» Cooperative Law No 23/2012/QH13 25-12-2013 » Research for proposal of policies and solutions promoting the participation and cooperation of economic sectors in investment, management and exploitation of small irrigation schemes in Mekong Delta 05-12-2013 » Research for proposal of scientific and technologic solutions for rural transport and irrigation system accommodating with village planning to serve the new rural construction in North Central region 05-12-2013 » Scientifically based research and proposal of socialization model in management and development of the on-farm irrigation system with the abolishment of irrigation service fee. 05-12-2013 » Construction of the participatory model in an active way to prevent, reduce the effects of disasters and adapt with the climate change. 05-12-2013 » Institutional support to improve the irrigation efficiency in Gia Binh pilot area of Bac Hưng Hai scheme Project 05-12-2013 » Study Tour Program on Agriculture Systems, Agro Tourism and Tourist Industry in Vietnam for the senior officials in Uva province in December 2011 29-10-2012 » Study Tour Program on Agriculture Systems, Agro Tourism and Tourist Industry in Vietnam for the senior officials in Uva province in December 2011 29-10-2012 » Process and cost for setting up and strengthening Water User Organization's operation in investment of hydraulic works 19-04-2012 » Process and cost for setting up and strengthening Water User Organization's operation in investment of hydraulic works 19-04-2012
The implementation of PIM strategic framework which is under the pressure of many levels and stakeholders is showing its inadequacies which need analyzing and evaluating for improvements in the future.

                                                                                Nguyễn Xuân Tiệp

                                                                               CPIM – CCWR / VNCOLD


I.  PIM development in Vietnam

1. Mechanism and policies as legal basis   for implementation

The state has many advocacies, regulations, policies and mechanisms which are reflected through different laws and by laws, Decree, Decisions and Circular guiding the implementation of PIM.

Although the legal framework is not adequate, yet pursuant to actual requirements and based on benefits of farmers and responsibility of local governments of all     levels, professional agencies, and consensus of farmers, the track and development of PIM have been evolved.

The reality confirmed: the concerns of local governments of all levels, the active participation of professional agency, high consensus of farmer etc. are the important legal basis for PIM implementation.

In the past, since the 60s, there are cooperative organizations or cooperative of all kinds in rural areas. In the early 80s, there are transfer models (decentralization) in Bac Giang (pumping station model), Ha tinh (intake model), Dac Lak (investment and management of reservoirs) and after 90s in Tuyên quang, Thái bình, Hải phòng, Đắc Lắk, Lao Cai etc. decentralization has been implemented. The formation of private model in irrigation management in Thanh hoá, Hà tĩnh, Đắc lắc, Đồng tháp was observed.

In most of Cuu Long Delta Provinces, farmers have proved their community role in irrigation participation (including construction) relating to secondary and tertiary canal. Farmers consider irrigation management as their own task without any decentralization. They themselves dredge canals or pump (or hire pumping) and divert water into their fields. The state only supports the costs relating to heaworks, main canal or creating water sources, realizing advocacy “people and government do together”.

However, during the development the “participatory irrigation management model” is under the impacts of many stakeholders. Therefore there should be adjustments, commitment and encouragement through favorable policies, mechanism and legal framework to subsidiary sustainable development of PIM models (having legal entity, empowerment, financial autonomy etc.)

Since 1995, through TA – 1968 and 1869 (ADB1), the necessity of compilation of “PIM strategy framework” and " Guidance on the establishment of WUOs” has been realized.  

Five years later, together with the consultation of different ministries, sector and international organizations (ADB, WB) and NGOs, MARD promulgated Circular No. 75 in December 2004 and PIM strategic framework and PIM roadmap in national scale.

The implementation of PIM strategic framework which is under the pressure of many levels and stakeholders is showing its inadequacies which need analyzing and evaluating for improvements in the future.

2.  Establishments of PIM strategic framework

2.1. Legal policy and framework:

+  Ministry of Agriculture And Rural Development

-         MARD has submitted Decree No. 140 for approval of the Government ( administrative violations)

-         Directing, supervising the implementation of PIM and IMT in Decree No.143

-         Issuing Circular No.75 " Guidance  on the establishment of WUO”

-         Consulting the issuance of   Circular No.11/2009/CIRCULAR-BTC amending Joint-Circular No. 90 /1997/TTLB-TC-NN dated 19/12/1997 between Ministry of Finance and MARD.

