Market-based irrigation service pricing mechanism would be applied to encourage the economical and efficient use of water resources, according to a draft Law on Irrigation, recently released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the draft law proposes replacing irrigation charge by irrigation service price to comply with the 2015 Law on Charges and Fees which has no provision on irrigation charge.
|Organizations and individuals using water for irrigating food crops and salt making would not be required to pay irrigation service prices__Photo: VNA|
The application of the pricing mechanism would change people’s perception of irrigation, from “serving” to “service”, considering water as a commodity which needs to be used efficiently and economically. It would also encourage organizations and individuals to invest in the irrigation sector, Cuong said.
The future regulation says that the Government would set out the price frame for irrigation service provision, and irrigation service prices of irrigation works built with state budget funds.
For irrigation works invested by other funding sources, based on the prescribed price frame, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and provincial-level People’s Committees would decide on specific service prices under their management.
As per Article 38 of the draft law, organizations and individuals using water for irrigating food crops and salt making would not be required to pay irrigation service prices, while poor households, households living just above the poverty line, families entitled to preferential treatment policies, ethnic minority people, and people living in mountainous areas, on islands and in areas with extremely difficult socio-economic conditions would be exempt from paying public-utility irrigation service prices.
Organizations and individuals that use water for irrigation of vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, pharmaceutical plants, fruit trees, industrial crops and forest plants, and for fishery and animal husbandry activities would be entitled to irrigation service price reduction.
The draft law also prescribes stricter requirements on investment in irrigation works. Specifically, irrigation work investors would have to comply with the laws on investment, construction, water resource as well as approved master plans of localities; take measures to reduce water loss and reduce land areas for building irrigation works.
At the seventh session of the 14th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on February 20, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said that the draft Law on Irrigation must avoid overlapping with the draft Law on Planning which already devoted an article on irrigation planning.
Meanwhile, NA Vice Chairman Do Ba Ty suggests the drafter associate irrigation systems with the national defense and security activities at every level which is not mentioned in the draft law.
The law on irrigation is drafted based on the 2001 Ordinance on Exploitation and Protection of Irrigation Works, and available for public comments at www.mard.gov.vn. - (VLLF)