(Hanoi) On October 17th 2014, the third International Symposium and Exhibition on Vietnam Water Cooperation Initiative (VACI 2014) has been organized by the National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NAWAPI) with the support of the BGR and other international organizations and under the steering of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). This year’s topic was about “Innovative Monitoring and Forecasting Solutions”. Dr. Nguyen Thai Lai – Vice Minister of MONRE hosted the event.
About 100 scientific reports, presentations and posters from more than 10 countries and regions, including Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and the United States among others, were presented at the event.
In his speech, Dr. Nguyen Thai Lai has stressed the importance of water resources in any production activities and cited the message of the United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon given at the World Water Day 2013: “Water holds the key to sustainable development, we must work together to protect and carefully manage this fragile, finite resource”.
Data since 1980 show that the total water extraction volume worldwide has increased over 1% per year, which adds continuous pressure on water resources in many countries and regions. At present, about 780 million people have no access to safe drinking water while both surface and groundwater is increasingly polluted. According to the forecast of the United Nations, the World needs 30% more water in 2030 and 44% more in 2050.
Vietnam is among the five countries which are hit worst by climate change and sea level rise. Water challenges will be more serious in the future with fast economic growth, urbanization and population increase, quoted Dr. Lai by Vietnam News.
Aware of the situation, the Vietnamese Government is paying more attention to the protection of water resources and the environment. VACI is one of the events promoted by MONRE to create a global platform to share and co-create innovative water solutions with a regional emphasis on Vietnam and the Tropics. Besides, it also offers stakeholders, scientists, managers and businesses from around the World opportunities to share their latest ideas and water technologies.
In Vietnam the monitoring of water resources has not started until 1988. The country is currently operating 730 groundwater and 7 surface water monitoring stations. The very limited facilities, however, have brought tremendous benefits in forecasting and making correct decisions at the right time.
Participants at the conference have discussed about water resource monitoring and forecasting issues such as measuring, collecting, integrating and interpreting data, exploring regional, national and local monitoring needs and enhancing ongoing monitoring programs, transboundary water monitoring issues, water system simulation, modeling and forecasting, data access, information sharing and related innovative technologies and solutions.
The symposium matches with the IGPVN project concept on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), where different stakeholders gather, discuss and look for solutions on different water-related issues. It was also the chance to raise the community’s awareness on the importance of sustainable use and protection of (ground)water resources.