NEEDS ASSESSMENTS AND PROPOSED FOR IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT TRANSFER FRAMEWORK AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL IN RED RIVER DELTA TO ENSURE THE MULTI-OBJECTIVE WATER SUPPLY AND HEALTH OF THE RED RIVER By Nguyen Duc Viet
11:14 - 19/03/2018
The total amount of water of the Red River flowing to the territory of Vietnam has been estimated at about 82.54 bill.m3/year (IWRP 2015), it carries a large amounts of sediment estimated about 125 million tons / year (VAWR 2010), that has greatly contributed to the development of agriculture production of RRD
NEEDS ASSESSMENTS AND PROPOSED FOR IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT TRANSFER FRAMEWORK AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL IN RED RIVER DELTA TO ENSURE THE MULTI-OBJECTIVE WATER SUPPLY AND HEALTH OF THE RED RIVER
By Nguyen Duc Viet
Department of Hydraulic Works Management - Directorate of Water Resources, MARD Vietnam.
Fellow of Project “Capacity building and professional development of water governance and regional development practitioners in the Red River Basin” (MK33).
In Red River Delta, the irrigation system is infrastructure essential to economic development, namely agriculture, fisheries, livestock and other economic sectors, contributing to prevention and mitigation of damage caused by natural disasters. Until now, from the large investment by the state government, the international organizations and the contributions of people, in RRD have 140 dams, 500 reservoirs and 5,500 pumping stations are getting water sources from the Red river to distribution via canal systems, length is 61,300 km (level 1,2, 3 and on-farm) . In RRD has also two largest irrigation systems, which are Bac Hung Hai and Bac Nam Ha has area served up to hundreds of thousands of hectares. These systems are like "blood vessels" for development of 10 cities/ provinces in RRD, with nearly 20 million people are living.
Building irrigation policy in order to improve the efficiency in the use of existing irrigation schemes have been the irrigation managers conducted from past decades, especially after the promulgation of Ordinance No. 32/ 2001/ PL-UBTVQH10 dated on 04/04/2001 by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of Vietnam. Research shows that related to irrigation sector now has over 50 documents including: 01 Ordinance, 03 laws and bylaws (Decree, Circular, Decision, etc.). The system of legal documents related aim to one purpose is to strengthen the institutional management and exploitation of irrigation system in whole country in general and RRD in particular.
Currently, irrigation management institutions in RRD has been decentralized for the provincial level, namely is Irrigation and Drainage Management Companies (IDMC), under the supervision of Vietnam's Government via the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE).
In which, MARD managed irrigation systems at national level; are responsible for advising the Government of Vietnam to build organizational structures, financial mechanisms to enhance the operational efficiency of the irrigation works. In other words, the use of irrigation water-saving irrigation, effective or not, it depends greatly on the institutional planning of MARD Vietnam.
According to Decision No. 795 / QD-TTg dated 23/05/2013 of the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on the "Approving the overall planning of economic development - socially Red River Delta by 2020 ", in which, The RRD's population is projected to reach 21.7 million by 2020 and committed to handle 95% of waste in urban areas and 85% in industrial areas. Accordingly, a number of irrigation solutions for agricultural development to ensure food security and livelihood for 70% of the population of RRD, such as upgrading irrigation works to ensure water supply for irrigation, drainage and shifting agricultural structure.
These results show that total water demand of the economic sectors in RRB in Vietnam by 2020 is estimated at 23 bill.m3/ year of that 81- 98% for RRD (IWRP 2007). In comparison with water demand of other sectors, water demand of agriculture production is largest; it is about 13.65 bill.m3/year, accounted for 16.4% of total annual flow generated of the Red River in Vietnam.
However, effectiveness of hydraulic works has not yet achieved as original designs due to some reasons:
- Most of hydraulic works have been built about 40 years ago, therefore, these works has now been degraded over time.
- Poor management of Irrigation and Drainage Management Companies (IDMC).
- Lack of budgets to upgrade, repair and maintenance the hydraulic works.
- Vietnam’s Government subsidies water fee for farmers, that cover the operating costs of management and exploitation of irrigation works, does not promote the participatory irrigation management of water users.
- Irrigation works strongly influenced by the tropical climate of Vietnam, especially in the context of climate change is increasing these extreme weather events.
Due to reasons as mentioned above, resulting in efficiency of irrigation systems at RRD only approximately 60% compared to the original design capacity. .
