Engaging with our suppliersand Vietnamese government agencies, our project was called ‘Vietnam to produce more coffee with less water – towards a reduction of the blue water footprint in coffee production’.
As part of the project, a deep hydrogeological study was conducted in Dak Lak province in 2015 to understand the risks and opportunities related to groundwater resources and their use. The good news is that the study didn’t observe any long-term declining groundwater level trends. The observed decline was caused by current irrigation practices creating excess irrigation water, which remains trapped in the soil during the dry season. As a result, it is no longer available for household or agriculture use. These water-scarce hotspots are concentrated in the higher altitudes of Dak Lak’s plateau.
These insights have helped us plan next steps for the region:
- Implement better irrigation practices in smallholder coffee farmers.
- Implement integrated water management practices within the coffee growers’ communities at catchment level.
- Monitor, at catchment level and in real time, the consequences of changing irrigation practices – and adjust field practices if necessary.
- Communicate the project’s achievements and roll out the key lessons of this project to other regions in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
We have also contributed to training materials that will help farmers better manage irrigation on their farms. Additionally, we developed a smartphone app – WeGap –that offers farming tips based on weather forecasting and allows farmers to manage their crops with the help of updated, reliable data. Launched in December 2018, the app has already had more than 100 downloads.