The Natural Environment of Dak Lak Province
Dak Lak has a rich system of rivers and streams, hundreds of reservoirs and large and small natural lakes, with a total area of over 42,000 ha. The Serepok tributaries flowing through Dak Lak are considered to have the most abundant aquatic resources in the Central Highlands.
However, rapid socio-economic development has now created great pressures on water resources. In particular, the demand for water for daily life and production is increasing and surface water is being exploited; aquatic resources are ruined by destructive fishing methods and unseasonal exploitation; hydropower projects are blocking the breeding grounds of fish and aquatic life, and the productivity has been seriously reduced. In addition, Dak Lak is facing a number of water related issues such as drought, floods and other natural disasters because of climate change.
Efficiencies from Awareness Raising on Water Resources Management
Since 2016, the Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD) has established four community livelihood models in Dak Lak Province within the framework of the project “Water Resources Management”. The models are located in three Ea Tung villages (Krong Ana district), Tan Phu and Na Wer hamlets (Buon Don district) and Yang Tao commune (Lak district). By empowering the villagers with funding of 25-50,000,000 VND per group, scientific and technical guidance, and careful supervision, households have changed their financial management of water resources, they invest in livestock production in accordance with soil conditions, they improve their incomes, and gradually improve their lives.
Community Livelihood Models with Community-Centered Criteria.
During the project, CSRD conducted training courses to equip households with practical knowledge and skills. They helped set up and organize farmer groups, prepare production and business plans which link together household groups, acquire agricultural science technology for production and economic development, thereby helping to raise incomes.
The models have brought economic benefits to the participating households, with very stable prices and outputs. In addition to these economic values, the main goal of the group was to ensure the development of livelihood activities, the sustainable development of fisheries, and more efficient management of water resources in the Serepok River area. The groups are now planning to expand the scale of cage aquaculture; to establish and connect cooperatives for fisheries; and to build a model of community-based tourism based on cage aquaculture, pepper gardens, and citrus gardens with organic farming methods.
Regenerating aquatic resources
To regenerate and supplement aquatic resources, the project has collaborated with local authorities and agencies to introduce a range of innovative measures. These include new methods for stocking fish, and combining fishing production with sustainable livelihood initiatives and conservation of the ecosystems of natural lakes and wetlands for fisheries associations in Na Wer, Buon Don district; Ho Lak and Lien Son, Lak district. Today, Fisheries Associations can visit working models of water resource management across the region. They can share their experiences of operating techniques and the management regulations of the Fisheries Association, and they can help to protect and regenerate aquatic resources, thus helping to implement policies for conservation of aquatic resources in the natural environment.
Building community-based livelihood models for the conservation and sustainable development of fisheries and water resources is the right and the essential direction for Dak Lak province and the whole country.