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A Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin Dak Lak Dak Nong Gia Lai Lam Dong January 2006

People happy and prosperous Environment green and beautiful Water used for the benefit of all


Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Foreword The absolute necessity of effective water resource management in the Sre Pok River Basin has never been clearer than it is now. With recent droughts and floods, we realise that we can no longer treat water in the way many of us have in the past. The Government of Vietnam and the four provinces of the Sre Pok, supported by the Danish Government through Danida, is working towards putting in place improved institutional arrangements and planning methods and tools to achieve a more integrated, participatory and sustainable approach to water resource planning and management. The Strategic Framework for Water Resources Management in the Sre Pok River Basin has been developed for, and in consultation with, the newly-established Sre Pok River Basin Council, and is an important first step in developing a more comprehensive river basin plan. It provides a framework for a partnership between the community and the government in managing, using and conserving the water resources of the basin. We face challenges in how we improve water resource management within the basin, as well as how we fulfil our obligations, beyond its boundaries, to neighbouring Cambodia and the Mekong River region. No longer can we be solely focused on our own development needs. We see that we need to play an active role in supporting national laws and policies, including the National Water Resources Strategy, while at the same time paying due attention to the people of the basin.. Our water resource practices must minimise our local environmental impacts and support the achievement of other national objectives such as economic and social development. Securing a sustainable future for the Sre Pok River Basin and its people will depend on our ability to implement the best possible water resource management practices. The challenge of providing long-term certainty of clean water supplies and a beautiful environment will require many improvements to the way we use water. This strategic framework is a significant contribution to addressing these challenges. The implementation of the strategies it contains over the coming years will provide an opportunity for the provinces to continue to work with the community to address the many issues that confront sustainable use of our water resources. We all have a stake in making these strategies become a reality.

Chairman, Sre Pok River Basin Council

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Inter-Provincial Agreement on Water Resource Management Preamble For the future benefit of the four province of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong and Gia Lai and the central highland region of Vietnam the PPCs of the four provinces enter into an agreement to coordinate the management of the water resources of the basin. The PPCs of the four provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong and Gia Lai (the provinces/the PPCs), share the territory of the Sre Pok River Basin, which forms one of the most important river basins in the central region of Vietnam. The PPCs recognise that the most effective water resources development and harmonised distribution of water benefits in the SPRB requires the water resources in the whole of the territory of the SPRB to be managed consistently and for each province to cooperate with the others in a common coordination arrangement. The PPCs are responsible for many, although not all, water uses and water protection measures in the SPRB. These include irrigation, urban and industrial water supply, rural water supply, aquaculture and fisheries, tourism (add the others). In addition, the PPCs consider that hydropower generation is one of the key water uses in the SPRB and that it should be managed consistently with the needs of other sectors and the health of the SPRB within Vietnam and downstream in Cambodia.

Matters to be covered ƒ

Purpose of agreement

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Agreed objectives for water resources management in the Sre Pok River Basin

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Establishment of RBO, support and participation by the provinces

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River basin planning to be undertaken and provinces to participate and agree on common plans

Purpose of agreement The following draft makes suggestions which may be included in an inter-provincial agreement between the provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong and Gia Lai. The purpose of such an agreement would be:

1. to confirm the commitment of the provinces jointly to establish, support and participate in a river basin organisation for the Sre Pok River Basin;

2. to specify the main features of the RBO; and 3. to identify the actions that the provinces will take to establish, support and participate in the RBO.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

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Water management objectives The PPCs agree to the following common objectives for water management in the Sre Pok River Basin as follows:

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to promote and increase the productivity of all important water uses and sectors,

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to apply measures for water use and water protection consistently throughout the Sre Pok River Basin and to recognise the impacts of upstream activities on downstream activities;

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to avoid the unreasonable impact of any sector on other sectors and conversely to ensure as far as possible that the water needs of all sectors are maintained in and fair manner;

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to ensure that the environment, human health and economic production are protected from adverse impacts of water pollution and the deterioration of the quality of water resources.

Establishment of river basin organisation (RBO) In order to achieve the goals described in his agreement, the PPCs resolve to establish an RBO for the Sre Pok River Basin that will coordinate the planning of water resources on a basin-wide basis and to make financial contributions to support the river basin organisation based on the participating area of each province. The RBO will comprise a board which will recommend river basin plans to the central level and will agree to the actions to be recommended to the PPCs for coordinated planning and management of water resources of the Sre Pok River Basin. The provinces agree that the board will be chaired by a member of one of the PPCs as agreed by all of the PPCs from time to time and that a vice-chair for the RBO board will be selected by the RBO board from time to time. The RBO will be supported by an office which will provide technical and administrative support to the board of the RBO and will carry out the directives of the RBO board in respect of river basin planning and coordinated water resources management. The PPCs consider that the following organisations should be represented by permanent members on the board of the Sre Pok River Basin RBO:

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Electricity of Vietnam

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

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The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

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The Vietnam National Mekong Committee.

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Participation in the RBO The PPCs agree to approve the required legislation to implement the RBO with each province as follows:

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To nominate one member of the PPC as a member of the RBO board

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To assign other members to the river basin board from DARD, DONRE and other agencies as agreed by the provinces;

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To contribute members and technical inputs and resources, as agreed by the river basin coordinating committee from time to time;

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To adopt the water management measures, strategies and plans which the river basin coordinating committee agrees to from time to time;

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To implement the relevant parts of such water management measures, strategies and plans

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To direct the relevant provincial organisations to participate and contribute to the RBO as required by the board of the RBO from time to time;

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To provide information to the RBO on the status of and management of water resources within the territory of each province that lies within the Sre Pok River Basin and to share such information with the other provinces.

River basin planning The PPCs agree to formulate, through the Sre Pok River Basin Organisation, a river basin plan with the following characteristics:

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A strategic guideline for managing the water resources of the Sre Pok River Basin in a coordinated manner;

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Water allocation and water protection guidelines and other water management guidelines as agreed from time to time;

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Procedures for decision-making on significant matters that affect water use, water allocation and protection, including the operation of structures that control the flow of water in the Sre Pok river and its major tributaries;

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Other matters of importance that the PPCs through the RBO board consider should form part of a river basin plan.