-         Issuing Circular No. 65 (12/10/2009) in replacement of Circular No. 06 (1998)

-         There is not any legal document guiding the implementation of PIM in the field of planning, designing, investment, management and exploitation of hydraulic works.

-         Issuing Circular No.40 (27/5/2011) stipulating regulations on training and building capacity of IMC staff and WUO members which are identified in the PIM roadmap.

-         Issuing Circular No. 56 (01/10/2010) mentioning economic contract relating to sole source selection, bidding, order package.

-         Issuing legal documents guiding the development of technical – economic norm ( 2891/QĐ-BNN-TL, ngày12/10/2009 )

-         The guidance plan for the PIM development in the provincial and district has not been prepared.

-         PIM strategic framework in Vietnam up to 2015 has not been completed, especially there is not any strategic regulation after the issuance of Decree No. 115

-         On-going reinforcement of VNPIM ( not yet completed in 2011)

-         There has not been any specific guidance document for the development of PIM implementation program during 2005 – 2010 and for PIM implementation in projects by provinces;

-         The evaluation of PIM has been integrated in overall assessment of exploitation and management of hydraulic works of IMCs. Therefore the evaluation quality is not sufficient and efficient.

+  Provincial People Committee  

-         Pursuant to PIM strategic framework, Ordinance, Decree 143 and Decree 115, PPCs have issued relevant legal documents on irrigation management decentralization and ISF.

-         Most of provinces (97%) have not established PIM network for the province

-         Many provinces have had regulated procedures and plans for IMT as stipulated by Decree No. 143 and Decree No. 115. Especially after Decree No. 65 all provinces have IMT plan to receive more funding.

-         All provinces issued legal documents on compensation plan and utilization of irrigation service fee compensated.

-         Technical-economic norms have been issued, yet many provinces (80 %) use internal norms.

-         Some other provinces as Tuyên Quang, Lào cai, Đắc Lắc have drawn experience lessons and proposed institutional options, yet  Đắc Lắc has not completed institutional improvement to adapt to its proposal.

-         There are only 2 provinces having PIM Steering Committees which are chaired by PPC Vice-Chairman.

2.2.   Financial issues

So far, there has not been any comprehensive and suitable policy for both organizations (IMC and WUOs) to ensure their financial autonomy, including financial sources for training and O&M. This has been regulated in Decree No. 115, Circular No. 65, No.11 and No.56, No. 40 etc.

2.3.   Regional and international cooperation 

There has been cooperation with international organizations of  ADB, WB, DANIDA, JICA, INPIM, NGOs) in the realization of PIM commitment in investment projects based on binding mechanism, technical assistance  and financial support (component A) in each project other than at national scale.   Especially there has not been coordination and information sharing with INPIM in the field of PIM

2.4.  Monitoring and evaluation

This is a necessary activity which should be done by all: (1) MARD; (2) international organizations, NGOs (3) provincial level. MARD does not have dedicated unit or staff for this mission (or full time). International organizations and NGOs   only implement PIM as required in the investment projects. There are only 2 provinces having PIM Steering Committees which are chaired by PPC Vice-Chairman.

II,   Comments on the implementation results of the PIM roadmap

2.1  Quantity

The quantity of works completed relating to the implementation of PIM roadmap is estimated at 70% on average, of which:

At ministerial level: 80%

At provincial level: 60%

2.2, Quality

+   Policies and institutions

At central level




Issued by











































































































































Provincial – local level

In order to implement PIM roadmap,  provinces have issued guidance documents on PIM implementation. Contents of these documents focus on ISF, decentralization of hydraulic works management. The objective of decentralization is to socialize irrigation management as a state advocacy for optimal exploitation of hydraulic works.

Regarding to the implementation of Decree No. 143 and Circular 75, although the propaganda and information dissemination is not effective, realizing benefits and obligations, during 2005 – 2007, many provinces (about 68%) have promulgated regulations on ISF (rate) and management decentralization of hydraulic works to farmers. However, many provinces have had decentralization policy even before 2004 such as Lào Cai (1999) Tuyên Quang (1996) Đắc Lắc (1996). After Decree No. 115 (2008) and Circular No. 65 of MARD (2009) relating to new ISF policy, almost all provinces issued decentralization decisions and regulations on ISF compensation rate and management of ISF compensation.

