The World Bank has approved US$415 million in credit support to Vietnam for a project which will rehabilitate some 450 aging and damaged irrigation dams to make them safer for residents.
The project will help about 2.7 million people who rely on these dams for agricultural and aquaculture production and water supply and about 4.1 million people and economic assets downstream that are at risk in the event of a dam failure, the Washington-based development bank said Wednesday.
“We are pleased to support the government’s dam safety program with financing for this critical rehabilitation project. Failure to secure the safety of these dams poses a serious risk to human safety and economic resilience,” Victoria Kwakwa, the bank’s country director in Vietnam, said in a statement.
“This project will help protect the safety and livelihoods of the 6.8 million people who rely on these dams,” she added.
Vietnam has one of the largest networks of dams and hydraulic infrastructure in the world, alongside China and the United States. This network comprises more than 7,000 dams of different types and sizes that make a substantial contribution to the country’s development. This is particularly true in rural areas where 70 to 80 percent of the population earns a living through agriculture.
In addition to financing the physical rehabilitation of irrigation dams, the project will also support the government’s efforts to implement a sustainable framework for ensuring dam safety across the portfolio of dams. This includes establishing technical and regulatory standards, codes, guidelines and norms to be applied across all types of dams so that overall dam safety is more standardized, transparent and accountable.