However, only 3% of the water in the world (which accounts for over 70% of the earth’s surface) is freshwater deemed fit for human consumption (Rinkesh, 2016). Around two-thirds of that is tucked in frozen glaciers and unavailable for our use. Some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year (WWF). WWF strongly advocates that all freshwater ecosystems – rivers, lakes, wetlands and associated aquifers – should be sustainably managed and wisely used to meet the needs of both biodiversity conservation and human development. This chimes with our vision “Freshwater ecosystems and their services sustain people and nature”.
In the Mekong Delta Landscape, water plays an important role in the locals’ lives. Thanks to water, the Delta has become an agriculturally and aquatically highly productive zone. However, the Delta is facing permanent water resource problems such as floods, saline intrusion, acid sulfate soils, water pollution and droughts. Such problems threaten the region’s agricultural production, livelihoods and mounting threats to species and habitat, these are expected to become worse due to climate change and upstream development. WWF works to ensure the hydrological integrity and water quality in the Mekong River system in the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam is maintained or restored:
- Ensure policies, legislation, and governance structures are strengthened to effectively improved water governance of Mekong river systems;
- Ensure water/river stewardship approach are demonstrated and businesses in targeted sectors ( textile, sand mining, aquaculture etc.) engaged addressing water risks and developing business/production standards
- Ensure input of waste into rivers and canals has been reduced by (i) promoting and piloting separation of waste at household level (ii) promoting better production (and exploitation practices) in commodities/sectors (aquaculture, agriculture, fisheries, sand mining, etc.).
Protected areas are one of the most effective tools for conservation of species and natural habitats; they also contribute to the livelihoods and well-being of local communities. In the Mekong Delta, WWF works closely with wetland protected areas to ensure the freshwater habitats and priority species, critically endangered migratory bird Sarus Crane, in the Mekong Delta maintained or restored:
- Improve capacity for both technical staff and rangers on wetland ecological and hydrological management;
- Strengthen law enforcement and wetland management regulations;
- Restore key habitats for critically endangered species (e.g. Bengal florican, Sarus crane, Painted stork, Oriental darter, otter, etc);
- Designate new Ramsar sites, biosphere reserves, and ASEAN Heritage Parks in the Mekong Delta
- Support sustainable livelihoods models for communities in and around protected areas as well as engage them in biodiversity conservation and wise-use of wetland resources.
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