It is surveyed by CPIM during 2009 – 2011, about 70 % of provinces have promulgated official decentralization Decisions.  The remaining (30%) have proposed plan and submitted to PPC for official Decision (and as basis for request of ISF compensation, including Binh định, Lạng sơn, Quảng trị, Lào cai. Many other provinces issued relatively complete and synchronous documents (relating to the irrigation management decentralization) such as An giang, Thái bình, Bắc giang, Long An, Tuyên Quang …. 

2.3,  Problems, reasons and recommendations

+   PIM strategic framework

During the implementation of PIM strategic framework, the alternation of ISF policy (which is important to PIM development) also leads to both change to awareness and create inadequacies. However, the strategy has not been adjusted to adapt the practical condition which limits the effectiveness of the strategy itself.

During the compilation of PIM strategic framework, consultations have been carried out with many experts, organizations, sectors through international (regional) workshop (e.g. a workshop in Ha Long during 30/3 – 3/4/2004). Yet the official promulgation of this strategy neglects the inter-sectoral cooperation between Ministry of Finance, Planning and Investment and MARD (and others as Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Cooperative, Department of Basic Construction, Finance, CPO etc.). This is the reasons why responsibilities of these stakeholders (Ministries and Departments) are not committed relating to their support to investment, finance, training, disbursement etc. and other relevant policies. Moreover, the awareness of irrigation staff of PIM is limited. That is the reason why they cannot well fulfill their state management functions (relating to the proposing, promulgating of policies and mechanisms, viding guidance, monitoring and evaluation etc.). As a result, the implementation of PIM strategic framework is not as effective as desired.   

+  Guidance on the implementation of PIM development roadmap

Some documents have positive impacts on PIM development. However due to the contradictions between legal documents promulgated in different times or by different agencies. That is why the enforcement effectiveness of PIM related documents is not good.

-  Time of promulgation

Almost of PIM related documents have been issued during 2009-2011 (5-6 years after the promulgation of PIM strategic framework). These documents have met the requirements of provinces relating to necessary guidance on the implementation of legal documents of the Government.

However these legal documents have not had enough sanctions for PIM to ensure optimal enforcement, especially ones issued by some sector other than irrigation sector.

-  Contents of some legal documents and inadequacies:

Relating to PIM implementation, legal documents have not dealt with the characteristics of PIM development, leading to ineffective PIM implementation by localities.

After 7 years of PIM strategic framework, it is found that policies and management roles of institutions (government, state agencies) are significant to the success and sustainable development of PIM. Once the policy and institutions are not complete and lack of concerns of governments at all levels, PIM development still meet difficulties. 

The most important policy for the adjustment and decisive for the existence of PIM is the financial policy which is reflected in Decree No. 143 in the past and in Decree No. 115 at present and in other legal guidance documents. After 3 years of issuance of   Decree No. 115, with the promulgation of other guidance, the actual implementation is still difficult.

A.  Decree No. 115 (dated 14/11/2008):  

In order to reduce the financial burden on farmers, within one year, the Government has issued Decree No. 154 (in replacement of Decree No. 143 dated 11/8/2003) and Decree No. No. 115 (in replacement of Decree No. 154) stipulating ISF abolishment for agriculture production of farmers. These are important policies having positive impacts on the livelihood of farmers, contributing to agriculture and rural development in general and the management and experience of hydraulic works. These policies are keys to success of PIM strategic framework and to the existence and development of IMCs and WUOs.

It is surveyed and evaluated that following achievements have been gained after 3 years of implementation of Decree No. 115:

For farmers:

-         Part of agriculture related cost has been reduced thanks to ISF abolishment, in equivalent to 3-10 % of total production cost which help improve the living standards of farmers. Thanks to this, farmers will spend more on on-farm irrigation service.

>  Thanks to ISF abolishment, farmers receive better service from IMC. The productivity is improved, crop yield stable, contributing to better income of farmers and reduced poverty.

>  Irrigation management Company

-  Availability of O&M cost, limiting the degradation of structures, saving water, improving irrigation quality, increasing productivity and yield.

