Australia lends a hand to drought-affected provinces in Vietnam
Published 5 January 2018
The Australian water sector has been well regarded for its ability to secure water supplies across urban and regional areas in response to the Millennium Drought just over a decade ago. It is this knowledge of how to respond during times of drought which many other countries are now eager to learn from. This is no better exemplified than in rural areas of Vietnam where water security concerns continue to grow.
The Government of Vietnam is currently taking active measures to improve water use efficiency and water productivity, focusing on the agriculture sector which consumes most surface and groundwater available. With support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government is preparing an investment project of $120 million to modernise irrigation water management in five drought-affected provinces. The project which is titled Water Efficiency Improvement in Drought Affected Provinces
(WEIDAP) is currently under preparation and will commence in early 2018 and is expected to be fully operational by early 2024.
The project consists of 3 components:
a) Improving the delivery of irrigation management services
b) Modernising selected irrigation management systems
c) Improving on-farm water management practices
In order to assist with the initial phase of the project, during the last week of October, the Australian Water Association in partnership with Association member RM Consulting Group, and with support from the Australian Water Partnership, facilitated an inbound delegation of 24 Vietnamese water professionals to regional parts of South Australia and Victoria. The delegation comprised of both government officials and private sector designers.
The tour, led by Rob Rendell of RM Consulting Group, focused on the needs of representatives from each of the five drought-affected provinces. The tour provided an opportunity for the delegation to tour innovative Australian irrigation technologies and understand Australia’s approach to irrigation efficiency and water markets and trading.
The participating organisations in this inbound tour include (in addition to the many farmers, irrigation designers and technology experts):
- SA Water Corporation
- Murray Darling Basin Authority
- Central Irrigation Trust
- Maywald Consulting
- Renmark Irrigation Trust
- Select Harvests
- Lower Murray Water (LMW)
- AWMA Water Control Solutions
- QFM Productions
- Rubicon Water
- John Holland Group
- Blackwatch Consulting
- Seven Fields
The tour provided the delegation with key insights to address knowledge gaps in their respective provinces which will be incorporated into the WEIDEP design. These include implementation of monitoring and SCADA systems, use of efficient crop technology and separating the pricing mechanisms between the cost of water and cost of service delivery. The task going forward is to facilitate the transfer of Australian experiences to support the design and implementation of the program.