The PPCs agree to recommend river basin plans which have the support of all provinces and the key water sectors to the national level for authorisation and implementation. The PPCs agree to implement the river basin plan within their territory and consistently with the overall planning for the Sre Pok River Basin; The PPCs agree to establish a monitoring system for river basin planning and management and to report through the RBO on progress in implementing river basin plans and other agreed matters. The PPCs agree to ensure that their agencies provide the required information to assess progress in implementing the river basin plan. iv


Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

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Inter-provincial water resources data exchange system The PPCs recognise that improved management of the water resources of the SPRB relies on the analysis of comprehensive data and information about water resources, water uses and their social, economic and environmental impacts. The PPCs agree to work to establish a water resources information base for the Sre Pok River Basin, which:

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Links electronically and updates the data in databases located within organisations of the four provinces;

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Provides common access to the data from databases by all participating organisations;

The data will be used for river basin planning and the databases will be accessible to all participating agencies. The PPCs agree to take steps to set up such a water resources data sharing system and in due course to agree to the details of such a system for the mutual benefit of all the provinces. The PPCs further agree to seek the funding and support required to establish and maintain such a system.

International water management The PPCs recognise the importance of the ‘upper’ Sre Pok River Basin located within Vietnam to the international arrangements for coordination of the Mekong River Basin, in which the Government of Vietnam is a participant. The PPCs will work progressive, directly and through the RBO, with the national level and the VNMC to improve links and communication between the Vietnamese part of the SPRB and the Cambodian part of the Basin.

Provincial legislation required The PPCs will consider and develop, as appropriate, legislation on the following matters, consistent with this agreement:

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Legislation establishing the offices of the RBO;

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Directives to the departments and organisations under provincial control that should participate with and cooperated with the RBO, to act in accordance with this agreement and legislation that establishes the RBO;

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An agreement on water resources data sharing for the purpose of river basin planning and management;

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Other legislation required to implement a water resources data sharing system for the Sre Pok River Basin.

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FOR THE DAK LAK PPC Chairman: NGUYEN VAN LANG

FOR THE DAK NONG PPC Vice Chairman: DO THE NHU

(Signed and Stamped)

(Signed and Stamped)

FOR THE GIA LAI PPC Vice Chairman: HOANG CONG LU

FOR THE LAM DONG PPC Vice Chairman: HOANG SI SON

(Signed and Stamped)

(Signed and Stamped)

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Contents Introduction....................................................................................................................................... 1 Background ...................................................................................................................................... 3 Basin Description ............................................................................................................................ 3 Priority Issues for Water Management............................................................................................ 4 Key Areas to be Addressed .............................................................................................................. 8 Key Area 1: Institutions.................................................................................................................. 10 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 10 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 10 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 11 Key Area 2: Water Resources Development.................................................................................. 13 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 13 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 14 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 14 Key Area 3: Water Sharing ............................................................................................................ 17 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 17 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 17 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 18 Key Area 4: Environmental Protection ........................................................................................... 20 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 20 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 20 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 21 Key Area 5: Community Awareness and Participation ................................................................... 23 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 23 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 23 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 24 Key Area 6: Capacity Building ....................................................................................................... 25 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 25 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 25 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 26 Key Area 7: Information ................................................................................................................. 28 Overview ....................................................................................................................................... 28 Objectives ..................................................................................................................................... 28 Strategies ...................................................................................................................................... 29

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Introduction The Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin is the first step towards developing a comprehensive and integrated river basin plan. It is the first document of its type developed in Vietnam, and this has been achieved through the contributions of many stakeholders in the basin, through direct consultations with stakeholder representatives, and a major strategic planning workshop held in October 2005. Importantly, the development of the Framework, like the establishment of the Sre Pok River Basin Council, has strong support of the four provinces in the basin, namely Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Lam Dong. This is evidenced by, among other things, the Inter-Provincial Agreement on Water Resources Management signed by the People’s Committees of the four provinces in October 2005 (included in this document). This was a first for Vietnam. The Framework contains some long-term strategies, setting directions for water resource management into the future. It is planned that the next step will be the development of an Implementation Plan, setting out the range of actions that will be required to implement the strategies contained in the Framework. Because of the urgency in getting a strategic framework in place in the basin, this Framework has been developed in advance of approval of Vietnam’s National Water Resources Strategy, being developed within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. However, consultations with those involved in its development indicate that this Framework is in harmony with the national strategies that are to be adopted by the Government of Vietnam. The time horizon for the Framework is nominally 10 years (2006- 2015), but it is recognised that, because it is the first document of its type to be developed for the Sre Pok Basin, it will need to be reviewed and enhanced long before that. Water does not recognise provincial and national boundaries. Consequently the Framework not only seeks to set the direction for future water resource development and management in the Sre Pok River Basin itself but also considers how water resource development and management actions in the basin might affect water availability and management downstream in Cambodia and the Mekong Basin. This Framework should not be regarded as a static document. Like all strategic plans, it should be subject to regular and frequent review, under the auspices of the Sre Pok River Basin Council that has been assigned the responsibility of directing the river basin planning process. Those involved in the planning process have agreed on their vision for the future of the Sre Pok River Basin:

“People happy and prosperous Environment green and beautiful Water used for the benefit of all”

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This provides a simple but powerful image of what stakeholders are striving for through improved management of the water resources of the basin. It recognises that people come first, that the environment should not be forgotten, and that all people have the right to have access to water.

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Background Sre Pok River Basin

Basin Description The Sre Pok River Basin is situated in the western side of the Truong Son mountain range, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The total area of the basin is 38,600 km2 and is shared by Vietnam (18,200 km2) and Cambodia (10,400 km2). It forms the western-most sub-basin of the Mekong River Basin. In Vietnam the basin is distributed among four provinces: Dak Lak (10,400 km2), Dak Nong (3,600 km2), Gia Lai (2,900 km2) and Lam Dong (1,300 km2). The physical topography of the basin is quite complex, with high physical relief located in the east (up to more than 2400 m above sea level), and low relief in the west, down to about 140m. The main Sre Pok River is formed by two main tributaries, namely the Krong No and Krong Ana Rivers. The Krong No River rises in mountains with altitude exceeding 2000 m and has a catchment area of about 3,900 km2. The Krong Ana River is formed by three main rivers of Krong Buk, Krong Pach and Krong Bong and has an area of nearly 4,000 km2. The Krong No and Krong Ana converge at Buon Dray waterfall where the Sre Pok River is formed. The annual average rainfall of the basin is about 1900 mm and annual evaporation is about 1100 mm. Average rainfall generally increases from west (low altitude) to east (higher altitude). The

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highest intensity rainfall normally occurs in the period from July to October. The rainfall from year to year is quite variable. The flow regime in the rivers and streams is determined by the rainfall patterns in the basin. Runoff and floods main occur from May to November (accounting for 65-70% of annual flow), with minimum flows during the dry season December to April). Annually, the flood season lasts from August to November, with the most severe flooding usually occurring in September, October and November. The total population in Sre Pok basin is almost 1,900,000. Although the population is predominately rural, there is a high population density in the urban areas of Buon Ma Thuot city, Buon Ho, Krong Pac, Ea H'leo, Buon Trap, Cu M'gar, Ea T'ling, and Dak Mil Town. The population is expected to grow to more that 2,100,000 by the year 2010. Agricultural accounts for about 506,000 ha of the land area. The main agricultural uses of land are coffee (210,000 ha), rubber (47,000 ha) and rice paddy (25,000 ha). Other crops include maize, and upland crops The forest cover is 54% of the total basin area, comprising natural forest (972,000 ha) and plantation forest (12,000 ha). However, despite government policies to the contrary, deforestation continues and the forest cover is on the decrease.

