to improve economic efficiency without taking into consideration environmental protection issues.

Water management expert Nguyen Thi Phuong Lam said it’s necessary to engage the whole community in water resource management to ensure sustainable water resource development.

Water consumers and managers should work together to define sustainable development goals, Lam said, adding that based on such goals, water resource managers will create appropriate regulations to control access to water sources and allocate sufficient water to support the ecology. Measures are needed to prevent water resource degradation and water pollution, restore water resources, and minimize waste water discharge into clean water sources.

At the 3rd session of the 8th National Assembly meeting, the revised Law on Water Resources was approved, promoting a holistic and unified water resource management, and economical water use.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, who is also chairman of the National Council on Water Resources, has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to prepare a national water resource planning and survey to be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval in 2016. This will provide a basis for Vietnam to address issues of water resource protection for sustainable development.

 Nguyen Thai Lai, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said water is vital to our health, food security, and economic development. Water is the key to sustainable development. A wise use of water resources will help protect social security, and economic and agricultural development.

Source VOV News