-  Reducing labor to collect ISF as before to increase the labor on O&M activities to ensure safer operation of hydraulic works.

-   The management mechanism of the IMC can be better arranged and organized for higher performance.

-   The performance of the IMC is better evaluated thought the correct irrigated area (as the irrigated area is not concealed by WUOs)

>  WUOs

-  Having more funding for O&M activities. On-farm irrigation structures are better maintained, repaired or dredged to ensure smooth and timely water delivery, contributing to improved productivity and yield.

-   WUOs can provide better irrigation service to farmers and to be more creditable to its members.

-  Farmers are willing to pay higher on-farm irrigation fee (some farmers even pay in advance).

-  WUOs are more financially autonomous to invest in other services. Farmers can monitor and supervise the operation of WUOs.

-  The relation between IMC and WUO is better (for mutual benefit)

Difficulties and problems during the implementation of Decree No. 115:

+ Awareness: 

-         Farmers in some provinces think that abolishment of ISF means including on-farm irrigation fee. That is why they do not pay on-farm irrigation fee to WUOs. WUOs then meet difficulties in their operation or even cease their operation (the case of 25 WUOs as Agriculture cooperatives of Phù cát district of Bình đinh in 2010 )

-         Both WUO members and staff of IMCs do not work on buyer and user basis. They think even if they do not perform well they are still paid by the Government from ISF compensation. 

-         Some localities do not provide enough guidance on the implementation of ISF policy or PIM strategy as they do not realize their importance.

-         Not all local governments pay enough attention on the effective operation of IMC or WUOs.

+  Some conflicts and overlaps:

Some difference between Decree No. 115 and Decree No. 143.

The difference between these two Decrees have not been fully realized leading to difficult implementation.

The concepts of ISF collection from farmers (subsided with 50-60%) and “head intake” (depending on different system) in Decree No. 143 is different from the ISF compensation rate in Decree No. 115.  So “head intake” is not necessary. It is impossible to use the subsided ISF and price escalation to decide on the ISF compensation rate in 115.

It is confirmed that the ISF compensation rate in 115 has no basis for identification. That is why this ISF compensation rate cannot be used as basis for the implementation of Circular 11 and 56.

The ISF compensation rate in Decree No. 115 is not appropriate :

The ISF collection rate in Decree No. 143 (even plus price escalation) is not   appropriate so their use in other policies is not proper (not based on the spending norm of IMCs and WUOs).    

Due to price escalation, the ISF compensation rate in accordance with Decree No. 115 cannot cover all necessary costs of most of IMCs and WUOs.

Most of IMCs have adjusted expenditures within the ISF compensation which favor the salary payment. However the salary rate has increased recently by 3-5% and remuneration payment makes up 40-60 % of total cost. That is why other expenditures have been reduced, especially ones of small repairs. In the long term, this will affect the durability of hydraulic structures. Especially for electricity pumping system when electricity price increases rapidly and significantly. There will no more budget for maintenance, repairing and replacement of equipment of electricity pumping stations, not mentioning repairing canals and hydraulic works (the electricity system of South Nghệ an spend 60% on salary, 28% on electricity, the remaining 12 % will not be able to cover remaining demands). Although the salary payment of gravity system is also high (60%), the management organizations still accept because the dredging can be delayed for several seasons.

As the compensation rate cannot meet the expense requirements of electricity, some electricity pumping stations are expected to return to the management of IMC   as WUOs cannot afford their operation.

In 2010 some enterprises pay high salary, resulting in low maintenance and repair cost (Thanh Hoa): remuneration 53.3%, maintenance and repair 4.5 % , Nam Thạch Hãn ( Quảng trị ) remuneration 56.5% , maintenance and repair 9.4%,  Trà Cấu    ( Quảng ngãi ) remuneration 56%, maintenance and repair 13%

Compensation rate is not equitable relating to structures invested by different sources of funding. This is a difficulty for management decentralization and  irrigation management transfer:

> WUOs managing systems invested by the state (independent system and structures belong to systems managed by IMC) are well compensated with ISF   for their effective operation.

> WUOs managing systems invested by themselves are not compensated with ISF  for their effective operation. Without on-farm ISF, their operation would be impossible (this happens in many provinces).

That is why many IMCs do not want to transfer hydraulic works to the management of WUOs and  WUOs wish to operate the state invested structures except for electricity pumping stations.

