Vietnam faces a potential water shortage caused by industralisation and modernisation, the country’s growing population and climate change, revealed a senior government official.
To tackle the challenge, a strategy to use water resources more efficiently and economically has been developed, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said at a symposium on water resources and sustainable development in Hanoi on January 19.
The Government is also enforcing the Water Resources Law and has approved a National Strategy for Water Resources until the end of 2010, said Hai, who is also President of the National Council on Water Resources.
Coupled with that, the Government has drawn up a national response programme for climate change and sought out more international support to improve the efficiency of its management of water resources, said the Deputy PM.
According to Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Thai Lai, Vietnam is listed as one of the nations in the world that possess adequate water resources, with consumption per head averaging 11,000 cubic metres a year.
The country has met with various difficulties when managing its water resources as two thirds flows in from other countries, Lai said.
The issue has increasingly been severe when water resources are being wasted and out of control, many of which have been polluted by mankind.
The lack of facilities to regulate the volume of water has also posed problems for the country, said Lai.
According to Koos Neofjes, an senior UNDP advisor on climate change, Vietnam is one of the nations that will suffer the worst effects of climate change, most being water related.
He also warned that even if Vietnam was not affected by climate change, the unsustainable usage of this natural commodity in many parts of the country remains a problem.
The UNDP official asked Vietnam to bare in mind the need to mainstream its planning and management of water resources in its future development plans and in the programmes of other sectors, such as agriculture and power generation, to benefit the nation.
The symposium brought together local and overseas scientists, who will jointly evaluate the current use of water resources in Vietnam and the impact of polluted water on the community. It also came up with proposals to help Vietnam manage its water resources better and adapt to climate change quicker./.