Priority Issues for Water Management There are many critical issues for water resource management in the basin. These range from hydrological variability, including floods and droughts, to environmental degradation (including pollution of waterways and deforestation of catchments), erosion and resultant sedimentation of reservoirs, over-exploitation of groundwater, conflicts over the use of water for different purposes, and transboundary conflicts (inter-provincial and inter-district). Some of the main issues that have been identified are briefly described below. Transboundary coordination and international relations The area of the Sre Pok River Basin in Vietnam lies in four provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Lam Dong, and about 40 % of the total area of the is located in Cambodia. International and inter-provincial coordination remains at a fairly low level. While the Sre Pok is part of the Mekong River Basin, and Vietnam is an active member of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), liaison and coordination mainly takes place between Hanoi (through the Vietnam National Mekong Committee and the MRC presently located in Vientiane. Stakeholders in the basin itself have relatively little input to this process. Rapid development in the Vietnamese portion of the basin potentially could have a significant impact on flows entering Cambodia, which could result in disputes with its downstream neighbour and the MRC. Within Vietnam, a further issue is how to coordinate and harmonise the economic development for the basin in general and for each province in particular. Conflicts over water among the provinces

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wishing to maximise their own economic development could lead to sub-optimal development for the basin as a whole. Changing land use In the decades of the 80s and 90s, due to dramatically increasing world coffee prices, significant changes of land use occurred in the basin. In particular, the area of coffee increased up to more than two hundred thousand hectares, compared with a few tens of thousands of hectares previously. This huge increase resulted in mass exploitation of groundwater without any planning or regulation, and many small-size reservoirs were also constructed to provide surface water supplies for irrigation of coffee, causing deterioration and depletion of groundwater and surface water resources. As a consequence, drought and scarcity of water in dry seasons in the basin have been exacerbated. Drought and water scarcity Drought and water scarcity have been identified as significant issues in the basin, particularly in recent years, when it appears that the frequency and severity of drought has been increasing. This is, to a large extent, due to the fact that the area of coffee production in upstream areas has extensively expanded. This coupled with deforestation for other purposes, has reduced base flow during the dry season, exacerbating the problems of increasing water demand. In addition, in the many of the existing reservoirs are in bad condition, and there is not sufficient capacity to store adequate water during the rainy season. Over-exploitation of groundwater Due to the increase in area of coffee production, the surface water resources have been insufficient for irrigating all the coffee planted. Therefore, the groundwater has been over-exploited for irrigation. Moreover, according to recent exploration of groundwater it has been revealed that groundwater resources in upper aquifers are regularly drastically depleted in dry months February, March and April. The problems have been exacerbated by the fact that drilled wells were not constructed in compliance with technical standards, resulting in depression and sinking of groundwater levels. Hydropower The Dray Hlinh hydropower reservoir is located on the Sre Pok River and construction of Buon Kuop and Buon Tua Srah hydropower projects is underway. According to the planning of Electricity Vietnam, a cascade of up to seven hydropower reservoirs will be constructed on the Sre Pok River. Operation of the hydropower stations will cause many complicated issues downstream on the Sre Pok River, especially the flow regime is likely to be significantly changed. This will change the timing of river flows, and hence availability of water for downstream users, affect the river ecology,

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accelerate erosion of the river bank, and cause other related problems of development of hydropower. Tourism A number of tourist spots such as Dray Sap, Trinh Nu, Thac Bay Nhanh located on the banks of the Sre Pok River have been developed and attract many tourists each year. The development of tourism activities has caused some negative impacts on the environment and created other social issues. Fisheries and aquaculture There are about 400 reservoirs and natural lakes in the basin that have been exploited for raising aquatic products, such as fish and shrimp. While aquaculture brings economic benefits to the region, it has an impact on water quality, mainly through the discharge of polluted water back to rivers and streams. Inequity of water use The inequity of present water use is a sensitive issue in the basin. In reality, those who own land with economic potential, as well as those who have money, have better water for use than poor people who mainly live in remote areas. Conflicts over use of water for irrigation Conflicts over use of water source for irrigation in dry season have been commonly occurred among the districts (between up-stream and down stream). This is due to absence of effective coordination and/or inappropriate allocation of water, for instance in the districts of Krong Buk (up stream) and Krong Pach (down stream) in the Krong Buk sub-catchment, and in the districts of Cu M’Gar and Buon Don in the Ea Tul sub-catchment. Floods and storms In the Sre Pok River Basin, flooding has been identified as a major issue; particularly in the low valleys of Lak, Buon Trap, Krong Kno and Krong Kno – Krong Pac. In recent years, flash flooding has occurred frequently in the sub-basins of Ea Soup and Ea Tul. Flash floods occur as a result of high intensity of rainfall, and are exacerbated by deforestation of upland catchments. These cause serious damage to the local people and environment of the basin. In addition to floods, storms and whirlwinds frequently occur in the districts of Krong Nang, Cu M’Gar, Krong Buk and Ea Suop. Environmental pollution Pollution is mainly caused by the use in agricultural production of pesticides and chemical fertilisers and by industrial wastes discharged by processing factories for coffee, rubber and cassava into the

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rivers and streams. However, pollution generated by urban areas, especially the city of Buon Ma Thuot and district townships also causes degradation of water quality. Deforestation in upstream areas Reduction of forested area in the basin, particularly in upland catchments, has had a significant detrimental impact on water resources. It has resulted in such problems as increased runoff (high peak flows), low minimum flow (base flow), and reduced groundwater levels, as well as high rates of erosion and consequent increases in sediment loads in the rivers downstream. This has meant increased sedimentation (filling of the reservoir beds) and reduced lifespan of many reservoirs.

