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LESSONS:

Irrigation and Flood Protection Rehabilitation Project in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (Loan 1259-VIE[SF])

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development | country: Viet Nam, Socialist Republic of

The main lesson that can be drawn from project experience is the desirability of taking a holistic approach to irrigation scheme upgrading and development. This lesson is similar to that observed by the Red River Delta Water Resources Sector Project completion report (PCR) and is being applied in ongoing ADB and World Bank irrigation projects. Such an approach would assess the need for lower level irrigation and drainage system upgrading as well as the headworks and main system work often financed by multilateral lending institutions. Thus, the approach should define lower level requirements at the outset and outline a program to address the most critical constraints. This would allow irrigation scheme upgrading to proceed in an ordered and participatory manner, rather than the ad hoc and top-down approach dictated by the project design. Other lessons include:

(i) Adequate setting and collecting of irrigation service fees (ISFs) provides a major contribution to effective scheme operation, maintenance, and development.

(ii) A firm approach must be taken from the start in relation to canal damage, illegal use, and canal rubbish disposal – perhaps by establishing contracts with participating communes, developing commune regulations, and establishing appropriate incentive systems.

(iii) Benefit monitoring and evaluation (BME) should provide useful data to irrigation system management. (ADB no longer uses BME for the reasons outlined in this study. Its successor, the project performance management system, is expected to be much more integrated into management decision-making.) This requires the evaluation system to be defined in consultation with potential data users, and reports to be translated and made widely available. This should make evaluation outputs more useful to local stakeholders and increase the prospects for the evaluation to continue after the end of the Project.

(iv) Secondary data can provide useful information for evaluation, particularly to facilitate comparison between project investments and control areas. Viet Nam’s system for collecting and processing rural statistics is now reliable and evaluation should maximize the use of such data. This could reduce the need for survey data collection and improve the coverage and statistical reliability of evaluation outputs.

(v) Schemes should be mapped adequately. System maps were not readily available in Song Chu or North Nghe An. Maps are an essential part of project planning and management, and should be available readily in the irrigation management companies (IMCs), irrigation enterprises, and clusters. Projects now have the capacity to develop sophisticated mapping systems to allow geographic information system development and maps to be prepared at the range of scales required by management.

(vi) Project-related documents should be stored permanently in an accessible location. This has been difficult, given the limited storage space available. However, cheap data storage now means that all records can be stored permanently in on-site systems, and backed up off-site.

(vii) Construction of assets such as relief wells must be accompanied by adequate and enforceable land use planning to ensure long-term access for operation and maintenance (O&M).

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