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Prospects for agricultural water management
According to the national strategy of water resources development, as a result of climate change total annual runoff could decrease by 2025 to 807 km3 (89 km3 in the dry season); by 2070 to 765 km3 (76 km3 in the dry season) and by 2100 to 722 km3 (72 km3 in the dry season).
The government has enacted laws, created institutions, expanded investments and decentralized authority to manage the country’s vast water resources efficiently and sustainably. However, rapid economic development, high population growth, worsening environmental conditions and frequent natural disasters are overwhelming the capacity of the existing policy and institutional framework and in turn are undermining the effectiveness of numerous government interventions. Given this history and context, the management of water resources is one of the most critical issues in Viet Nam.
To achieve the objective of sustainable management of the country’s vast water resources, these key challenges need to be addressed:
strengthening of institutions and policies for integrated water resources management;
expanding and diversifying investment in infrastructure for the water sector, while paying more attention to financing for the management side;
improving compliance and enforcement; and
deepening community (users) participation.
The core issues in tackling the challenges are adopting an integrated river basin approach, greater and more sufficient adaptation to the water-related vulnerability and susceptibility, expanded and more efficient services for irrigation and municipal water supply, and curbing water pollution and its health impacts on the poor. More proactive engagement in regional riparian cooperation, improving information management, complete separation of the water management and service functions, further decentralization of management authorities, and strengthening of institutional capacity would provide Viet Nam with the required management tools that will address equity, efficiency and environmental sustainability of its water resources.