Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, on Nov. 3 approved the content of the Vietnam Dam Rehabilitation and Safety Improvement Project. The six-year program is meant to perform rehabilitation and safety improvements throughout the country on dam infrastructure and is financed partially through official development assistance (ODA) loans from the World Bank.
Planned for implementation from 2016 to 2022, World Bank officials estimate the project will cost US$455 million. The organization said $420 million will come from ODA loans and the government of Vietnam will provide the remaining amount.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the agency responsible for dam safety in Vietnam, will oversee the project.
The program recognizes the need to improve not only the physical stability of dam facilities, but also the safety management system including the legal and regulatory framework, technical standards, norms, guidelines, manuals as well as building capacity.
With more than 7,000 dams of different types and sizes, Vietnam has a complex and evolving institutional framework for dam safety, according to the World Bank.
There are more than 750 large dams in Vietnam. Estimates say there are about 6,000 small dams, which are largely earth embankment dams supporting irrigation.
The project will repair 450 high risk dams, equip 718 irrigation reservoirs with flood warning systems and make data sharing between dam safety officials easier by upgrading the national database on dam safety management.
The program has three components; implementation of the government program on reservoir safety, improving the safety of prioritized dams and reservoirs, and protecting downstream communities.
In addition to maintaining its dam infrastructure, the plan also seeks to ensure a safe water supply for nearly 4.1 million people and 450,000 acres of agricultural land.
The project identified 35 locations throughout Vietnam that will benefit from both the reservoir program and the dam safety project: Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Tuyen Quang, Bac Kan, Lao Cai, Thai Nguyen, Lang Son, Son La, Hoa Binh, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Bac Giang, Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong, Gia Lai, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, and Tay Ninh.