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Seminar Description

Researchers around the world agree that climate change affects the availability of fresh water resources.  Changing precipitation patterns and sea-level rise can increase the salinity of surface and groundwater.  Abstracting groundwater for domestic, agricultural and industrial use may exacerbate natural land subsidence especially in river deltas.  In the Mekong Delta the combination of these events may lead to an insecure and non-sustainable water supply for its population of 17 million.

The seminar “Water Utilities and the Challenges of Climate Change” will focus on the effects of climate change on water utilities in particular.  The emphasis will be on related challenges for water companies in the Mekong Delta and the Dong Nai River Basin, but participants from other Vietnamese regions are encouraged to contribute with their own experiences.

The seminar will be held in the city of Can Tho from November 19 to 21, 2014.  The 3-day program consists of a combination of key note speeches and presentations, interactive workshops, and on the second day, a case study / fieldtrip to Tra Vinh province.

The seminar will feature presentations and workshops on topics such as:

  • Existing scenarios on climate change in general, and for the Mekong Delta and the Dong Nai river basin in specific.
  • The dynamics and interaction of fresh and saline surface and groundwater.
  • Surface water flow and quality (modelling); sharing of limited fresh water resources; coping with increasingly brackish water, now and in the future.
  • Groundwater quality (modelling), pollution, and trends, in particular regarding the salinity of groundwater.
  • Urban planning in relation to climate change.
  • Best practices for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures for public water supply (in other regions/countries).
  • Long-term plans to ensure and sustain public water supply in the Mekong Delta.
  • Climate adaptation strategies of Tra Vinh Water Supply and Drainage Company (TraWaCo), Soc Trang Water Supply Company (SocTrangWaCo), and Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO).
  • Design of a water retention and storage reservoirs.
  • Water conservancy in general, and reduction of the water consumption by industries in particular.

Background
This seminar is part of the project “Climate Change and Water Supply in the Mekong Delta”.  The project is co-funded by the Sustainable Water Fund of The Netherlands: total project costs are EUR 10 million; a grant of EUR 4.4 million is extended to the project.  Partners are:

  • Vitens Evides International (VEI), a joint venture of two major Dutch water companies
  • Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO)
  • Soc Trang Water Supply Company
  • Tra Vinh Water Supply and Drainage Company
  • People’s Committee of Soc Trang
  • People’s Committee of Tra Vinh
  • UNESCO-IHE and
  • Can Tho University – Dragon Institute.

The main components of the project “Climate Change and Water Supply in the Mekong Delta“ are:

  • Achieving climate change preparedness of public water utilities.
  • Achieving water supply financial sustainability through improving operational efficiency (i.e. non-revenue water and energy consumption reduction).
  • Moving away from groundwater use towards surface water (i.e. construction of a surface water treatment plant at Soc Trang).
  • Providing access to water for low-income households and minorities (i.e. network extensions in Ho Chi Minh City, Soc Trang and Tra Vinh).
  • Reduction of water consumption of industries (in the Mekong Delta provinces of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh).

The envisaged November 2014 seminar is part of the first component of the Project: Achieving climate change preparedness of public water utilities through the development of climate change adaptation plans.