Three countries cooperate to audit water resources of Mekong River basin
The audit results of water resource management in the Mekong River basin show that the amount of water upstream of the river to the Cuu Long (Mekong Delta) has decreased sharply.
Saltwater intrusion and polluted canals have adversely affected the Mekong Delta region.
|The Mekong River faces a serious water shortage.|
The state audit agencies of three out of six countries in the Mekong River basin, including Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, with professional and technical support from the State Audits of Malaysia, Indonesia, the World Bank (WB) and the Canadian Auditing and Accountability Fund (CAAF), have jointly audited the management of water resources in the Mekong River Basin.
The audit was carried out at four ministries and central agencies including the Vietnam Mekong River Commission, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and 12 provinces and cities in the Mekong River basin, including: An Giang, Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Soc Trang, Can Tho, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau, Hau Giang, Ben Tre, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Dak Lak.
Implemented from March 3 to April 29, 2021, the audit assessed the management of water resources and Vietnam's compliance with international commitments in the management, use and protection of water resources of the Mekong River basin, associated with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and identified negative impacts due to the reduction of water resources of the Mekong River in Vietnam in the period 2016-2020.
The audit results show that the inadequacies and limitations in water resource management combined with climate change factors and the increase of water exploitation in the upstream countries have led to negative impacts on Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta. This area of more than 17.3 million people provides over 50% of rice production, 65% of aquatic production, and 70% of fruit production of Vietnam.
Specifically, the amount of water from upstream to the Mekong Delta in 2020 decreased by 157 billion m3 compared to 2011, while the amount of sediment fell by 14 million tons compared to 2017 (37%).
Many localities reported a decline in the number of species and the number of individuals of many species of creatures and aquatic species of the Mekong River. As a result, hundreds of thousands of workers had to leave their hometowns and their traditional jobs to look for jobs in big cities and urban areas.
Based on the audit results, the State Audit of Vietnam has proposed that the Vietnam Mekong River Commission assume the prime responsibility for and coordinate with relevant ministries, agencies and localities to develop technical documents/guidelines on monitoring the use of water on tributaries; maintain minimal flows (on the mainstream and tributaries of the Mekong River); and develop specific provisions and sanctions to resolve disputes over disagreements between member countries in the management and use of water in the Mekong River basin.
In addition, the Vietnam Mekong River Commission is asked to promote the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to implement the transfer of monitoring systems (fisheries, ecosystem health, silt...) and for the member countries to effectively operate these systems, in order to ensure a database for integrated management of water resources throughout the Mekong River Basin.
Authorities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) delta are speeding up works to prevent the damage caused by erosion along rivers, canals and coasts, especially in the ongoing rainy season.