Water conservation programme for three river basins launched hinh anh 1Trippers explore the nature of Cat Tien Park in Dong Nai province (Photo: VNA)
Dong Nai (VNS/VNA) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in cooperation with WWF-Vietnam, HEINEKEN Vietnam and local partners, has launched a partnership programme for water conservation in the basins of the Hong (Red), Dong Nai and Tien River.

WWF-Vietnam said the programme would strengthen water resources management in these critical areas.

The partnership programme for ‘Water conservation in Xuan Son National Park of the northern Phu Tho province; Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve in the southern Dong Nai province and Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) Ecological Reserve in Tien Giang province’ will be conducted over four years, with funding of 30 billion VND (1.3 million USD) from HEINEKEN Vietnam.

According to the plan, the ecosystems in these river basins will be restored, and forests replanted to maintain and improve their ability to regulate and supply water to local communities and support agricultural activities downstream.

The programme is part of HEINEKEN Vietnam’s efforts to protect watersheds and an essential step toward the company's goal of 100% water balance by 2025 – whereby the company seeks to return the amount to the environment of water that goes into its beers.

It also aims to restore the integrity of the ecosystem and the biodiversity in the basin of these rivers, which is high on WWF-Vietnam’s agenda.

The Red, Dong Nai, and Tien River basins have high biodiversity and economic value to the local communities.

However, the overexploitation of water, forest and land, the ineffective management of waste sources, and the impact of climate change have reduced the amount and the quality of water in these regions.

“Protecting water is one of the top priorities in HEINEKEN Vietnam’s sustainability strategy, especially when beers are 95% water,” said Holly Bostock, Corporate Affairs Director, HEINEKEN Vietnam.

“In our production, we are constantly increasing our water efficiency and improving water circularity. However, beyond this, we also have the ambition to balance the water in our products fully.

"The partnership program with WWF-Vietnam will improve water quality and restore water management mechanisms in three critical river basins, which feed into where three of our breweries are, in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Tien Giang. With its positive and comprehensive impacts on the environment and community, this programme will be a crucial part of our ‘Brewing A Better Vietnam’ sustainability strategy.”

Hoang Viet, Freshwater Lead at WWF-Vietnam, said: “The programme is designed with a comprehensive approach to address water security issues with nature-based & community-based solutions.”

“With a strong commitment and close cooperation of the Department of International Cooperation, the Department of Water Resources, the General Department of Irrigation and the Department of Special-Use Forests Management, the Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and local partners, as well as the funding from HEINEKEN Vietnam, WWF-Vietnam believes that the ecosystem in these critical water basins of the country will be protected and developed sustainably, improve water supply in the area, and address a shortage in the lower rivers, especially in the dry season.”

By 2025, the program aims to have the freshwater ecosystem in Xuan Son National Park, Dong Nai Nature Reserve - Cultural Heritage, and Dong Thap Muoi Ecosystem Reserve restored and protected.

Local communities will form new habits and contribute to the goal of replenishing a total of 3 billion litres of water every year, of which approximately 2 billion litres are expected to be increased through the nurturing and enriching of 1,100 hectares of natural forest in all three river basins.

Two hundred million litres of water will potentially be added by planting 32.3 hectares of extensive timber forests and native trees.

Nearly 800 million litres of water are planned to be explicitly replenished in Dong Thap Muoi Ecosystem Reserve through water management programmes in wetlands.

Additionally, communities living in the core and buffer zones of Xuan Son National Park and Dong Nai Nature & Cultural Reserve will receive training to adjust their living and farming habits to help reduce the negative impact on water resources.

The partnership program between WWF-Vietnam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and HEINEKEN Vietnam, if implemented successfully, can become a public-private cooperation model for forested watersheds protection and water resources conservation; and a showcase of collaboration to reverse biodiversity loss in Vietnam./.