In the Mekong Delta, Effective management of water resources, particularly groundwater, stands as a critical priority in mitigating escalating land subsidence and groundwater salinization. Recognizing this urgency, the Vietnam government introduced Decree 167/2018/ND-CP focused on Groundwater Extraction to control further adverse effects on the environment.
However, implementing Decree 167 presents challenges from various factors, including insufficient data, limited awareness, lack of coordination, and inadequate monitoring systems. Tackling these challenges is crucial, with a focus on:
- Knowledge and understanding that stakeholders lack about Decree 167 itself as well as the underlying interrelated problems and implications.
- Solutions that offer stakeholders acceptable and feasible alternatives to groundwater extraction.
- Stakeholder strategy that engages and commits stakeholders to contribute to the implementation of Decree 167.
For these challenges, Negotiating Groundwater Extraction project initiates in Soc Trang and Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, aimed at supporting local government and water user stakeholders such as farmers, factories, residents to have a productive dialogue about groundwater use in their daily activities. Comprising three core elements—1. Serious Gaming, 2. Groundwater Science, Policy, and Legislation, alongside 3. Stakeholder Engagement—the project employs innovative strategies.
The project team approach strategies to navigate the complexities and effectively implement Decree 167/2018/ND-CP, fostering a more sustainable environment in Vietnam. Through collaborative efforts and innovative methodologies, the aim is to mitigate the challenges associated with groundwater management, ensuring a resilient and environmentally conscious approach to resource utilization.
Serious gaming serves as a unique engagement tool, facilitating stakeholder interaction in the Mekong Delta. By gathering stakeholders for gameplay sessions, this approach encourages discussion, fostering a space where policymakers, water users, and experts can understand each other’s perspectives and frame future actions.
Groundwater Science, Policy, and Legislation
Based on the project teams’ previous effort in extensive fieldwork, and data collection, 3D models have been developed focusing on critical aspects like land subsidence and groundwater dynamics in the Mekong Delta. After transformation of these modelling outputs to components useful for storyline telling, the results will be used effectively for the creation of the serious game based on scientific substantiated and realistic water management strategies and sustainable development practices.
This project employs Design Thinking as the primary approach for Stakeholder Engagement, involving a structured process: Empathize, where the needs of users and stakeholders are researched; Define, which articulates these needs and identified problems; Ideate, challenging assumptions and creating innovative ideas; Prototype, initiating the development of potential solutions; and Test, where these solutions are implemented and assessed for their effectiveness.
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