Expectation for breakthrough in water resource management
Ensuring the consistency and comprehensiveness in planning, managing, developing water resources and preventing as well as mitigating natural disasters is essential, especially in the context of climate change. This is also consistent with Conclusion No. 36-KL/TW of the Politburo.
Experts and scientists reviewed at the workshop
This is the wish of the experts at the workshop Improving the efficiency of implementing the Conclusion No. 36-KL/TW on ensuring water security and safety of dams and reservoirs by 2030 with a vision to 2045 organized by VUSTA last November.
Expectation for breakthrough from the implementation of Conclusion No. 36-KL/TW
Vietnam is considered as a country with abundant water resources. The average total volume of surface water is about 840 billion cubic meters per year. With more than 7,500 dams, reservoirs have created a water storage capacity of more than 70 billion cubic meters.
However, in accordance with VUSTA President Phan Xuan Dung, water resources are facing a decrease in reserves due to the impact of climate change and rising sea level; change of the flow mode; heavily depending on water sources generated from outside the territory; degradation of forests reduces the ability to hold water, regulate water sources…
Over the past time, the State has allocated nearly 16,000 billion VND to repair, upgrade and ensure the safety of more than 800 reservoirs. Currently, there are still 1,200 damaged and degraded reservoirs that have not been repaired or upgraded, of which 200 are seriously damaged and need urgent treatment. "In the coming time, if there is no breakthrough solution, Vietnam will face the risk of water insecurity and unsafety of dams and reservoirs," Mr. Phan Xuan Dung emphasized at the workshop “Enhancing the effectiveness of the implementation of the Politburo's Conclusion No. 36-KL/TW on ensuring water security and safety of dams and reservoirs by 2030, with a vision to 2045 (referred to as Conclusion No. 36)" in the morning of 9th November.
Conclusion No. 36 was issued on June 23, 2022, setting the target completing the formulation of national sectoral planning, planning of specialized technical nature related to water by 2025; it is necessary to balance enough water to serve the people's livelihood and socio-economic development, the rate of clean water used in urban areas and rural areas will reach 100% and 80% respectively in by 2030... This is the first time the Politburo has come to conclusion on ensuring water security and safety of dams and reservoirs. This shows the important role and significance of this work for socio-economic development and social security. The synchronous implementation of the solutions mentioned in Conclusion No. 36 is expected to bring breakthrough in management, ensuring water source security, and safety of reservoirs and dams.
3 criteria to assess the safety of lakes and dams
According to Chairman of the Vietnam Irrigation Association Dao Xuan Hoc, there are a number of barriers and inadequacies in policies and state management regarding water resources, which affect water security as well as lake and dam safety.
Specifically, the law in the field of irrigation is reflected in the following laws: Water resources, Irrigation, Dikes, Disaster prevention and mitigation, Ordinance on exploitation and protection of irrigation works... However, the Law on Finance Water resources does not refer to flow regulation, water resource development, building works and water distribution management after the construction. "There is still a gap in the state management of water resources," said Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc.
The state management is currently unreasonable, inefficient and overlapping, especially the division of state management functions on protection and distribution of water resources with exploitation, use and development of water resources, management of irrigation works and natural disaster prevention and control.
Chairman of the Vietnam Irrigation Association Dao Xuan Hoc
A representative of the General Department of Irrigation said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had just submitted to the Prime Minister a draft (the second opinion was taken) of the Government's action plan to implement Conclusion No. 36-KL/TW for review, promulgation in the near future.
The plan sets out 11 main tasks, including organizing and implementing Conclusion No. 36; propaganda work; perfecting mechanisms and policies to ensure water source security and safety of lakes and dams; improve the quality of planning and basic investigation; improve the capacity of storing, regulating and distributing water sources, discharge and drainage of water...
The expert pointed out that our country's water resources are unevenly distributed throughout the year and between years. Most types of disasters are water- related. Therefore, the management, protection, exploitation, use, development of water resources and the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters cannot be separated from each other, nor can the management of water resources be separated from the planning of water resources, development programs, re-regulating surface and groundwater sources, preventing, combating and mitigating natural disasters (floods, inundation, drought, saltwater intrusion, etc.) and exploiting as well as using water to supply water for service production and living needs in rural and urban areas.
Actually, the Chairman of the Vietnam Irrigation Association said that it is advisable to agree on a focal point that will not cause overlaps and gaps, reducing investment costs for the parallel planning of water resources and irrigation planning. The government will decide where this focal point is located in the multi-sectoral ministry. This is also consistent with Conclusion No. 36 when stipulating to review, arrange and consolidate the organizational system and apparatus for managing water resources in the direction of unity, streamlining, effectiveness and efficiency; There should be a focal point to organize the implementation of ensuring water source security and safety of dams and reservoirs; to study and unify the management, exploitation and operation of regional and national irrigation systems.
Agreeing with the above view, Mr. Nguyen Quang Hoa, former Director of Nghe An Irrigation Sub-Department said that the Government needs to define the functions and tasks of state management of water resources between the presiding ministry and other relevant ministries and localities. At the same time, it is necessary to prioritize the solution of building a water reservoir in the solution of water supply works for those in need.
According to experts from the University of Water Resources, to ensure the safety of lakes and dams for water security, it is necessary to accurately assess the working status of lakes and dams under three conditions, including: unsafe construction structure, unsafety due to changes in peripheral conditions compared to the original design, unsafety for downstream in the event that an incident occurs. The safety assessment of lakes and dams should be made into writing so that they can be monitored and appropriate plans of rescue, restoration, upgrading and repair will be made accordingly.