ASIA 2008 OPENING
Your Excellency Vice Prime Minister of Vietnam Mr Hoang Trung Hai,
Deputy Minister of Electric Power of Myanmar Your Excellency U Myo Myint,
Vice President of EVN, Dr Lam Du Son, President of ICOLD Prof Luis Berga,
President of ICID, Mr Peter Lee,
President of VNCOLD, Prof Pham Hong Giang,
distinguished international Guests, ladies and gentlemen.
To all our friends here, we are so glad to see you – many who were present in Bangkok in 2006, and also a lot of new delegations this time. I must say that although we on the organizing committee come from a little island called the UK, a long way from here, we feel at home here in the Asia – and these regional symposia, of which this is just the second, already have the atmosphere of a family. So welcome to the family!
This year we are more than 420 participants, representing, at the last count, about 40 countries.
It is clear that we have a fantastic concentration of expertise here in Danang, spanning a wide range of disciplines in the professions dealing with water and energy schemes – from planning and financing them, to designing, implementing and operating them.
Why are we meeting here?
Apart from the obvious charms of Danang and the Furama Resort, Vietnam is one of the most active countries for water resources and hydropower development in the Southeast Asia region, with about 20 major dam/hydro schemes currently under construction, totalling nearly 5500 MW, and almost the same amount of capacity now going ahead.
The Map here shows just the major large-scale schemes, dams, reservoirs and hydro plants, which are in operation (blue dots) under construction (red dots) and planned (yellow dots). Of course there aremany other smaller ones.
So we can see that Vietnam is strongly committed to water resources and renewable energy development, and over the next 20 years, hydropower in particular will play a very important role in the country’s energy mix. But I’ll leave the details about that to Dr Lam Du Son and others.
Presidium of the Opening Ceremony
We also know that Vietnam is actively collaborating with neighbouring countries, such as Lao PDR and Cambodia, to help these countries develop some of their substantial hydro resources. The value of bi-national and international collaboration in water resources development cannot be stressed highly enough.
The other reason we are here at Furama is because we believe that when bringing together a group of people to work hard, which will certainly be the case over these two days, it is also important to make sure the surroundings are pleasant, and appropriate for networking in a relaxed and enjoyable way. Whenever possible we hold talks about water close to some kind of body of water – a lake, river or ocean – as symbolic inspiration for good discussions – and this year you cannot fail to notice a rather spectacular body of water just outside, in the form of the South China Sea. You might also notice some rain, which we arranged to show you an essential ingredient of Vietnam’s water resources development programme.
As well as providing us with these nice surroundings, the holding company of Furama, SOVICO, also has an interest in the content of our meeting, because it is also involved in hydropower development. That’s one of the reasons why Sovico kindly agreed to be one of our co-sponsors.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the major local and international organizations who worked with us in planning and organizing this Symposium:
Our Co-Host EVN and the Ministry of Industry and Energy; the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, the Vietnamese National Committee on Large Dams – special thanks to Prof Pham Hong Giang, President of VNCOLD, for giving us huge support during so many aspects of the planning process, and the VN Committee of the Mekong River Commission.
So what has happened since ASIA 2006?
First, we have seen more inter-sectoral collaboration in the world of water resources – encouraged by professional associations such as ICOLD, ICID, IWRA, and the World Water Council as well as the UN agencies lending agencies – ADB, World Bank.
More emphasis is placed on integrated water resources management, sustainable development and water governance today, the latter ensuring input to the global debate on water from all social, political, economic and administrative organizations, to ensure that decisions are made based on firmer foundations, and with all options carefully assessed.
The more inclusive discussions and planning processes are, the fewer problems will arise in terms of conflicts between regions, or between different water users,
Many major schemes have moved ahead around the world, including, for example,
Rampur in India, Ilisu in Turkey, Bujagali in Uganda, and the Rio Madeira complex in Brazil.
I mention these first, as being particularly significant for a ‘new world era of hydro development’ as all four schemes had been delayed for years while debates raged about possible social or environmental impacts. Of course extensive studies had been done on these aspects, and in the end, balanced and open debate convinced both developers and lending agencies that benefits far outweighed environmental or social costs, and that appropriate measures could in any case be taken to mitigate or compensate for negative impacts.
To give a quick viewing of some activities in Asia:
Here in Vietnam virtually every month one hears of new projects going ahead either within the country, or as a joint venture with neighbouring countries. About 15,000 MW of hydro will be developed over the next 10 years.
Here are just some of the major ones which will be visited on our Study tours:
In China, Three Gorges has achieved a number of milestones in the past couple of years (completion of the main dam, and the Left Bank powerhouse and the startup of units at Right Bank one). The first units were also commissioned at Longtan, and a number of other other major schemes are progressing, such as Xiluodo (12,600 MW) and Xiangjiaba. Hydro capacity will have reached 300 GW by 2020, representing 25 per cent of the country’s total capacity, and many of the schemes will provide multipurpose benefits.
India is continuing with its 50,000 MW initiative, with the aim of supplying power to the whole population of the country by 2012.
This pic shows Sardar Sarovar, now in operation, Indira Sagar recently completed, and the site of Rampur, now going ahead.
In Lao PDR, about 5000 MW of hydro is being constructed, mainly for export to neighbouring countries. There will be some discussion here about Nam Theun 2, but other notable schemes are and the Theun Hinboun extension, which will also be discussed here,
Russian Federation is moving rapidly ahead with its vast programme of hydropower development, especially, but not only, in the Far East of the country (Bureya, Boguchany…)
And is also working with neighbouring countries such as Tadjikistan, where the first unit was just commissioned early at the 670 MW Sangtuda scheme.
