Groundwater is one of the main water resources for water supply in Vietnam. Hence, the preservation and sustainable management of the good quantitative and qualitative status of groundwater bodies are vital for the future economic and social development of the whole country.
The increasing water demand causes declining groundwater tables and land subsidence due to overexploitation. Without effective counter-measures, in particular in sensitive river delta and coastal zones, the environmental conditions continue to worsen. In addition, effects of climate change result in more extreme weather events and are associated with an increase in sea level and land subsidence, thus have negative effects on food security and income generation of the local population.
Coastal groundwater resources are endangered by salinisation and intruding seawater. In the Mekong Delta, the situation of groundwater is already regarded as dramatic. Many experts require an immediate departure from the current practice of over-exploiting and the search for alternatives for water supply in drinking and industrial water area.
A sustainable management of groundwater requires at all administrative levels a coherent inter-sectoral approach to manage the sustainable use and protection of groundwater, which is unprecedented in Vietnam. Within the Vietnamese-German Development Cooperation, the BGR Technical Cooperation Project “Improvement of Groundwater Protection in Vietnam” aims to enhance technical and management capacities of government agencies, especially institutions in charge of water resource management on the central level (MONRE/NAWAPI) and in selected provinces of the Mekong River Delta (PPCs/DONREs) and applies improved methods for groundwater management based on increased knowledge.
This objective is underlined by the promotion of integrated water resource management (IWRM).
The project started in early 2015 and will finish by end of 2017. It consists of four components:
- Policy consultancy at national and provincial level (development of technical guidelines, circulars)
- Technical assistance to improve understanding about groundwater situation and management
- Awareness raising on groundwater problems and IWRM
- Capacity building in the three components above
Current results and Outlook
The project works on a multi-level approach under the umbrella of the German Development Cooperation Program on Coastal Zone Protection Management (carried out by the German GIZ) to advise on a coherent national policy on groundwater protection. It contributes to improved data and factual records on groundwater management in the Mekong river provinces.
Areas of work are:
- Strengthening the integrated water resource management (IWRM) cooperation for groundwater protection. Along with this process g working relationships between involved Ministries and Institutions shall be improved.
- Modernization and strengthening of the legal framework for a sustainable management and protection of groundwater
- Increasing the involvement of local people in the protection of groundwater resources (environmental education, environmental communication)
- Improving groundwater management by sophisticated data collection and analyses as a basis for the development of hydrogeological models which help to predict the development of the resource and will guide policy decisions
- Strengthening of professional skills and technical know-how of the project partners to better implement the core institutional functions in the field of groundwater protection