Vietnam considers changing water source management
VietNamNet Bridge - One of the important issues in the Water Resources Act is the shift from subsidy management to market price management. However, this has raised fears that  agricultural production costs will increase.

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According to the International Water Association, the average water volume per capita is just 9,500 cubic meters per annum, lower than countries with medium level (10,000 cubic meters per annum). If only calculating endogenous water sources, the figure would be 4,000 cubic meters per annum only.

A survey by the General Directorate of Water Resources shows that the total volume of surface water in Vietnamese territory is 830-840 billion cubic meters, including 310-315 billion cubic meters of endogenous water.

However, Vietnam’s water sources are threatened because the ecosystem, especially in wetlands, have diminished because of agricultural production and urban development. 

The total volume of surface water in Vietnamese territory is 830-840 billion cubic meters, including 310-315 billion cubic meters of endogenous water.

Meanwhile, the pollution of underground and surface water can be seen in many places. Forests that help regulate the water are facing the risk of devastation. The Vietnamese irrigation system cannot satisfy requirements for preventing floods, drought and salinity intrusion.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) warned that Vietnam is one of the five countries to suffer the most from the climate change. It is estimated that about 8.4 million Vietnamese would lack fresh water by 2050, while millions of hectares of land would suffer from saline intrusion because of the water sea level rise and 21-35 percent of people in rural areas would fall into poverty.


According to Ha Luong Thuan from the Institute for Cooperation for Water Resources Development, climate change would not only have severe impact on food security and water sources, but would also affect energy security. 

Therefore, water source security must be part of the solutions to adapt to climate change.

Vietnam’s irrigation system comprises 6,648 reservoirs, 10,000 pump stations, 5,500 major sewers, 234,000 kilometers of canals and 25,960 kilometers of embankments. However, the works, which were built a long time ago, are not in good condition. 

They not only cause loss of water, but also require huge investments to satisfy demand for restructuring agricultural production.

Analysts have pointed out that with a limited budget, it would be better to call for investments from many different sources. However, in order to do this, it is necessary to change consider water a limited natural resource, a kind of commodity.

Agriculture Minister Hoang Van Thang denied that the shift from the subsidy management to market price management would make production costs higher. 

Farmers will be able to enjoy better services because irrigation management units must take responsibility for their operation.

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Mai Thanh

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