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Key Areas to be Addressed During the consultative process of identification of issues and the formulation of objectives for water resource management in the basin, it became clear that there were a number of broad categories of issue that are often referred to as “key areas”. These key areas can be thought of as the broad categories of things that need to be done to realise the vision that we have for the basin. While these are to some extent overlapping, it is very useful to do this categorisation as a step towards the development of strategies to address the water resource management issues. The following seven key areas were identified: 1. Institutions 2. Water Resources Development 3. Water Sharing 4. Environmental Protection 5. Community Awareness and Participation 6. Capacity Building 7. Information The first four of these are the “main” key areas, while the last three are “support” key areas, in that they strengthen the ability to achieve the objectives in the others. In this sense they are no less important than the other “main” key areas. The transboundary water management issues have been included in Key Area 1: Institutions and Key Area 3: Water Sharing, on the basis that the major transboundary issues will relate to sharing water with downstream users (in Cambodia), supported by appropriate institutional arrangements with the Government of Cambodia, the Mekong River Commission and the Vietnam National Mekong Committee. However, there was some discussion as to whether the transboundary water management issues should constitute a separate key area to highlight their strategic importance. This could be considered in future revisions of this plan. The following “house” diagram tries to illustrate the strategic approach taken in this Framework. It envisages the vision as the roof, the main key areas as the pillars holding up the roof, while the supporting key areas are the foundations.

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Key Areas Supporting Achievement of the Vision

The objectives and strategies developed for the Sre Pok River Basin are presented in the following chapters based on the seven Key Areas.

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Key Area 1: Institutions Overview It is internationally recognised that having clearly defined and robust institutional arrangements for water resource management in place is a fundamental requirement for good river basin management. In this sense, “institutions� refers to the various laws and policies in place, the organisations that have been established by government to implement them, and the mechanisms for interaction among those organisations. Vietnam is going through a period of institutional reform in the water sector as well as many others. At present there is some uncertainty about what institutional arrangements are best suited to manage this precious resource. While the Law on Water Resources came into effect on 1 January 1999, some of the implementing and subsidiary legislation has led to an ambiguous situation with regard to responsibilities for water resource management. However, it is clear that the stakeholders in the Sre Pok River Basin wish to see institutional arrangements in place at basin and provincial level that will facilitate effective cooperation among the four provinces, and ultimately a more integrated and participatory approach to the water resources of the basin.

Objectives The following objectives have been agreed upon: 1. To have an effective coordination mechanism for water resources management in the Srepok river basin. 2. To have a harmonious and comprehensive legal framework for effective water resources management in the basin. 3. To have good cooperation and coordination with the Government of Cambodia, the Mekong River Commission, and the Vietnam National Mekong Committee for water resource management matters.

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Strategies In order to achieve the objectives in this Key Area, the following strategies will be adopted. Establish a Sre Pok River Basin Council, sub-basin councils, and a supporting office River basin organisations (RBOs) have been established in many parts of the world as a mechanism to manage river basins in a more integrated and participatory manner, especially where the basin crosses administrative boundaries, whether provincial, state or national. In Vietnam, the Law on Water Resources recognises that water should be managed using river basins as the fundamental planning unit, and allows for the establishment of RBOs to manage the planning process. This strategy is aimed at establishing an effective RBO for the Sre Pok River Basin. The RBO is to consist of three main elements, namely: a Sre Pok River Basin Council, consisting of high level stakeholder representatives from the basin; several sub-basin councils (SCCs) to facilitate greater participation at lower levels; and a supporting office providing administrative and technical services to the councils. Implementation of this strategy has already commenced, with the support of a Danida project. It this point in time, the Sre Pok River Basin Council has been established and is operating effectively. It is proposed to establish the SCCs progressively over a one to two year period, with the first “model� SCC established before the end of the project. The Council is presently being supported by Technical Support Units (TSUs) in Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Lam Dong that have been formed under the project. It is planned to modify these arrangements to form an RBO supporting office in the near future. Develop and implement necessary legislation at provincial level for effective water resources management in the basin At the present time there is some confusion at central level as to which ministry is to have the responsibility for state management of the water resources of Vietnam, including river basin management functions. Both the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have some claim to this. Work is underway to resolve this problem and it is expected that a clear mandate will be given one of these ministries during 2006. It is further planned to undertake a review of the Law on Water Resources to provide a more comprehensive and robust legal basis for water resource management in Vietnam. However, even when the national legislation has been reviewed, there is still the issue that further legislation needs to be enacted at provincial level, where many of the day-to-day activities for water resource management actually take place. This is further complicated by the fact that the four provinces need to work together with respect to the Sre Pok Basin (and are committed to doing so). Therefore, legislation needs to be put in place in each of the four provinces that is sound,

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coordinated, and in harmony, to facilitate this cooperation at basin level, and so that all the four provinces will be working towards the same objectives to achieve the common vision. This is new to Vietnam, so developing the new legislation will take some time. The inter-provincial agreement on water resources management signed by the four provinces (and included at the beginning of this document) is a very important first step in this process. Further legislation needs to developed and enacted as the situation at national level becomes clearer. Develop cooperation mechanisms with Cambodia and the Mekong River Commission for water resource management in the basin Since the Sre Pok River forms part of the Mekong River Basin and flows from Vietnam into Cambodia, Vietnam has obligations as a signatory to the Mekong River Agreement to manage the waters of the Sre Pok River Basin so as to minimise impacts downstream. So far, although water usage is rather high, due to high runoff during the rainy season there has not been reduction of flows to Cambodia of sufficient magnitude to be of concern. This situation is likely to change as water usage increases further and new hydropower reservoirs are constructed and begin operating. The Vietnam National Committee, based in Hanoi, has the mandate to represent the interests of Vietnam in the Mekong River Commission. It therefore speaks for the stakeholders of the Sre Pok River Basin on international transboundary management issues. At present, this process is deficient in that there is no direct involvement of local stakeholders. In addition, it may be that bilateral arrangements between Vietnam and Cambodia regarding sharing of the waters of the Sre Pok River should be put in place under the overall framework of the Mekong River Agreement. The establishment of the Sre Pok River Basin Council potentially provides a mechanism to redress these problems. Under this strategy, institutional arrangements will be developed that clarify the respective responsibilities of the Sre Pok River Basin Council, the Vietnam National Mekong Committee, the Government of Cambodia (perhaps through the Cambodia National Mekong Committee), and the Mekong River Commission. What the role and responsibilities of the Sre Pok River Basin Council might be under these arrangements is unclear, but it is essential that it play a strong role in representing the interests of the stakeholders in the basin.

