Millions of Vietnamese to benefit from safer dams Under WB project

WASHINTON: About 6.8 million people in Vietnam are expected to benefit from improvements to dam safety for some 450 irrigation dams with support from a US$415 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), approved today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors.

The Vietnam Dam Rehabilitation and Safety Improvement Project, which supports the government’s dam safety program, will rehabilitate about 450 irrigation dams that have been prioritized based on their age and degraded condition. This 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.

“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,” said Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “This project will help protect the safety and livelihoods of the 6.8 million people who rely on these dams.”

Vietnam has one of the largest networks of dams and hydraulic infrastructure in the world, alongside China and the United States. This network comprises over 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.

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