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Acute water shortages a wake-up call: Deputy PM

Update: March, 23/2015 - 09:48
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai on Friday called for greater public awareness of the need for efficient water use, saying it was crucial for sustainable development.

BAC GIANG (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai on Friday called for greater public awareness of the need for efficient water use, saying it was crucial for sustainable development.

Many areas in the country were suffering water shortages, affecting production and daily lives, he said.

The Deputy PM was speaking at a ceremony held in the northern province of Bac Giang to mark the 2015 World Water Day, which falls on March 22. The event attracted representatives from ministries, international organizations and more than 3,000 local residents.

The 2015 World Water Day seeks to deliver the message that "water is at the core of sustainable development."

"Faced with the effects of climate change, our provinces, especially in the south-central region, are struggling with drought, and many areas do not have enough water for production," Hai said.

He said Viet Nam has about 3,450 rivers and lakes, and its water volume averages about 830 billion m3 per year. However, its water resources are depleting with increasing demand, over-exploitation and severe pollution.

The ceremony held in the northern province of Bac Giang to mark the 2015 World Water Day, which falls on March 22. — Photos monre.gov.vn

The Deputy PM said the current situation needed polices that would increase co-operation among sectors towards sustainable water resource development and effective use.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang echoed the Deputy PM on the importance of water for sustainable development.

World Bank Country Director in Viet Nam, Victoria Kwakwa, said that "achieving water security is one of the world's most difficult challenges."

"In Viet Nam, freshwater abstraction has almost doubled in the last 15 years. Surface water quality is increasingly degraded, pushing people to over abstract groundwater, which in turn leads to saline water ingress and land subsidence," she said. "Typically it is the poor and vulnerable who are most heavily affected by the lack of water security."

She said the World Bank was providing assistance in the northern mountainous region, including in Bac Giang, through the Scaling up Rural Sanitation and Water Supply Programme that is currently under development.

This programme will assist Bac Giang and other provinces focus on rehabilitating non-functioning water supply schemes and develop robust well-managed water systems, she said. — VNS


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