Expert workshop on the Technical Guidelines for Urban Groundwater Protection

One component of the IGPVN project is supporting the Vietnamese partner NAWAPI in developing Technical Guidelines for the investigation and protection of groundwater in urban areas. NAWAPI drafted the first version of the guidelines by the end of last year, in alignment to the project on urban groundwater protection. IGPVN staff and additional experts from BGR have reviewed the documents, provided literature on the state of the art, and suggested improvements. In turn, NAWAPI improved the guideline drafts based on IGPVN’s recommendations. After two rounds of review and updating, NAWAPI produced the final draft. At the expert workshop on 27 October 2017, the final draft was presented and discussed, in order to answer open questions and subsequently finalize the documents.

Participants at the expert workshop

The two documents will serve as guidelines for assessing and improving groundwater protection in urban areas. They focus on four major issues: declining water levels, contamination, saltwater intrusion, and land subsidence. Their titles are:

  1. Technical Guideline on Investigation Techniques for Urban Groundwater (Hướng dẫn kỹ thuật điều tra nước dưới đất đô thị)
  2. Technical Guideline on Protection of Urban Groundwater (Hướng dẫn kỹ thuật bảo vệ nước dưới đất đô thị)

The workshop focused on the second Technical Guideline, which contains the methods for investigation and assessment, and possible solutions for the different groundwater issues. The participants from NAWAPI, its Divisions for the North, Centre, and South of Vietnam, and experts from IGPVN discussed the determination of available groundwater resources in detail. This is a complicated but important topic, as the sustainable use of groundwater and assessing aquifer exhaustion depends on knowing the available resources.

The participants agreed on the selection of methods for assessment of vulnerability of groundwater against contamination. However, NAWAPI asked for a review of the method for ranking contamination hazards (from waste disposal sites, wastewater discharges, etc.) and creating maps of contamination risk. Furthermore, the method descriptions for determining saltwater intrusion and land subsidence risks will be improved.

Discussing concepts for maps of sustainable groundwater use

One new feature of the current draft of the Technical Guideline is a summary assessment of all risks to sustainable groundwater use. At the workshop, there was disagreement between experts whether condensing such a complex issue into a single number is feasible and sensible, and how it could be done. IGPVN will further advise NAWAPI on this topic.

For the guideline’s chapters on solutions for groundwater protection, everybody agreed on the general approaches. For some of the concrete methods and measures for protection of groundwater sources, groundwater monitoring, and for managed aquifer recharge more detailed descriptions are necessary, which NAWAPI will develop with IGPVN’s support by the end of this year.

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