The unreasonable aspects relating to ISF compensation rate and ISF beneficiaries are hindering the sustainable development of WUOs.

Through the implementation results of Decree No. 115 in some mountainous areas (management of small and independent structures), it is seen that the provision of ISF compensation to WUOs in a transparent manner will encourage farmers to invest in O&M activities of hydraulic works. If the farmers are aware they will receive some amount of ISF compensation, they are willing to pay in advance in the O&M of hydraulic works. That means farmer know they will be directly financed , yet at low rate, and indirectly through trainings. Thanks to this Decree costs for operation of WUO are ensured and the development of WUOs will meet PIM criteria.

 For private sector:

Decree No. 115 does not reflect the encouragement of private sector to involve in the management of hydraulic works for there is no financial support policy for individual (private enterprise).

B.  Circular No. 65 (dated 12 October 2009 )               

MARD issued Circular No. 65 guiding the implementation of Decree No. 115 in replacement of Circular 06 (3/9/1998), and mentioned the contents of related documents (No. 95, 151, 256, 115, 11..). Therefore, the scope of application is too broad.

This Circular focuses on the implementation of Decree No. 115. The Circular also pressed the decentralization (and irrigation management transfer), the ISF compensation rate and on-farm irrigation fee collection. This is such an important aspect to PIM development.

The Circular identified the location of “Head intake”. This is a location serving as a basis for the identification of ISF rate in Decree No. 143 and the responsibility allocation point (decentralization criteria) in Decree No. 115 for ISF compensation. After this location, the farmers have to pay on-farm irrigation fee. As mentioned above, “Head intake” in Decree No. 143 is far different from one in Decree No. 115 which causes difficult to the allocation of this “Head intake” (relating to ISF compensation). However, for effective IMT, the identification of “Head intake” is quite significant and decisive to successful PIM strategy implementation.

Other guidance documents as    Circulars No. 40, 56, 11, 2891 all depend on Decree No. 115 and they failed to deal with feasible financial sources for implementation without depending on state budget or requesting subsidy.

Some recommendations

1.  Organization of propaganda, training, and information dissemination to enhance awareness of staff (especially policy makers) and farmers on PIM; identification of obligations and rights relating to PIM implementation.

2.  Agreeing on concepts and terminologies in legal documents: water user organizations, funding,  ISF compensation, ISF exemption etc.

3.   Supporting MARD with the state management and provision of guidance on PIM. At ministrial level, there should be a dedicated unit on PIM (VNPIM office in formation decision of General Department of Water resources) who carry out integrated and effective management of PIM to bring into full paly the consultation and assistance role of international organizations, NGOs in the development of PIM model, capacity building of water users in hydraulic works management.

4.  Adjusting strategic framework to suit with current situation (Decree No. 115, New Rural Area Program) integrating rural development programs.

5. Directing provinces with the development of PIM strategic framework as basis for PIM implementation. Each province should have one dedicated unit who is responsible for PIM and supporting PPC with state management function for PIM.

6.  Completion of PIM mechanisms and relevant policies to create highest legal basis for PIM implementation. Promulgation of Circulars relating to providing PIM guidance in planning and design of hydraulic works, basic construction for effective management and exploitation of hydraulic works.

7.  Guiding the irrigation management decentralization program in order to bring the role of water users into full play so that they can participate in the management of hydraulic works at larger scale (Circular No.65 and Decree No. 143)

8.  Study and pilot implementation of private sector involving in management and exploitation of hydraulic works

9.  Suggesting MARD to request the Government to amend contents of Decree No. 115 as follows:

-  Based on the rational cost norm to identify ISF compensation rate payable to IMC for different hydraulic works (pumping station, reservoir, intakes) and for different scale (large, small, medium), taking into account the market price escalation. This norm should take into account the costs of training, establishment of WUOs.    

-  Studying the subjects for ISF exemption and abolishment to ensure equitability for all farmers in their agriculture production who are using water from hydraulic structures of different financial sources. This is to encourage the effective role of WUOs.

10.  Regular organization of conferences and meetings with the participation of stakeholders (especially of international organizations) to exchange experiences and draw lessons on PIM implementation. This is to make sure sustainable development of PIM rather than only during project time.                                



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