In order to ensure the sustainable exploitation and use of water resources Vietnam has started to elaborate a legal framework of the water sector during recent years. This new legal framework includes a large set of regulations that deals with waste water management, including the treatment and disposal of waste waters from industries, agriculture and households. The protection of water resources, particularly with respect to water quality and the prevention of water pollution, is a crucial and serious issue due to the country’s rapid development and industrialization. Nevertheless, the quality of the current regulations (issued by both national and local levels) on water resources management in Vietnam does obviously not meet reality requirements. Furthermore, there is evidence that the enforcement of the national framework encounters various problems when it comes to the implementation by local governments.
In recent years, more than 300 legal documents required to implement the Law on Water Resources have been developed as secondary regulations to protect and use water resources in a sustainable manner in different legal aspects. Among these 300 legal documents, over 60 are related to wastewater and water pollution management. Moreover, at local level important regulations on water resources protection, particularly regulations on water pollution management have been developed to implement national regulations at sub-national scales of government. In Can Tho City, located in the Mekong Delta, 100 water-related legal documents have been issued by the People’s Committee of the city that claim creating a comprehensive legal system on water resources protection for the city’s jurisdiction.
By using Can Tho City as a case study, this paper intends to analyze contradictions and conflicts between the national and local regulations, specifically in the field of wastewater management. It will be discussed how the provincial government of Can Tho City enforces the national law on water resource management and how national regulations are interpreted and newly defined in the context of local governance. Furthermore, the study aims at contributing to the debate on how to create a comprehensive and coherent legal framework of the water sector at both national and local scale of government.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Loan
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