Therefore, forecast to in 2020, the Red River needed to be supplied amount of water is about 21.5 bill.m3/year, increase flow by about 8 bill.m3/year compared to actual demand (13.65 bill.m3/year). The irrigation system must receive more 8 billion m3/ year in 2020 from Red River compare with the actual needs of water supply for agricultural production (13.65 billion m3) and millions of cubic meter of water for other economic sectors (such as fisheries, public Industry, handicrafts, livestock, etc) will create a lot of pressure on the irrigation works along the Red river.
Beside that, not all the irrigation water will be "disappear" completely, after water is used in the irrigated lands, it will drain back to the Red River, and irrigated water carries a lot of the residual of plant protection products, fertilizer on the field, waste discharge from handicraft villages, industry parks, etc.; in consequence, poor water quality and pollution have negative impact on ecological characteristics of the Red River (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Impact of human activities on water quality of the Red River.
The main problem of the existing irrigation system in RRD is degradation of these irrigation works, because lack of mechanisms and policies to mobilize farmers to participate in management and exploitation of irrigation works; therefore, government spending (subsidies) annually needs a huge financial source to upgrade, repair and maintenance irrigation works. Considering the long term, water fee subsidy is not a sustainable policy, especially in a developing countries as Vietnam. However, changing the financial mechanism should also mean that the irrigation management institutional needs to be changed.
Besides that, communities such as water users, water user organizations, agricultural service cooperatives are an integral part of irrigation system . Therefore, sustainable management of water resources is needed based on an participatory approach, related to community.
From the practical needs shows to improve the efficiency of management and exploitation of irrigation works in RRD need some breakthrough policy to promote irrigation management transfer (IMT) for irrigation management organizations at community level, in order to create mechanisms mobilizing resources from the community level; for reducing the future financial burden on the state budget.
To promote the irrigation transfer in irrigation sector, need to understand the nature of an irrigation management institutions. According to Dr. Dang Ngoc Hanh, Institute For Water Resources Economics And Management, "Irrigation institutions is an unified bloc, including units and parts - can belong to State sector or private sector - have a relationship in which both independent or dependent, decentralized management, powers and financial interests Perform irrigation transfer can be understood as the process of transfer duties, a part of roles in irrigation management from the State sector to the private sector to bring the benefits (political, financial, etc) for both sides.
Approach methodology to build irrigation management transfer framework in Red River Delta is shown as Figure 3.
Fig 3. Approach methodology to build IMT framework in Red River Delta to ensure the multi-objective water supply and health of the Red river.
The total amount of water of the Red River flowing to the territory of Vietnam has been estimated at about 82.54 bill.m3/year (IWRP 2015), it carries a large amounts of sediment estimated about 125 million tons / year (VAWR 2010), that has greatly contributed to the development of agriculture production of RRD. Some key results of the study in research “Needs assessments and proposed for irrigation management transfer framework at the community level in Red River Delta to ensure the multi-objective water supply and health of the Red river” as follows:
- Assessing the water use demand and the irrigation water supply ability of irrigation system in Red River Basin.
According to three study researches: (i) Project 1: planning using integrated water Red River Basin (IWRP 2007); (ii) Project 02: scientific basis and operating practices for water supply in dry season of RRD (WRU 2008); (iii) Project 03: 2nd Red River Basin (ADB3 2005) regarding water demand of economic sectors of the RRB in the territory of Vietnam, phase 2010-2020 (Table 1) as follows:
Table 1: Water demand of economic sectors in the RRB
Water demand project forecast to 2020
11.70- 13.60 bill.m3/year
0.98- 1.23 bill.m3/year
Industry, handicraft villages
0.31- 0.51 bill.m3/year
0.18- 0.35 bill.m3/year
7.04- 7.70 bill.m3/year
0.50- 0.60 bill.m3/year
20.71- 23.69 bill.m3/year
Water demand to ensure the Red River health
Environmental flow (15% A)
3.11- 3.55 bill.m3/year
These results show that total water demand of the economic sectors in RRB in Vietnam by 2020 is estimated at 23 bill.m3/ year of that 81- 98% for RRD (IWRP 2007). The water use demand on the Red river primarily focused on 10 provinces of RRD. Specifically: (i) Left side region of the Red river (30-40%); (ii) Right side region of the Red river (22-24%); (iii) Cau- Thuong region (15-19%); (iv) Coastal area (14-15%). Forecast calculated by MIKE BASIN model for Red River Delta, phase 2010- 2020, a total lack of water demand for the economic development is estimated at 2-4 billion m3/ year (IWRP, 2007).
- Assesing the status quo of of management and exploitation of irrigation works in RRD (Benchmark Assessment Criteria).
