Over 120 climate-resilient ponds enhance water security for farmers

August 03, 2023 | 11:23
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A total of 121 climate-resilient ponds have been built as part of a project funded by the Green Climate Fund.
Over 120 climate-resilient ponds enhance water security for farmers
A shared pond being dug in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak

The Strengthening the Resilience of Smallholder Agriculture to Climate Change-Induced Water Insecurity in the Central Highlands and South-Central Coast Regions of Vietnam project aims to improve water security and safeguard the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the area.

By 2026, about 1,100 climate-resilient ponds will have been constructed and handed over, ready to be carefully managed and operated.

Among them, 106 ponds have already been completed and put into operation, with a further 15 ponds currently under construction. These are expected to be completed soon, ready to gather water in time for this year's rainy season. They will strengthen the project's impact and enhance water access for farmers.

Each pond is designed to efficiently store rainwater and surface run-off while providing a sustainable water source to farmers during the local annual dry season, significantly reducing the likelihood of the water shortages due to drought and climate change that take place regularly in the project area.

Irrigation experts use rainfall models to calculate the water balance, considering multiple factors, such as the maximum use of available water resources, geographical conditions, climate risks, and local experience. This method ensures that the ponds are built to withstand different climate scenarios, assuring water supply for the long term.

In addition, the ponds' design considers innovative features to minimise water loss and avoid sedimentation, promoting sustainable water management practices. For example, biological techniques and nature-based solutions – such as planting suitable vegetation around banks to increase resilience and cost-effectiveness – are also incorporated to supplement traditional knowledge.

One of the critical aspects of this project is its community-centred approach. Through pond use management groups, farmers, especially women and ethnic minorities, play a key role. They closely supervise the construction, operation, and maintenance, ensuring the long-term viability of the project.

By participating in training and capacity-building sessions, these farmer-led groups will ensure the ponds are utilised optimally and promptly address any technical challenges, amplifying the positive impact on the local communities.

Implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the people’s committees of the provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan, the project’s innovative approach and collaborative community engagement set a compelling example for benefit-sharing and sustainable water utilisation and management practices in the face of climate change and the extreme El Nino phenomena.

As these ponds continue to support local farmers and strengthen their resilience, they contribute to a more secure and prosperous future in Vietnam’s agricultural heartland.

Vietnam faces challenges in ensuring water security Vietnam faces challenges in ensuring water security

With a growing population, increasing demand for water and the negative impacts of climate change, Vietnam faces major challenges in ensuring water security.

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By Thanh Tung

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