Update on world hydro development, and contribution of Asia
Hydro capacity in operation 807,000 MW 319,219 MW
Annual hydro production 3030 TWh/year 1061 TWh/year
Technically feasible potential 14,388 TWh/year 6800 TWh/year
Hydro capacity under construction 150,600 MW 126,044 MW
(in 106 countries) (in 30 countries)
Hydro capacity planned > 340,000 MW >220,000 MW
(in 152 countries) (in~ 37 countries)
84% of hydro capacity under construction is in Asia
What are the most urgent challenges for the world, and for the region?
Worldwide, it is known that 1.4 billion people live in regions where there is real physical water scarcity, and an additional 1.6 billion people live in areas where there is water stress as a result of over-consumption.
Here is a forecast of countries which will face water scarcity by 2025.
(Red = physical scarcity; yellow = economic)
While the world's population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources increased six-fold. By 2050, the world population will have increased from the present 6.65 billion to around 9 billion
–by that time 70% will be in what are today developing countries
But it has often been pointed out that problems of water management are more significant than water scarcity – that includes wastage in some parts of the world.
It was pointed out at the Stockholm Water Symposium last year that half of the world’s water which is treated for human consumption is wasted today. Clearly the culprits are mainly the highly developed and industrialized countries. For example, there is one a long way northwest of here where a drink is not considered chilled unless it contains at least 20 ice cubes, while in other parts of water, each drop of water is cherished.
The average European uses 200 litres of water every day. North Americans use 400 litres.
But in the developing countries of Asia and Africa, the figure can be as little as 10 litres/day – for drinking, washing and cooking. That’s something for NGOs in North America and Europe to keep in mind, when they protest against the need for more water infrastructure in the less developed countries!
Water Aid estimates that 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases, in areas where a clean water supply is not available. In some rural areas where no domestic supply is available, children, particularly girls, are not able to attend school, as they need to spend hours walking long distances to collect water.
All these problems can be eased by carefully planned, and appropriately implemented, water storage schemes,
Another major challenges concerns the risks thrown up by nature:
While many Asian countries are setting world records in terms of their active programmes of water resources and hydro development – and as a result have some of the world’s fastest growing economies, it is also the most vulnerable region of the world with respect to water-related natural disasters, which are hindering sustainable development. Floods, droughts, tsunamis, storm surges and water-borne disease have escalated since the beginning of the 21st Century.
Between 1960 and 2006, more than 600 thousand casualties have been recorded, accounting for about 80 per cent of the world’s water-related disasters, and costing around US$ 8 billion in economic damage.
Hence, the programme of ASIA 2008, will also look at ways of mitigating risk, and designing water infrastructure to cope with the significant challenges posed by nature: sedimentation, complex geology, remote sites, extreme climates, floods and earthquakes.
More papers this year focus on irrigation –
- we know that agriculture is by far the greatest water user – accounting for around 70% of water withdrawals.
According to FAO – a person needs about 4 l/day to drink, while it takes 2000-5000 l of water to produce a reasonable daily intake of food. We are fortunate to have with us eminent speakers from Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and ICID to lead some of discussions on the challenges of ensuring enough water storage for irrigation needs and of making irrigation water more productive.
What do we want to achieve this week?
The most constructive aspect of this Symposium, I think, will be the exchange of experience and interaction between those from the Asian countries which have been leading the way, with their WRD programmes, others from the countries with clearly defined plans, but with actual development activities still ahead; and of course those from all parts of the world with long term experience in their regions, who may be able to help some other nations to achieve their goals.
The topics we are covering can broadly be divided into three streams –
Technology, Finance and its associated risk, Responsible planning to avoid or mitigate social and environmental problems. There are many sub-themes, and many cross-cutting themes – including, for one, possible impacts of climate change, and the uncertainties surrounding that subject
Compared with ASIA 2006 in Bangkok, we have allowed more discussion time within the various sessions. This is a valuable opportunity to put your views, questions, specific national or regional issues to them.
On environmental and social aspects - some excellent case studies will be presented, demonstrating how timely consultations and communications, assessing and fulfilling local expectations – can avoid prolonged dialogue and conflict. Giving people some involvement, or even training to participate in a scheme, does not necessarily cost a lot of money, but it can provide a lot of goodwill, which ultimately means a project finished on time and within budget.
In Bangkok, Jean Michel Devernay of EDF told us that many of the local Lao workforce working on the Nam Theun 2 scheme, when they returned to their homes in the evening they sit on their terraces to eat supper still wearing their hats from the construction site with the logo of the project. That’s because they are proud to be part of a well managed project, where they had had a chance not only to learn technical skills, but also to learn about safety, healthcare, the environment, and much more. That’s something to think about.
Finally I’d like to mention our Technical Exhibition, where the various refreshments and meals will be served. We don’t expect you to stop focusing on at least some professional issues, just because you are eating. There will be a fantastic concentration of international expertise on display in the two areas, and we suggest you make sure to visit everyone there.
Some of those you will meet there also played a role in sponsoring some element of the Symposium, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Industry Sponsors.
A strong plea from Aqua-Media, as organizer of this event, is to maximize the benefit of being among so many international experts this week, but please don’t keep what you have absorbed here to yourself. Take back to your home country new ideas, information, and the contacts you will have made, which are of specific relevance to your government’s development plans. Dissemination of the information available here at ASIA 2008 is important among all involved in water resources development in the region, from high level decision makers and planners, to those at grass roots level who will ultimately benefit from the decisions made.
I wish you fruitful discussions, and an enjoyable stay here in Danang.