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Key Area 2: Water Resources Development Overview Water is a vital component in the socio-economic development of any country or region. The development of water resources – that is, lessening the impacts of droughts and flooding by the construction of water control infrastructure – is essential for the social and economic wellbeing of the Sre Pok River Basin and the improvement of the standard of living of the people that live in it. Of course, development should go hand in hand with the protection of environmental, social and cultural values. Traditionally, water resource development (or “exploitation” of water resources) has been the main focus of river basin planning in Vietnam, as in many other countries. The concept of a “master plan”, being basically a suite of resource development project options, embodies this idea. It is recognised that development must continue if the socio-economic welfare of Vietnam is to improve, but in this Framework it is just one of a number of key areas that needs to be considered in the overall water resource planning process. Having an integrated plan for water resources management is particularly important in view of the fact that, at present, sectoral plans are produced fairly independently of each other, and these have the potential for major conflict. For instance, Electricity Vietnam ahs recently completed a hydropower plan for the Sre Pok River Basin. In the plan, up to five major hydropower reservoirs are proposed. These have the potential for significant impact on the hydrological regime of the basin and the timing and availability of water for other uses, including water flowing into Cambodia. Note that while river basin planning must encompass more than just development of new water resources, it is included in this Key Area in recognition that effective planning will ensure that sustainable supplies of water are available into the future, consistent with the equitable sharing of water and environmental protection. The objective identified for this key area promotes the idea that water resource development should be aimed at making adequate water available for all appropriate purposes.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Objectives Just one objective has been agreed on for this Key Area, which actually covers a wide range of activities that will need to be undertaken in the basin: 1. To have new sources of water for irrigation, industry, hydropower, domestic and other uses developed, consistent with water availability and sustainability.

Strategies In order to achieve the agreed objective, the following strategies have been identified: Develop an effective planning process for integrated water resources management in the basin It is widely accepted that river basin organisations in Vietnam, where established, are to be responsible for directing a comprehensive, integrated and participatory planning process in their respective basins. Good planning is fundamental to the sustainable development and use of a river basin’s water resources, as well and the environment and other natural resources. The Sre Pok River Basin Council will accept that responsibility and guide the development and ongoing review and updating of a Sre Pok River Basin Plan. The planning process will follow guidelines that are being developed in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, but will be tailored to suit the local conditions within the basin. This Framework is a first step in that process. However, before the basin plan can be fully developed, it is essential that the National Water Resources Strategy be finalised and approved by government. This will provide the national perspective and goals with which the basin plan needs to be consistent. The Sre Pok River Basin Plan will be different to basin plans that have already been developed in Vietnam. It will move from the “target-oriented” approach which focuses mainly on new development, to an integrated approach that considers improvement of management of existing resources, protection of the environment, management of natural threats, such as floods and droughts, and other aspects, as well as development of additional water resources. This Framework sets the overall scope of the plan and the general strategies to be followed. In the basin planning process to be followed, this Framework will be further developed into a “framework plan”, and then more specific and detailed plans will be developed for each of the key areas. These will include the actions that will be required to implement the strategies for each key area, and therefore achieve the agreed objectives. Ensure that sectoral developments plans are consistent, and not in conflict with the strategic plan for the basin At present in Vietnam, each sector (irrigation, hydropower, fisheries, and so on) prepares its own set of plans at national and provincial level. In an attempt to provide some coordination among these plans, and to prevent conflicts over limited resources, plans drafted by one ministry or

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

department or circulated to others for comment. This process only has limited success, as once plans have been developed; major changes that might be needed to provide integration are unlikely to be accepted by the sponsoring agency. In the case of the Sre Pok River Basin, the basin planning process will provide a solution to this problem. Once the framework plan has been developed (under the direction of the Sre Pok River Basin Council, which represents all sectors impact on water resources), this can be promulgated among all relevant agencies. All subsequent sectoral plans produced by the departments in the four provinces will need to be developed to be consistent with the overall objectives and strategies contained in the framework plan. If this process is implemented effectively, far more integration among sectoral plans will be achieved than under the present system, and has much more chance of resulting in sustainable development of the natural resources of the basin, especially water. Develop and implement a strategy for land use and cropping patterns planning for the basin Conflicts over use of land for various crop types are already a major issue in the Sre Pok River Basin. Rapid development of coffee plantations in the 80s and 90s has been uncoordinated, and much of the other agricultural land has little or no rational planning. This has not only led to conflicts over land use, but also over water supply to irrigate the crops. As part of the basin planning process to be developed in the Sre Pok River Basin it is recognised that there should be a specific component for land use planning, particularly for agricultural uses of land. Develop and implement a plan for rehabilitation and construction of water storage schemes for increasing water availability and improved operational efficiency It is evident that there is insufficient storage to meet all the requirements for water in the Sre Pok River Basin. In addition, some existing dams are somewhat degraded and are not operating at full capacity. A development plan, consistent with the framework plan, will be developed and implemented to address this situation, through rehabilitation of degraded dams, and construction of new dams and other water control structures. Naturally, such a plan must recognise that new reservoir construction must lead to sustainable volumes being stored – that is, over-exploitation of surface water resources should not be allowed to take place – and environmental and social impacts (say, as a result of resettlement) must be minimised. Develop and implement a plan for groundwater development and management for the basin Groundwater resources are under extreme stress in some parts of the Sre Pok River Basin, and aquifers are being mined. This is also having adverse impacts on rural water supplies that are dependent on groundwater in the same area. This over-exploitation is largely due to uncontrolled drilling of wells and use of groundwater for the irrigation of coffee. Under this strategy, a plan will be

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

developed, once again consistent with the framework plan, that will identify aquifers under stress and introduce strict measures (such as licensing, and water sharing) for their management, as well as providing a plan for the future sustainable development of groundwater across the basin as a whole.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Key Area 3: Water Sharing Overview It is clear after the recent severe droughts experienced in the Sre Pok River Basin that water is not an infinite resource to be taken for granted. Water resources are limited, and when the available supply exceeds demand, as it will increasingly in the future as demand grows, water must be shared among users. At present there is no comprehensive approach to such sharing in the basin. Therefore, conflicts among users arise over water availability. Stakeholders in the basin have expressed a desire for clearly defined sharing arrangements to be put in place. Having certainty with regard to one’s water entitlement is fundamental to the sustainable operation of enterprises that use water, not to mention rural and urban water supply. Mechanisms for rational and equitable water sharing do not exist at present in Vietnam, although much work is being done by the Ministry of Natural Resources to address this issue. Since conflicts over water are inevitable from time to time, it is essential that effective mechanisms are in place to deal with these as they arise. Water sharing with Cambodia, being downstream of Vietnam, is an issue that is certain to arise with increasing water use in the Vietnamese part of the Sre Pok River Basin. Strategies need to be put in place to ensure that transboundary disputes over water, either with the Government of Cambodia or the Mekong River Commission do not arise (or at least are minimised) in the future.

