|Trippers explore the nature of Cát Tiên Park in Đồng Nai Province. A partnership programme for water conservation in the basins of the Hồng (Red), Đồng Nai and Tiền River has been launched. VNS Photo Công Thành
ĐỒNG NAI — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in cooperation with WWF-Viet Nam, HEINEKEN Vietnam and local partners, has launched a partnership programme for water conservation in the basins of the Hồng (Red), Đồng Nai and Tiền River.
WWF-Vietnam said the programme would strengthen water resources management in these critical areas.
The partnership programme for ‘Water conservation in Xuân Sơn National Park of the northern Phú Thọ Province; Đồng Nai Culture and Nature Reserve in the southern Đồng Nai Province and Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) Ecological Reserve in Tiền Giang Province’ will be conducted over four years, with funding of VNĐ30 billion (US$1.3 million) from HEINEKEN Vietnam.
According to the plan, the ecosystems in these river basins will be restored, and forests replanted to maintain and improve their ability to regulate and supply water to local communities and support agricultural activities downstream.
|Tourists trek in the jungle of Cát Tiên Park in the southern Đồng Nai Province. The park has been seen as an attraction to adventurous and wildlife-watching tours. VNS Photo Công Thành
The programme is part of HEINEKEN Vietnam’s efforts to protect watersheds and an essential step toward the company's goal of 100 per cent water balance by 2025 – whereby the company seeks to return the amount to the environment of water that goes into its beers.
It also aims to restore the integrity of the ecosystem and the biodiversity in the basin of these rivers, which is high on WWF-Viet Nam’s agenda.
The Red, Đồng Nai, and Tiền River basins have high biodiversity and economic value to the local communities.
However, the overexploitation of water, forest and land, the ineffective management of waste sources, and the impact of climate change have reduced the amount and the quality of water in these regions.
|A section of the Đồng Nai River. The river basin will be conserved under a partnership programme for water conservation along with the basins of the Hồng (Red), Đồng Nai and Tiền River. VNS Photo Công Thành
“Protecting water is one of the top priorities in HEINEKEN Vietnam’s sustainability strategy, especially when beers are 95 per cent water,” said Holly Bostock, Corporate Affairs Director, HEINEKEN Vietnam.
“In our production, we are constantly increasing our water efficiency and improving water circularity. However, beyond this, we also have the ambition to balance the water in our products fully.
"The partnership program with WWF-Viet Nam will improve water quality and restore water management mechanisms in three critical river basins, which feed into where three of our breweries are, in HCM City, Hà Nội and Tiền Giang. With its positive and comprehensive impacts on the environment and community, this programme will be a crucial part of our ‘Brewing A Better Việt Nam’ sustainability strategy.”
Hoàng Việt, Freshwater Lead at WWF-Viet Nam, said: “The programme is designed with a comprehensive approach to address water security issues with nature-based & community-based solutions.”
|A corner of the Xuân Thủy National Park in the Hồng (Red) River estuary. Water conservation in the basin of the river will be protected. Photo courtesy of Xuân Thủy National Park
“With a strong commitment and close cooperation of the Department of International Cooperation, the Department of Water Resources, the General Department of Irrigation and the Department of Special-Use Forests Management, the Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and local partners, as well as the funding from HEINEKEN Vietnam, WWF-Viet Nam believes that the ecosystem in these critical water basins of the country will be protected and developed sustainably, improve water supply in the area, and address a shortage in the lower rivers, especially in the dry season.”
By 2025, the program aims to have the freshwater ecosystem in Xuân Sơn National Park, Đồng Nai Nature Reserve - Cultural Heritage, and Đồng Tháp Mười Ecosystem Reserve restored and protected.
Local communities will form new habits and contribute to the goal of replenishing a total of 3 billion litres of water every year, of which approximately 2 billion litres are expected to be increased through the nurturing and enriching of 1,100 hectares of natural forest in all three river basins.
Two hundred million litres of water will potentially be added by planting 32.3 hectares of extensive timber forests and native trees.
Nearly 800 million litres of water are planned to be explicitly replenished in Đồng Tháp Mười Ecosystem Reserve through water management programmes in wetlands.
Additionally, communities living in the core and buffer zones of Xuân Sơn National Park and Đồng Nai Nature & Cultural Reserve will receive training to adjust their living and farming habits to help reduce the negative impact on water resources.
The partnership program between WWF-Viet Nam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and HEINEKEN Vietnam, if implemented successfully, can become a public-private cooperation model for forested watersheds protection and water resources conservation; and a showcase of collaboration to reverse biodiversity loss in Việt Nam. — VNS