Over the years, the irrigation system of RRD has contributed tremendous efficiency in the service of water supply, irrigation for agriculture, aquaculture, creating water supply, industrial water consumption for residential areas and ecological balance. However, due to the irrigation works built from the 50s and 60's of last century, lead to many canals, sluices, pumping stations has degraded. Evaluation of irrigation management at RRD via some main points:
- Density of on- farm canal in RRD ranks third in the country, approximately 1.85km/ ha. Accordingly, the province has highest density is Hai Phong (7,91km/ ha) and lowest is Hanoi and Quang Ninh, about 0,01km/ ha. Through on-farm canal density indicator shows the roles of irrigation systems to agricultural production in RRD.
- The present status of canal system is low solidification rate, causing losses water and slow transmission capabilities. Assessing the solidification level of canals across the region reached 35.22% (Figure 5), just above the Mekong River Delta (0.57%), but is the lowest compared to other regions across the country. Solidification rate is the highest reaches 79.94% located in Quang Ninh, and Thai Binh is lowest at 8.6%.
- On average, each staff of the Irrigation and Drainage Management Companies currently manage 124.79 hectares, which is moderate level in comparison with other regions.
- Amount of irrigated water in the paddy field (average reach of 4,700 m3/ ha), approximately 77% of the total volume of water supply at the head works of irrigation systems (reaching 6,100 m3/ ha). Therefore, the loss of water during water transmission process from head works to the field are still relatively high, up to 23%.
- Irrigation efficiency of irrigation works is estimated at 60% as original designs.
- The cost of operating, maintenance and regular repairs irrigation works approximately 1.140 million VND/ ha, higher than 2 times the average investment rate in the whole country (760,000 VND/ ha) and higher than in other regions.
- Identifying the constraints, challenges of irrigation management in RRD.
- 1. Pollution from the irrigation system: According to the monitoring results of the Center for Monitoring and Environmental Analysis of RRD provinces in 2014, showed at points along the Red river have some characteristics:
- Pollution by suspended solids, organic matter (BOD5, COD reached 1.3- 3.7 times the permitted standard), dissolved oxygen (DO reached 1:11 1.02- fold), nutrients (ammonium), microorganisms (Coliform reached 1.17-2 times), chemicals and heavy metals (phenol, As, Fe) and plant protection chemicals (Aldrin, 4.4 'DDT).
- Indicators NO2 and NO3 also tend to increase and reached the highest levels in the drainage position of the irrigated area.
- Indicators phosphate, oil exceeded the permitted level 1.1-1.5 times compare with QCVN 08:2008/BTNMT regarding “National technical regulation on surface water quality”.
- Sea level rise and saltwater intrusion: water flow into irrigation systems along the Red river leads to freshwater shortage to push saltwater up estuary, salinization phenomenon increases with rising sea levels caused by climate change will affect coastal ecosystems.
- Maintaining biodiversity of the Red river: According to the scenario, if sea levels rise 1 meter, its will affect to 650.000ha agricultural land; saline intrusion into estuaries from 25km to 40km, biodiversity upon river (inland) will be severely declined. Many aquatic species absorb the toxins inside the water for a long time will cause variation, gene mutations, creating many new species, some aquatic species featured of the river will be die.
- Affecting human health: if the communities living along the Red River used contaminated water for domestic purposes will cause serious diseases related to stomach, nervous system, reproductive, skin, etc especially cancer diseases.
- Affecting the livelihood of local people: the fishery resources decline will directly affects all fishermen in fishing villages, furthermore, those living along the two sides of the Red river, when their crop production will be reduced due to irrigation water pollution.
In summary, more irrigation water may be more harmful for the Red River health, that is absolutely correct in the context of the hydraulic works also supply for other economic sectors such as industry, drinking water, aquaculture farms, etc.
- Proposed some policies for irrigation management transfer (IMT) at the community level in RRD to ensure the multi-objective water supply and river health.
Improve the performance management and exploitation of irrigation systems along the Red river in the RRD, namely irrigation management transfer (IMT) will be one of the "innovations" to minimize the negative impacts to the Red river health. Based on the research results, the proposed some policies as follows:
- Policy 1: "Irrigation management transfer (IMT) for the community level such as water users, water user organizations, agricultural service cooperatives": the purpose is to increase the participation water users at the community level under highest abilities they can manage. In particular, taking into account the empowerment of management, and financial management of the irrigation schemes for local farmers in 5 and 10 years.
- Policy 2: "Change in legal status of the IDMC": the purpose of enabling these organizations to become a private service-providing organizations, financial independence, activities based on service contract with government agencies regarding all activities in terms of irrigation and agriculture. Accordingly, reducing the financial burden on the state budget.
