In order to deal with problems related to both water quality and quantity as well as to strengthen the sustainable and integrative management of the nation's water resources, the Vietnamese Government has adopted a wide spectrum of laws and regulations. In recent years, more than 300 water-related regulations on the guidance and implementation of the Law on Water Resources have been issued and often amended to meet the requirements of the country's development and its increasing international integration. In spite of this, the current legal framework for water resources management in Vietnam remains ineffective and does not correspond with the reality on the ground. Furthermore, law enforcement is deficient and often national regulations are ignored by local authorities, who priorities rapid growth of their communities over sustainability. Under these circumstances, the legal framework cannot properly guide sustainable use of water resources in order to achieve a degree of environmentally sustainable and, in particular, to protect the livelihoods of marginalized groups in society, such as landless fishermen, small-holders or poor people in periurban areas. Despite the gaps in this legal framework, water-related policies and programs in Vietnam consistently refer back to it while, at the same time, policy advisors typically call for reform. Understanding the legal framework is therefore important for both researchers and practitioners. In this view, a previous study was carried out by the author, entitled 'Legal Framework of the Water Sector in Vietnam' (Nguyen 2010), which aimed at presenting the key dimensions and the structure of that framework. Both the Vietnamese and the English version of the book were widely disseminated. This update became necessary because the government of Vietnam recently issued a new law on water resources as well as supplementary legislation. So far, no official English version of any of these new documents exists. Therefore, a detailed presentation of the contents of the laws is particularly timely. In addition to presenting the laws, this paper aims at shedding light on some of the critical aspects of the current legislation and illustrates how the law making process proceeded.
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulatory impact assessment (RIA) integrated water resource management (IWRM) law on water resources law making process Mekong Delta Vietnam water quality management water resources management