VN environment ministry prepares to tackle drought

Chau Tran Vinh, deputy head of the Department of Water Resources Management under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, talks about water security challenges and measures to tackle them.

Could you give us an overview of water shortage issues in Vietnam this year?

This year, all regions of Vietnam – the northern part, the central region, the Central Highlands, to the Mekong Delta – will suffer from various degrees of drought and water scarcity.

VN environment ministry prepares to tackle drought
The Krong H'Nang River in Central Highlands province Dak Lak dried up in a photo taken on April 15, 2020. The river supplies water to tens of thousands of hectares of crops in the Ea Kar District. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Dung

Rainfall and the flow of rivers and streams across the country has been and likely will be lower than many years’ average, continuing the disappointing water level in 2019 when we witnessed shortages even during the peak of the rainy, stormy season.

In many reservoirs – especially key ones in each of the country’s geological areas – the water level they have managed to store at the beginning of the dry season is only 40-75 per cent of their designed capacity. Worse, I have received a report of one reservoir running on 20 per cent its capacity.

The average level stored at medium and small hydropower reservoirs is 70-80 per cent at maximum, with many at 40-50 per cent of their capacity.

The Hoa Binh hydropower plant in the north, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia with a volume of more than six billion cu.m, this year has reported a record low water level during its 30-year history.

For the northern delta region, right after the rainy season ended in September, foreseeing the inevitable dire shortage of water and subsequent impacts on energy security in the entire country – especially in the summer months of May and June, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment held a number of meetings with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Vietnam Electricity and owners of reservoirs to discuss and come up with agreements on adjusting reservoir operation plans for different phases – the end of the flooding season, beginning of the dry season, or before each water release.

The priority was to save water and mitigate issues resulting from water shortages.

That’s why in the irrigation period for the winter-spring crop, the water supply was ensured for the fields in the north and the water remaining in large reservoirs like Hoa Binh, Son La, Thac Ba and Tuyen Quang could basically cover the needs of the delta for the remainder of the dry season.

For the Mekong Delta, despite the severity of drought and salinity intrusion rivalling that of the record-breaking 2016, thanks to early forecasting of the ministry, timely instructions from the Government and proactive prevention and mitigation efforts from southern localities, the loss caused to rice and other crops in the region was minimised. It’s estimated that 60 per cent of the winter-spring rice in the delta has been harvested.

This is a win for people in the Mekong Delta, however, we still urge provinces like Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre and Tien Giang to be constantly watching for the developments of drought and salt intrusion in their jurisdiction and put in place stronger measures.

 

Could you elaborate on the release of water from reservoirs in recent times?

The environment ministry has instructed competent authorities – especially the General Department of Hydro-Meteorology and the Department of Water Resources Management, to step up forecasting to issue timely warnings for important river basins across the country.

Our water resources department has been in close contact with major reservoirs in these regions to schedule the release of water – especially concerning important basins such as Ma River, Ca River, Huong River, Se San River or Dong Nai River – to balance both the goal of fulfilling the water demands downstream and the goal of retaining enough water to be used for the rest of the dry season, ahead of the spike in electricity use.

Although the lack of rainfall and flooding happened to all 11 river basins in these regions since the end of the flood season and the beginning of the dry season, so far, only a few basins run an elevated risk of water scarcity, and if properly regulated, there will be sufficient water to supply for downstream use for the remainder of the dry season.

The water resources department is asking the environment ministry to allow for a lower volume of water discharged downstream for certain struggling reservoirs, including Cua Dai Lake (Ma River in Lao Cai Province), Binh Dien (Huong River in Thua Thien-Hue Province), A Vuong (Vu Gia-Thu Bon River in Quang Nam Province), Ka Nak (Ba River in Gia Lai Province), Se San 4 (Se San River in Gia Lai Province) and Dai Ninh (Dong Nai River in Dong Nai Province).

What steps is the ministry planning to deal with likely complex developments of drought and water scarcity in the coming months?

In the short-term, we are trying to raise the accuracy of our forecasts – especially concerning extreme events, and continue to closely monitor the use and exploitation of water resources, supervise the operation of reservoirs and step up the search for underground water to help alleviate water difficulties for areas where water from reservoirs can't reach.

The environment ministry, in addition, will accelerate the progress on the National Water Resources Planning, inter-provincial river basin and water resources planning, and complete the database on water resources, exploitation, use and conservation from local to central levels.  VNS

Water issues to be severe in many localities: experts

Water issues to be severe in many localities: experts

Along with Mekong Delta, the central region will suffer prolonged drought and saline intrusion during the rest of this year’s dry season, experts warned.

Vietnam foresees water issues in 2020

Vietnam foresees water issues in 2020

Rivers across Vietnam are facing severe water shortages in the coming dry season.  

Water shortages warned as reservoirs run dry

Water shortages warned as reservoirs run dry

The national irrigation department has reported a staggeringly low level of water reserves in northern and central regions, signalling the threat of a severe drought in 2020.

 
 

Other News

.
HCM City targets 1,000 MWp of rooftop solar power at industrial zones by 2024
HCM City targets 1,000 MWp of rooftop solar power at industrial zones by 2024
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  23/06/2020 

HCM City aims to have 1,000 MWp of rooftop solar power capacity installed by 2024 in its industrial parks, export processing zones and high-tech parks, up from 700MWp now.