Objectives The objectives agreed to are as follows: 1. To have an equitable water sharing arrangement among the upper and the lower basin and transboundary water resources. 2. To have clearly defined water rights for all authorised water users. 3. To have all conflicts over utilisation of the water resources of the basin resolved quickly and satisfactorily. 4. To have no illegal water use in the basin.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Strategies The following strategies have been identified: Prepare and implement an international agreement between Vietnam and Cambodia on sharing of the water resources of the basin Sharing of the water of the Sre Pok River Basin between Vietnam and Cambodia is not presently a big issue, but is very likely to become one as the water resources are utilised more and more due to increasing demands. Also, the operation of a number of planned hydropower reservoirs along the Sre Pok River, although not representing a large consumptive use of the water, will alter the flow regime and may cause water shortages downstream at particular times of the year. It is therefore seen essential that some sort of international treaty or agreement for the sharing of the water of the Sre Pok River be put in place soon in order to avert conflicts over the use of water in Vietnam its and impacts on Cambodia. While such an international agreement will need to be prepared and ratified at national level, it is key that the major stakeholders in the Sre Pok River Basin itself participate in the process, to ensure that their interests are not adversely served by such an agreement. Of course, the Mekong River Commission would also need to be involved. Therefore, the preparation of such an agreement will need to be jointly done by the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia, the Sre Pok River Basin Council (representing basin stakeholders), and the Mekong River Commission. Develop and implement a water licensing system, based on firm water rights for all authorised users The Law on Water Resources provides for exploitation of surface and groundwater to be licensed. Subsidiary legislation has also been prepared for the implementation of a licensing system across Vietnam. However, introducing such a system will be a huge task and will require a level of resourcing that is not presently available. Clearly, the provinces and districts will need to take a major role in the actual operation of the licensing system, with overall policy and regulation undertake nationally. In the Sre Pok River Basin the intention of the four provinces is to take a lead in introducing licensing in Vietnam, since issues of over-exploitation of surface and groundwater have already emerged. This will require implementation of the provisions in national legislation through more detailed province-level legislation that, while consistent with the national legislation, will need to reflect the local situation, as well as be based on firm water rights for all legitimate water users. Staff resources will be provided, appropriate computer systems will be installed and sanctions applied to those that do not comply with the conditions of their licences. Every effort will be made to eliminate illegal use of water. Therefore, it is the intention to develop and implement a system of water inspections and sanctions to stop the taking of water by unauthorised users

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Develop groundwater management plans, including water sharing provisions, for aquifers under stress While the basin-wide groundwater management plan to be developed under Key Area 2 will mainly focus on future development of groundwater resources, in areas where the aquifers are already under stress, management plans, including measures for sustainable sharing of the available resources, will be developed and put in place. Provide a mechanism, through the river basin organisation, for equitable settlement of disputes over water resource usage among provinces, districts, communes, villages and water users Despite the best planning and management that may take place in the Sre Pok River Basin, conflicts and disputes over water use is certain to continue to occur. Therefore, a formal mechanism for equitable settlement of disputes over water resource usage among provinces, districts, communes, villages and water users, will be developed and implemented. Under this system, the sub-catchment councils will play a vital role at lower levels, while the Sre Pok River Basin Council (established under Key Area 1) will act as a forum for serious disputes that cut across district and provincial boundaries.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Key Area 4: Environmental Protection Overview Recognition that the environment is an important “user� of water, and is critical for the sustainable maintenance of water for other users, is rapidly increasing in Vietnam. Poor understanding of these facts has led to serious problems of water and associated land resources in many parts of the country, including the Sre Pok River Basin. Pollution of waterways, including rivers and lakes, and groundwater has impacted on the availability of clean water supplies for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Clearly, greater controls on discharge of wastes from industry, agriculture and urban areas will be necessary to curb this threat. The basin has many tourist attractions that feature water and/or depend on water in some way. Environmental degradation is having a negative impact on tourism, and this is likely to increase if effective strategies are not put in place. Deforestation of the catchments of the basin has also changed their hydrologic characteristics, causing a significant increase in flash flooding, decrease in base flow during the dry season, and an increase in sediment loads in rivers and streams. In some areas this has reached critical proportions, so urgent actions are required to ameliorate the situation.

