Economic valuation and environmental flows (e-flows) initiative for huong river basin and tam giang-cau hai lagoon

07 March 2007 | News story

 

In Central Viet Nam’s Huong (Perfume) River basin and its Tam Giang-Cau Hai lagoon, overexploitation and increasing degradation of resources, together with limited coordination between different management authorities, have created an urgent need for the development of an integrated management approach. IUCN and partners recently conducted a preliminary E-flows study in the Huong River basin, where one million people live and where many important ecosystems and wetlands habitat can be found. Also, an economic valuation initiative has been developed, with a strong linkage to the E-flows study. An economic valuation study of a river system assigns monetary values to the ecosystem goods and services that the river system provides, through which to develop economic instruments to aid management decision-making processes, while an E-flows assessment refers to determining the flow regime necessary for maintaining downstream ecosystems and services for river users.

The studies found that in river basins like Huong - where the water flow is strongly regulated and with competing water and ecosystems uses - E-flows and economic valuation are very useful tools for sustainable and equitable use and management of the resources.

E-flows and economic valuation studies can help further the effort towards integrated management in the Huong River Basin by providing quantifiable data that is easy for decision makers to understand.  Financial experts can use the findings from economic valuation studies to show the long-term financial benefits of conservation activities, and E-flows can help water resource managers to bridge competing interests and work towards achieving a fair balance of water use.

The initiatives were discussed at a Sida-funded workshop held in Hue on 7 November, 2006, organized by IUCN in collaboration with the Hue College of Economics and the Huong River Projects Management Board. At the workshop, participants discussed the studies’ findings and plans and opportunities to link to other on-going initiatives in the basin and lagoon. A representative from MONRE’s Department of Water and Resources Management shared information on the Government’s efforts on integrated water resources management (IWRM), especially those relating to incorporating E-flows into national water policy.

For more information, contact Mr. Ly Minh Dang, Wetlands and Water Resources Programme Manager, at dang@iucn.org.vn or call +(84) 4 726-1575 ext. 143.