Climate variability and water-sharing plans: Transferability of Australian approaches to Vietnam

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Water reforms in Australia have been comparatively progressive, including the agreement to the National Water Initiative (2004) and the implementation of over 130 water-sharing plans. Most of these plans include processes for dealing with climate variability, but only a few incorporate processes for addressing potential climate change impacts. Approaches include the use of scenario planning to better understand water availability and use; rules for prioritising water use; and setting aside reserve allocations. Vietnam, on the other hand, has had the legislative mandate since 1999 to develop water-sharing plans but has yet to do so. Recent reforms have led to the preparation of the National Target Program for a Sustainable Water Sector (NTPSWS): the national strategic plan for water resource management. The approval of the NTPSWS by the Vietnamese Government may provide the right incentive to gather resources to commence planning. The approaches used in Australia for addressing climate variability and potential climate change impacts would be transferable in the Vietnam context. Success, however, is probably dependent on strengthening institutional arrangements of the Vietnam water sector that includes increasing awareness of the benefits of water-sharing planning for sustainable water resource management at both the agency and community levels.

Keywords: climate change, IWRM tools, water-sharing plans

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