Vietnam effectively curbs impacts of drought, saline intrusion in Mekong Delta
Vietnam effectively curbs impacts of drought, saline intrusion in Mekong Delta
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  23/06/2020 

Mekong Delta provinces have experienced the most severe drought and saline intrusion ever in the dry season 2019-2020 but the negative impacts on agriculture production and daily life were minimised significantly thanks to effective measures,

Vietnam’s network sharing deal a boon for future telco collaborations: Fitch Solutions
Vietnam’s network sharing deal a boon for future telco collaborations: Fitch Solutions
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/06/2020 

Vietnam’s four State-owned mobile operators – Viettel, VNPT-Vinaphone, GMobile and MobiFone – have just agreed to share some 1,200 base transceiver stations (BTS), 

Users urged to be careful when using Facebook ‘gender swap’
Users urged to be careful when using Facebook ‘gender swap’
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/06/2020 

FaceApp’s "gender swap" filter has generated the hashtag "#faceappchallenge" and received hundreds of thousands of shares on Facebook and Instagram, raising concerns about security and the risk of sharing this information.

Central Highlands targets 49.2 percent in forest coverage in 2030
Central Highlands targets 49.2 percent in forest coverage in 2030
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/06/2020 

The Central Highlands region aims to raise its forest coverage to 49.2 percent, and forest area to 2.72 million hectares by 2030.

Rare annular solar eclipse visible in Hanoi, Danang, Hung Yen
Rare annular solar eclipse visible in Hanoi, Danang, Hung Yen
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/06/2020 

Hanoi, the central city of Da Nang and Hung Yen city saw a rare annular solar eclipse occur on the afternoon of Jun 21, with residents in the capital being able to see the partial eclipse covering nearly 21% of the sun.

AI-based Vietnamese-language voice solutions launched
AI-based Vietnamese-language voice solutions launched
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/06/2020 

The Ministry of Information and Communications launched two Vietnamese-language speech-to-text generator VAIS and text-to-speech engine Vbee during a ceremony in Hanoi on June 19.

Dolphin stuns beachgoers at Cam Ranh Bay
Dolphin stuns beachgoers at Cam Ranh Bay
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/06/2020 

A large dolphin has paid a rare visit to the shallow waters of Cam Ranh Bay in the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa.

Viettel among investors of new high-speed under-sea cable ADC
Viettel among investors of new high-speed under-sea cable ADC
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/06/2020 

The telecom giant Viettel on June 19 announced it is among the members of a consortium developing a high-performance under-sea cable connecting Vietnam, China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Vietnam alliance of business for environment launched
Vietnam alliance of business for environment launched
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/06/2020 

For the first time in Vietnam, an alliance of business enterprises for environmental protection has been launched to tackle environmental issues in the country.

Facebook removes Trump ad over 'Nazi hate symbol'
Facebook removes Trump ad over 'Nazi hate symbol'
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  19/06/2020 

The tech giant says a campaign ad featuring a red triangle used in Nazi Germany violated its policy.

Zero-waste communities emerge in Hoi An
Zero-waste communities emerge in Hoi An
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/06/2020 

Reserving a 2,600sq.m garden in Dong Na Village in Cam Ha Commune – a farming intensive suburban area of Hoi An – local farmers and businesses have joined hands to debut the first zero-waste agriculture

‘Pay as you throw away’ could solve waste problems
‘Pay as you throw away’ could solve waste problems
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  19/06/2020 

It's common in Vietnam to see people throw garbage on a dumping area by the pavement, then collectors come to load the waste into garbage carts and transport to treatment areas.

Vietnamese Govt considers fee for domestic waste treatment by volume
Vietnamese Govt considers fee for domestic waste treatment by volume
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  23/06/2020 

If the draft law is approved, people will pay a waste collection and treatment fee based on the amount of waste they produce.

US-China row moves underwater in cable tangle
US-China row moves underwater in cable tangle
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  18/06/2020 

In another sign of growing tension, a high-speed internet cable looks set to be blocked by the US.

Japanese team gives up project to revive Hanoi’s polluted river
Japanese team gives up project to revive Hanoi’s polluted river
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  18/06/2020 

The Hanoi Department of Construction has once again requested the team to show their legal documents, but so far the company has not responded to the request.

Three Vietnamese female scientists named among Top 100 Asian researchers
Three Vietnamese female scientists named among Top 100 Asian researchers
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  18/06/2020 

Three Vietnamese female scientists have been named among the 100 most outstanding researchers of the year, according to Singapore’s Asian Scientist Magazine.

sPhoton Chat: useful ‘virtual assistant’ for businesses’ internal affairs
sPhoton Chat: useful ‘virtual assistant’ for businesses’ internal affairs
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/06/2020 

Most ‘virtual assistants’ in Vietnam are chatbots that sell goods or take care of customers, but ePhoton focuses on reducing time for compliance activities at enterprises.

Facebook to let users turn off political adverts
Facebook to let users turn off political adverts
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  17/06/2020 

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg says users will be able to turn off political adverts on the social network in the run-up to the 2020 US election.

Flood and drought remain key challenges for Mekong region: Report
Flood and drought remain key challenges for Mekong region: Report
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  17/06/2020 

Extreme low flows and extensive flooding of different communities along the Mekong River last year and an increasing number of droughts that have occurred in many parts of the region in recent years

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN