Thursday, November 23 2017

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Water management in disarray

Update: October, 23/2017 - 09:00
Châu Trần Vĩnh. — Photo dwrm.gov.vn

Châu Trần Vĩnh, deputy director general of the Water Resources Management Department, speaks to the newspaper Nhân Dân on the importance of close co-operation between agencies in water management.

In your opinion, what are the bottlenecks in water resources management?

Many people have complained about the degradation of our water resources. There are various reasons for this, including rapid urbanisation and industrial development and the serious contamination of water resources in both scope and scale.

Adding to the problem is that underground and surface water has become scarce and the fierce competition for water between hydro power plants and farmers in the rivers’ lower basins, particularly in the dry season.

Another problem should be mentioned is the poor awareness on water saving by many households. Many of them think “water is a free gift from heaven!”

Which agencies are accountable for this problem?

Water management is a complicated issue. In our country, the work of water resources planning and distribution is still new. Furthermore, it is subject to the management of many sectors and agencies while the budget allocated is very small.

At present, we have not been able to establish management boards for each river basin. As a result, we have faced extreme difficulties in the co-ordination of water usage, particularly during the dry season.

Adding to the problem is the poor information system and data regarding the country’s water resources. This has caused a big problem for the work of water management and forecasting for the future.

Co-ordination in water resources management is still poor among water resources management agencies and concerned government agencies, including the Provincial People’s Committees.

Worthy of note is that, until now, most of the water resources management agencies at either the district or provincial levels have not fulfilled their assigned missions in accordance to the 2012 Law on Water Resources Management and other legal documents on how to implement the Water Law.

What should we do to make things better?

In my opinion, we should focus on the planning of national water resources, including river-basin water resources management along the Red River, Cửu Long River and others.

In my opinion, we should focus more on inspection and supervision activities as well as the use of water in major sluices and canals.

Adding to that, we have to impose strict regulations on the operation of the interlink lakes built in the 11 most important river basins in the country.

It is necessary to adopt a mechanism and create a regional co-ordination agency to further tighten the co-operation between agencies and localities in the context of climate change and the impacts of water usage on countries on the upper streams.

Last but not least, it is important to renew the working mechanism and performance of the National Council on Water Resources as well as information sharing between concerned management agencies from the central down to the grass roots levels._VNS

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