Objectives The three following objectives, focused on the environmental aspects of water, as opposed to more general environmental issues, have been agreed upon: 1. To have forest protection measures in place and have no further reduction in the existing forest area. 2. To have priority catchments improved and reforested, with erosion minimised. 3. To have minimal pollution from domestic, industrial and agricultural sources entering the waterways of the basin.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Strategies The following strategies have been identified to achieve the objectives: Develop and implement a system of wastewater discharge licensing for industries, towns and other major polluters Industrial and urban pollution is a serious and worsening issue in some areas of the Sre Pok River Basin. In developed countries, where environmental pollution is almost always a problem, systems of wastewater discharge licences or permits are a key mechanism to control the problem and prevent environmental degradation. Vietnam, too, has developed legislation to control discharge of pollutants into waterways, and systems are now in place in some provinces. However, for a number of reasons, including lack of resources, lack of measurement, and so on, these are not very effective. It is the intention of the four provinces of the Sre Pok River Basin to establish an effective wastewater discharge licensing system in the future. They see it as important that this be introduced in a manner consistent with the national guidelines and regulation, but at a rate commensurate with available resources and the severity of the problem. Therefore, the strategy will be to first develop provincial level legislation to give the proper legal basis to the system, train staff and develop appropriate supporting systems (such as a computer registration system), then identify priority areas where the problems are greatest, and where with the limited resources the beneficial impacts of licensing will be maximised. Over time this system can be expand to other areas of the basin. Develop land and water management plans for irrigation schemes that include actions for the minimisation of discharge of wastewater containing pesticides and other pollutants Individual irrigation schemes contribute relatively low levels of pollution (including nutrients, pesticides, and so on) to the rivers and streams of the basin. However, since irrigation is so widespread across the basin, the cumulative effect may be significant in the long term. Licensing of individual farmers, or even irrigation schemes for discharge of drainage water back to the streams, is probably not feasible even in the longer term. Therefore, a different approach is required. It is proposed that progressively, all irrigation schemes will be encouraged (perhaps even required) to develop “land and water management plans�. These plans would cover a wide range of activities undertaken in the schemes from operation and maintenance and rostering of water deliveries, to setting and collection of water fees, and management of the environment in and around the scheme. These plans would include actions to optimise the use of agricultural chemicals and minimise the generation of other wastes, such as from domestic dwellings and farm animals. In this way, the adverse impacts of the irrigation scheme on downstream water quality, and hence on downstream water users, can be moderated. Such land and water management plans are already being developed in two pilot irrigation schemes in the basin, and it is expected that these can be used as models to be replicated in other schemes.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Develop “clean farming” practices and technology across the basin and provide incentives for these to be adopted by farmers While the land and water management plans for irrigation schemes is an important step in “cleaning up” irrigation and reducing pollution, it is proposed that complementary action be taken to improve farming practices in irrigated and non-irrigated agricultural areas. Through capacity building of extension services and provision of incentives to adopt new (but appropriate) technologies that will result in lower discharge or wash-off of agricultural chemicals, environmental impacts of agriculture can be reduced.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Key Area 5: Community Awareness and Participation Overview In the past, the community at large has played a passive role in water resources planning and management. There has been a generally low level of awareness at local level of water issues beyond the immediate area, and little effort made by decision-makers to involve communities in any planning and management activities beyond their immediate area. Now it realised that the community has a very important role to play, because the government does not have the resources to do all that is needed to implement integrated water resource management in Vietnam’s river basins. While the community may not often have the education and experience to solve the many challenging problems facing water resource managers now and in the future, people at the grass roots level certainly understand their local environment and what the problems are. Sometimes local solutions are more effective than those proposed by “experts�, if resources are provided. There is therefore a need to involve the community, by providing suitable mechanisms to do so. Their contribution can enhance the strategies in a number of the other key areas identified in this Framework. But before that can happen effectively, the level of awareness of water resource management issues, and what can be done at local level to have a wider benefit across the basin, must be raised. Strategies aimed at providing information, improving education at school and in the home, and raising awareness are required. Although traditional communication channels can be used to achieve this, in Vietnam modern communication technology is rapidly being taken up even at commune level and below. Mobile phones, television and even the Internet are very widely used, and provide excellent opportunities to communicate at all levels of society.

Objectives The objectives agreed to are as follows: 1. Have a high level of awareness of local communities for exploitation, utilisation and protection of natural resources in the basin. 23


Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

2. Local communities have the opportunity to participate in the planning and management of the water resources of the basin.

Strategies The following strategies have been identified to achieve the objectives: Develop an Information, Education and Awareness Strategy and launch campaigns of awareness raising in the local communities for exploitation, utilisation and protection of natural resources in the basin In the Sre Pok River Basin there is generally a low level of community awareness about water resource management issues, particularly outside people’s immediate area. Since the government cannot implement all aspects of water resource management at every locality in the basin, it needs to engage local communities to do their part, and for this awareness needs to be raised to a much higher level. To do this information must be communicated to people, and issues of water resource management must become part of the education curriculum. A well-accepted way to do this is through the implementation of an Information, Eduction and Awareness Strategy (IEAS). This identifies the target groups (farmers, city dwellers, children, women, and so on), the key messages and information that need to be communicated to each, and the most cost-effective medium (communication channel) to do this. An IEAS has already been prepared for the basin, and work has commenced on implementing it. It covers broad water resource management concepts and the roles that the community can play in water conservation and environmental protection. In addition, “mini IEASs� have been developed for two communities in pilot irrigation schemes. These deal more specifically with local issues, and what people can do to improve their livelihood and environment through improved local water management activities. It is planned that these will be replicated in other irrigation schemes across the basin. Develop appropriate mechanisms to give opportunities for the communities to participate in management and protection of water resources and environment At present in Vietnam, as in most countries, there is little opportunity for local communities to become involved in the development of plans and policies for water resource management, nor in their implementation. Yet the community represents a very large resource that, if mobilised, could contribute greatly to achieve the objectives of water management in the Sre Pok River Basin. The four provinces have a commitment to improving this situation and propose to develop mechanisms to do this. In particular, the sub-catchment councils, being at a lower level, may provide the means. This will not be an easy task, but one that will bring great benefits if successful.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Key Area 6: Capacity Building Overview While Key Area 5 addresses capacity building issues for the community at large, Key Area 6 focuses on building the technical capacity of the various departments at provincial and district level that are involved in water resource management in the Sre Pok River Basin. In this context, capacity building includes ensuring adequate financial resources are available, human resource development (in management and technical matters), and acquisition and effective application of new technology. Having a strong technical basis for water resources management in the four provinces of the basin will be essential for successful implementation of the strategies in this Framework. Even though there is already substantial capacity for water resource management in the departments of the provinces in the basin, having an even high level of capacity in the future will be critical. This presents major challenges, as government funding levels are low, donor support cannot continue indefinitely, and there is a limited number of qualified professionals able and willing to work in provincial centres.

Objectives The objectives agreed to are as follows: 1. Provinces, districts, and communes have adequate financial resources to implement improvements in water resource management 2. Appropriate technology is available for effective and sustainable water resource management 3. Decision makers, technical experts and other key stakeholders have the capacity to effectively carry out their responsibilities with regard to water resources planning and management

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Strategies The following strategies have been identified: Ensure that governments at all levels allocate sufficient budget to adequately implement improvements in water resource management Like in every aspect of administrative and management, having sufficient financial resources for effective water resources management will be essential. In Vietnam, being still a developing country, financial resources are limited. However, this strategy aims at improving the situation for the Sre Pok River Basin. The four provinces agree (over time) to increase levels of support for water resource management activities, where these are in line with approved plans and policies. Also, actions that are required to implement the strategies in this Framework will receive priority. In addition, the provinces will seek other funding opportunities from international donors, and the private sector to implement the basin plan. It is anticipated that have such a clear and strongly supported framework now, and more comprehensive plan developed in the future, will demonstrate to the government, donors and the private sector that investment in the Sre Pok River Basin is sound and will contribute to the achievement of the vision for the basin. Such achievement will bring significant economic and social benefits to the people of the basin. Provide for a significant proportion of water fees and wastewater discharge licensing fees to be used to fund improvements in water resource management In most developed countries, the principle of “beneficiary pays� has been adopted. That is, if a water user takes water from a river or water supply system for beneficial use, then they should pay a fee for that privilege. In addition, industries and other polluters that discharge wastewater into rivers and streams also derive a benefit and should pay. In principle, these fee provisions are already in place inn Vietnam. In order to contribute to the improved management of the Sre Pok River Basin, a significant proportion of the revenue generates through such fees should be used to fund future improvements to water resource management. This will help to alleviate the funding shortages that might occur if there was simply a reliance on government and/or donor funding. Maximise the use of opportunities provided by donor-funded projects to train and build the capacity of decision makers, technical experts and other key stakeholders While the management and technical capacity of decision makers, technical experts and other key stakeholders in the Sre Pok River Basin is probably higher than most other areas of Vietnam outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to implement integrated water resource management in the basin will require further (and ongoing) training and other capacity building. The provinces of the

