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What’s behind Ministry’s decision to rename Red River exploitation plan?

VietNamNet Bridge - Experts believe that Vietnam needs to set up a national committee on Red River exploitation to be in charge of making decisions on issues related to water source security.
VietNamNet Bridge - Experts believe that Vietnam needs to set up a national committee on Red River exploitation to be in charge of making decisions on issues related to water source security.


The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment’s (MONRE) has asked for the Prime Minister’s permission to change the name of the ‘the overall planning on the Red River exploitation’ into ‘the water resource planning for the Red – Thai Binh rivers’ basin’.

The ministry has also decided to set up a council appraising the outline of the planning which will give overall assessments to most effectively exploit the water resource of the Red River.

According to Vu Trong Hong, former deputy minister of MONRE, there is a difference in ‘water resources’ and ‘water’.  While ‘water resource’ is owned by the state, ‘water’ can be used in all activities in the society’s life.

Hong commented that the ‘overall planning on the Red River exploitation’ aims to use the Red River’s water in harmonization for different purposes, while the ‘the water resource planning for the Red – Thai Binh rivers’ basin’, only aims to assess the potential of the resources. 

This means that the two plans targets two different purposes.

Hong said that it is necessary to determine the priority order for the use of the Red River’s water. Having drinking water for people’s daily life, apparently, must be the Number 1 priority, while having water for irrigation is Number 2.

“I emphasize here the need of arranging water for irrigation, because Red River provides water to the Red River Delta, one of the two biggest and most important deltas in Vietnam,” he said.

“How will tens of millions of people live on, if there is no water for irrigation from the Red River?” he said.

Experts believe that Vietnam needs to set up a national committee on Red River exploitation to be in charge of making decisions on issues related to water source security.
Vietnam also needs water for electricity generation, fish farming, industries, urban areas, waterways transport and tourism, for environmental protection and saline prevention.

Since the Red River’s water is needed for many purposes, the decision should not be given to any single ministry.

“I think the Red River determines the survival of a whole delta. Therefore, it is necessary to set up a national committee on the Red River which will make decisions on the issues related to water source security,” he said.

An investor recently proposed to develop the trans-Asia waterways transport project. However, the project has been facing strong opposition from economists and environmentalists, who think the project may spoil the plan on Red River exploitation.

The Vietnam River Network (VRN) warned that the project, if implemented, will affect millions of farmers in the Red River Delta.

Dat Viet


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