Mr Ousmane Dione thanked Minister Pham Hong Ha and his colleagues of the MoC for warmly welcome and said, in the past, the working group of the WB and Technical Infrastructure Agency, the Management Board of Technical Infrastructure Projects of the MoC have collaborated to study and implement preparations for the Water Supply Project in the Mekong River Delta under the direction of the Minister. Accordingly, the preparation contents include the calculation of the scope of project implementation, prioritizing the most heavily affected areas, namely Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Soc Trang; studying groundwater reserves and time to exploit; reviewing plans for brackish water desalination; construction of water transmission system for the region by pipeline; water subsidy issues; public-private partnership ability to reduce budget burden and project implementation costs... So far, the working group has released the latest option (version 5), with the scope of project implementation in 7 provinces in south of Hau river, in which proposed forms of exploitation of raw water from Hau river surface water, groundwater and brackish water desalination.
According to Mr Ousmane Dione, this was a lower cost plan than the original plan (USD 1.2 billion compared to USD 1.7 billion). The implemention of this option aimed to save costs and also address a number of other issues such as implementing brackish water desalination, better management of groundwater exploitation. The Ministry of Construction's Technical Infrastructure Management Board and related consulting units have proposed investment in the first phase of USD 440 million from WB's loan and cost allocation for different provinces.
Mr. Ousmane afirmed that, the WB was ready to provide technical assistance for this project, including the following areas: Technical verification to determine the priority order; inviting leading experts in relevant professional fields to carry out project verification; carrying out initial assessments on the ability to borrow - repay loans of provinces and water supply companies participating in the project; conducting surveys to assess the level of interest and potential of the private sector to participate in the project...
Mr.Ousmane asked the MoC to direct the establishment of the Project Steering Committee and assign the Technical Infrastructure Agency and Management Board of Technical Infrastructure Projects to deploy the Project Feasibility Study; update the water supply planning in the Mekong River Delta; implement a number of relevent procedures… to ensure that the Project can be submitted to the World Bank for approval in March 2020.
Minister Pham Hong Ha is at the working session.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister Pham Hong Ha thanked the WB for the idea of implementing this project, and said that this was a necessary action for Vietnam in responding to climate change, ensuring a safe and stable water supply for people in the Mekong Delta.
Minister Pham Hong Ha asked the World Bank to continue support research, clarify and improve the accuracy of climate change scenarios and sea level rise from which to choose carefully technical solutions; support for research on saline dehydration technology has been successfully applied in the world; calculate the technological and institutional factors to ensure that water price was affordable for users.
Regarding the World Bank's proposals, Minister Pham Hong Ha affirmed that some things can be implemented immediately such as the establishment of a Steering Committee, adjustment of water supply planning in the Mekong Delta. At the same time, he proposed to have a meeting with WB Vietnam in the near future to assess the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two sides to facilitate for the implementation of the Project.
Minister Pham Hong Ha asked the WB to continue supporting the MoC in advising the Vietnam Government on the implementation of the Project and hoped the Project would ensure safe water supply, improve the quality of life for people in the Mekong Delta region.
Written by: Minh Tuan
Translated by: Mai Anh