- Policy 3: "Irrigation water is a goods": the aim is to promote and develop the water supply market, to encourage users to use water sparingly, efficiently, increasing revenues for the IDMC for funding maintenance, repair and upgrade irrigation systems. Government financial intervention will only maintenance and maintenance of irrigation works for the areas where people's lives are difficult.
- Policy 4: "Modernization of irrigation systems": the aim is to improve operational efficiency of irrigation system through the rehabilitation, upgrading, modernization of infrastructure and management operating system in the context of climate change and sea level rise. Modernization of irrigation system is also the basis to help provide irrigation water more flexible, more reliable and multi-purpose.
- Policy 5: "Irrigation management in the river basin principle": the aim is to control water resources equitably between economic sectors, and agriculture is also an object of these water use economic sector.
Policy statement made by stakeholders
The policy proposals for irrigation management transfer (IMT) at the community level in RRD to ensure the multi-objective water supply and river health needs to be implemented by the stakeholders from the central government to local levels, as follows:
- Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: direct the related ministries and departments to build the legal documents (Decrees, Circulars, Decisions, etc) to promote the participatory irrigation management of water users via irrigation management transfer (IMT), especially the policy no.3 . Proposal the orientation tasks are required of IMT implementation process.
- Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (MARD):
- MARD's task is to ensure long-term sustainability and efficient operation of the irrigation system in the country in general and Red River Delta in particular. MARD should meet the requirements to serve the needs of irrigation agriculture and other economic sectors; besides, MARD also required the local governments to ensure livelihoods, flood control, saltwater intrusion and protect people and their property before extreme weather due to climate change.
- MARD develop document guidelines for local authorities, IDMC and water users at the community level to implement the policies no.1, 2, 3 and 4.
- MARD chaired specific plans for the stakeholders, to advise the Vietnam's Government to reform the existing irrigation organizations, towards removing or reducing subsidies and financial independence in management and exploitation of irrigation works at RRD in the future.
- Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam (MONRE): participate and close coordination with MARD during policy implementation process in RRD (policy No.5), set up reforms required for the irrigation sector in the overall framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at the river basin. The management of water resources include the prevention of forest degradation in watershed basins, reuse and water treatment in order to avoid contamination.
- Irrigation and Drainage Management Companies (IDMC):
- IDMC is the main object of the irrigation management transfer framework, thus IDMC should be ready for this change; policy expressed in No. 1, 2 and 4.
- IDMC's task is to provide water to create irrigated supply services to the fields. IDMC must have sufficient financial resources, manpower and equipment needed to prepare implement individual service plan (ISP) follow agreement with the provincial government, district and community levels.
- Irrigation management organizations at the community level: the mission of these organizations is to provide water to the fields for members of the organization; community level is also responsible for building service contracts with IDMC. They also are the ones who direct implement the policy No. 2.
Conclusions and recommendations
Irrigation sector plays an important role in economic development of RRD. Going along with the existing irrigation system, irrigation management institutions have been built and decentralization, transferring down to the provincial level, IDMC and at the community level under the supervision of the Central Government through the MARD, MOF and MONRE.
However, the actual efficiency of irrigation systems in RRD is not reached as the original design due to: (i) Institutional management currently operates under water fee subsidy policy; (ii) The irrigation work has degraded over time after nearly 40 years; (Iii) The impact of climate change; (Iv) increasing violations of irrigation protection; (V) Lack of funds to upgrade, repair and maintenance irrigation works.
At the present time, the efficiency of water irrigation system of RRD is approximately around 60% (MARD 2014); if so, forecast to in 2020, the Red River needed to be supplied amount of water is about 21.5 bill.m3/year, increase flow by about 8 bill.m3/year compared to actual demand (13.65 bill.m3/year). And, more irrigation water may be more harmful for the Red River health.
Irrigation management transfer at the community level in RRD to ensure the multi-objective water supply and health of the Red river will be one of the "innovations" in order to minimize the negative impact to the Red river via 5 policies as mentioned above. However, to realize institutional innovation orientation should have the policy statement made by the concerned parties, namely Vietnam's Government, MARD, MONRE, IDMC and community level.
 Cao Duc Phat, “Scheme of restructuring of irrigation sector.” Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam, pp. 4–5, 2014.
 N. D. Viet, N. Van Tinh, and L. Van Chinh, “Decentralization of management and exploitation of irrigation works in Mekong River Delta - An approach based on community perceptions,” Journal of Water Resources Science and Technology, vol. 32, pp. 20–28, 2015.
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