Natural Resources

December 5, 2021, 6:13 pm

Water resources and river basins in Vietnam

(19:44:42 PM 06/11/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Water resources in river basins plays a special important role for developing economy and society, ensuring food security and livelihood of people, protecting environment, stabilizing politics and national security for each nation and for region. The role of river basins in human life has been popularly admitted in the world. The river basins management to use efficiently and sustainably water resources has been concerned as a national, inter- regional and global issue.

 

 

 Water resources and river basins in Vietnam

 

According to Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE, 2011), Vietnam has more than 2,370 rivers with its length of more than 10km, including 109 main rivers. The total river basins area accounts for about 1,167,000km2 while the Vietnam boundary outer area accounted for 72%. Classified by size, Vietnam has 13 rivers with its basin areas of more than 10,000km2, including 9 main rivers (Hong, Thai Binh, Bang Giang – Ky Cung, Ma, Ca, Vu Gia, Thu Bon, Ba, Dong Nai and Cuu Long) and 4 main river branches (Da, Lo, Se San, Srepok). Most of main rivers (10 out of 13) in Vietnam share its basins with China, Lao or Cambodia and the area located outer Vietnam boundary accounted for more than 3.3 times.

The internal rivers are inter-provincial, covering more than two provinces. Total water amount of river basin over Vietnam accounts for about 830-840 billion m3/year, including only 310-315 billion m3 of internal water (37%) and 520-525 billion m3 received from rivers of other neighboring countries (MONRE 2006).

 With the population of 90 million people (2013), the total amount of water per capita by year in Vietnam is about 9,360 m3/year, less than the standard rate of 10,000 m3/year. According to the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), Vietnam is ranked as an average water resources country. This assessment shows that Vietnam has plentiful rivers and streams but is not a plentiful water resources country.

In the situation of the upstream-located countries without fair sharing and rational using of water resources in the trans-boundary river, Vietnam is certainly faced with the risk of water scarcity and water crisis, threatening the sustainable socioeconomic development and food security. Water resources in Vietnam river basins has been severely impaired and degraded by increasing water utilization demand in the sectors such as agriculture, industry, aquaculture, hydropower, and craft villages as well as by unsustainable water resources management.

Climate change is also showing as a threat to water resources reduction in river basins. To scope with the challenges in managing utilization and developing sustainably water resources, especially after the Law on Water Resources (1998) was approved by Vietnam National Assembly, the integrated water resources management by river basins has been approached. Accordingly, 8 River Basins Planning Management Boards (RBPMB) has been established under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), including Hong-Thai Binh, Cau, Nhue – Day, Ca, Vu Gia – Thu Bon, Dong Nai, Srepok and Cuu Long. The Government has restructured the water resources management agencies of MARD and MONRE since 2002. Accordingly, the main management responsibility of river basins has been transferred from MARD to MONRE.

        To solve the environmental degradation of inter-provincial rivers, MONRE has consulted for the Government to establish the River Basin Environment Protection Committees, applying for Cau River (2007), Dong Nai River (2008), Nhue – Day River (2009) which are operating in parallel with RBPMB. On 1st December 2008, the Government issued the Decree 120/2008/NĐ-CP on river basin management. According to the Decree, a new organization called River Basin Organization (RBO) had been established as an advanced step in completing legal institutions for the integrated water resources management by river basins in Vietnam. 

The Decree has also promulgated that the RBOs has its own functions to supervise and coordinate the operation of related Ministries, Sectors, and Provinces in implementing river basin planning; issuing policies; proposing solutions and recommendations on water environment protection, water resources development, utilization and exploitation as well as minimization, prevention of water-caused damages in river basins.

Le Mai/ Source: Monre
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