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

basin enjoy a relatively high level of donor support to implement a range of resource management and infrastructure development projects. Each of these projects offers great opportunities for capacity building for counterpart staff, not only through formal training activities, but also on-the-job training and enhancement of work experience. Under this strategy, every effort will be made to provide suitable staff to work on these projects, subject to work load constraints and other commitments. This will not only contribute to better achievement of project outcomes, but will also have significant flow-on benefits to the other day-today work of the concerned agencies. Attract qualified and experienced experts to come and work in the water agencies in the four provinces One of the key human resource issues for provincial agencies working in water resource management and other fields is the limited number of relevant specialists available locally. Where projects are funded by international donors, international and national consultants from elsewhere are employed to enhance the expertise available to undertake the project. However, for the ongoing work of the agencies, lack of local expertise is sometimes a problem. This strategy aims at attracting experts from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and elsewhere in Vietnam to come and work in the relevant departments of the four provinces (particularly the DONREs and DARDs) to complement local expertise. There are a number of means of doing this, including advertising (including promoting the Central Highlands as a progressive and attractive place to live and work), working with various universities outside the region (including the Hanoi Water Resources University and others) to select suitable graduates that are willing to come to the Sre Pok River Basin to work, and so on.

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Key Area 7: Information Overview For a rational decision-making for river basin planning and management to be feasible, information is required. Traditionally, it has been viewed that the important information required relates only to hydrometeorological processes and water control infrastructure. However, to effectively achieve integrated water resource management, a much wider range of physical, social and economic information is necessary. It will be important in the future to ensure that the information collected is comprehensive, reliable and made available in a timely manner. Also, the understanding of the physical processes going on in the basin, for instance with respect to the hydrologic cycle, needs to be improved if the consequences of planning and management decisions are to be predicted in advance. Accordingly, information gaps need to be identified and monitoring networks enhanced and relevant research programs put in place to reduce data deficiencies. Another important aspect of information for water resource management is the need to make the data accessible to all that need it. In Vietnam there still exists a culture among agencies that manage water resources, other natural resource and the environment that data, once collected, is an asset to be kept secret or to be sold. This situation needs to change if the best decisions about management of the Sre Pok River Basin are to be made. Fortunately, modern information technology, especially the Internet, provides excellent tools for sharing of data and information.

Objectives The objectives agreed to are as follows: 1. Have a comprehensive database on land and water resources in place and accessible to all that need it 2. Have effective data sharing arrangements in place among agencies within the basin and with central agencies

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

Strategies The following strategies have been identified: Upgrade existing databases to include all relevant data and using appropriate data management software Since all the planning and management of the water resources of the Sre Pok River Basin depends on comprehensive, accurate and timely data that is easily accessible, the existence and use of appropriate computer databases containing this data is essential. At the present the databases of the basin (including hydrometeorological data, other physical data related to natural resources and environment and socio-economic data) are held in various agencies at national and provincial level. This strategy aims at making these to be better coordinated and upgraded to use common software that allows the data to be checked and verified in a timely manner, and the exchange of data among agencies easier. Identify data gaps and design and implement supplementary surveys, investigations and data collection programs to fill the gaps While there has already been a significant amount of data of various types collected in the basin, there still remain significant gaps in the information available that need to be filled if computer models and other decision-making tools are to be effectively developed and used to assist in the planning and management of the water resources of the basin. Therefore, these gaps will be progressively identified and supplementary surveys, investigations and data collection programs will be designed and implemented to extent that human and financial resources are available. Develop, implement and maintain a water resource data directory (metadatabase), accessible on the Internet One of the most power data management tools to be developed in recent times is the “metadatabase” or “data directory”. This is like a computer catalogue that does not hold the data itself, but rather information about the data. This information may include such things as the type of data, the period of record, frequency of sampling, responsible agency, and so on. It is planned to develop a data directory for the Sre Pok River Basin that will be implemented on the Internet. By this means, authorised people that need data for their water resource planning and management activities can easily find out what data is actually available, whether it is suitable for their purposes, and importantly where to go to get it. Identify priority research needs and implement a research program (in collaboration with appropriate universities and/or institutes) to satisfy those needs While surveys, investigations and data collection programs go a long way to providing the information needed for the planning and management of the water resources of the basin, there is

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Strategic Framework for Water Resource Management in the Sre Pok River Basin

People, Environment, Water

still a lack of complete understanding about the physical and socio-economic processes that determine how decisions, policies and plans that might be made by the various agencies will impact on the basin and its people. Further research is needed to provide that understanding. It is planned to work collaboratively with appropriate universities and/or institutes inn the basin and elsewhere to identify research needs, then design and execute research programs to satisfy them. This will have the dual benefit of strengthening the research capacities of the involved universities and/or institutes, as well as providing decision-makers with a better basis for their policies and plans for the water resources of the basin. Develop and implement an agreement between the PPCs of the four provinces and key central agencies on the sharing of information, setting out protocols for data sharing In Vietnam there is not yet a culture of open sharing of information and data that might be collected and stored. Information is often seen as an asset that should either kept secret or sold to generate revenue for the particular agency. This has the effect of restricting the exchange of data, and consequently decisions, policies and plans are made on incomplete data, or at least less data than might be possible if data were more freely shared. It is planned that the four provinces will develop and sign an agreement for data exchange that will set out the protocols for data exchange, determine pricing policies for data (what agencies should legitimately charge for providing data to other agencies that are covered by the agreement), and make it much easier for those that need the data held by other agencies to get it. If possible, this data sharing agreement will be expanded to include relevant agencies at national level, as well as the Mekong River Commission Secretariat. Implement an appropriate Internet-based system to allow authorised users to access the data held by the various agencies The Internet provides the means for rapid exchange of data among data providing agencies and data users. Internet-based systems have already been implemented in many parts of the world. As access to the Internet is becoming widely available within Vietnam (and the Sre Pok River Basin in particular), it is proposed that eventually such a system will set up for water resource management agencies and other data users (such as universities) within the basin.

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http://mouthtosource.org/rivers/srepok/files/2010/09/Strategic-Framework-for-WRM-in-Sre-Pok