future for irrigation sector
The irrigation project will provide water for nearly 27,000ha of
agricultural land, as well as preventing another 31,000ha from salinity,
when construction is completed in the second half of the year. —
VNA/VNS Photo The Anh
HA NOI —
Viet Nam will have nearly 16 million hectares under agricultural cultivation by
the year 2010, says director Nguyen Tuan Anh, of the Viet Nam Institute for
Water Resources Research.
The irrigation sector,
said Anh, aims for sustainable development by guaranteeing a clean and adequate
water supply, both for agricultural and domestic use.
Anh pointed out that the
country has ample natural water resources, with an extensive network of rivers
and streams, considerable groundwater resources and an average rainfall of
1,900mm per year.
In presenting a report
looking back over 20 years of water resource development, Anh said the country
now has nearly 80 large irrigation systems, up from only 12 in 1975. This water
delivery system supplies over 5 billion cu.m for rural and domestic use and
industrial production. At the same time, the ability to supply clean water to
rural users has also increased from 28 per cent in 1996 to 58 per cent at the
present time, thanks to the improved water delivery system.
Besides improving water
supply and quality, sustainable development of water resources has also assisted
in flood control along the Hong (Red), Thai Binh and Cuu Long rivers. Water
resource engineers have accessed and applied international technology in the
manufacture of pumps and small hydroelectric plants to benefit farmers,
especially in mountainous areas.
In Viet Nam, 80 per cent
of the population lives in rural areas where agriculture is the main industry.
Small land holding size, especially in northern regions, makes it necessary for
farmers to improve productivity and diversify crops to obtain greater income
from the limited land available. These efforts must be supported by stable water
supplies, and as rainfall is not evenly distributed, supplementary irrigation is
Despite the developments
of the last 20 years, a large part of the existing irrigation and drainage
system in Viet Nam is still not functioning properly, due to deterioration and
The quality and quantity
of water resources has also been negatively impacted upon by factors such as
increasing population, pollution and climate change, and there has been dispute
over water use and allocation among countries sharing international rivers like
the Red and Mekong rivers.
To deal with these
difficulties, the sector will employ and study international technology, as well
as inviting domestic and international experts to guide new developments.
Anh said the nation would
also create policies to encourage water resources professionals in Viet Nam to
further their studies and contributions to development.
In a related development,
representatives of relevant Vietnamese agencies met with the Japanese
International Co-operation Agency (JICA) recently to finalise the content of a
project to improve Viet Nam’s agricultural productivity through new irrigation
The signing ceremony took
place at the Viet Nam Institute for Water Resources Research (VIWRR), under the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Concentrating on 25
provinces in the Red River Delta region, the project will focus on improving the
participatory irrigation management (PIM) system, through the VIWRR.
The project, expected to
last for five years, aims to produce PIM guidelines and manuals, implement
training courses in water management methods, and train VIWRR engineers to
themselves work as PIM trainers.
The new PIM trainers will
help IMC engineers in each province implement improved methods for water
management and organisation.
PIM aims to improve
agricultural productivity, in terms of both yield and cost, through implementing
new farming and engineering techniques. A centre for PIM was recently
established at the VIWRR.
As the PIM concept is
fairly new to workers involved in irrigation at all levels, it will be necessary
to carry out technology transfers from more experienced countries to
successfully implement PIM in Viet Nam. To this end, MARD requested that the
Government of Japan provide technical assistance for Viet Nam’s fledgling PIM
system. — VNS