Scene of the workshop (Source: VTV)
Gia Lai (VNA) – Experts suggested measures to ensure water security and sustainable protection for socio-economic development in the Central Highlands during a workshop in Gia Lai province on July 22.

They recommended enhancing the capacity to provide sufficient water for agricultural production, industry and local daily activities.

Subsequently, it is essential to continue seeking groundwater and creating a fund to support water for residents, while making survey on and a planning scheme for water resources in the region and building a master plan for irrigation development until 2020 and with a vision to 2030.

Participants proposed prioritising investment in upgrading medium- and large-sized water reservoirs and supporting afforestation and forest protection projects as well as modernising irrigation systems, improving capacity to deal with inundation in flood-prone areas, and enhancing water resources management in accordance with the Law on Water Resources.

There are four big rivers running through the Central Highlands , namely Se San, Ba, Srepok and Dong Nai. Based on this natural advantage, the State injected money to build a hydropower and irrigation system to serve socio-economic development in the region.

Currently, the Central Highlands is home to 2,354 irrigation facilities, including 1,190 water reservoirs, 972 dams, and 130 water pumping stations, which could provide water for nearly 300,000 hectares of plants.

However, the ineffective and unreasonable use of water along with climate change has affected the sustainable water resources development in the region.

The serious drought in the first months of 2016 significantly affected local production and life activities. Over 35 percent of rivers and 40 percent of small lakes in the region ran out of water. By the end of June, 2016, the region had 180,000 hectares of withering crops. The total economic loss amounted to 5.5 trillion VND (247.5 million USD) while 70,000 households faced water shortages.

The workshop was jointly held by the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), and Vietnam Rivers Network under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.-VNA