Mekong Delta worries about drought, saltwater instruction in next dry season

Although the Mekong Delta officially entered this year’s rainy and stormy season but small amplitude of floods made local people worry about drought-related natural hazards for the dry season of 2020-2021.
People in Ben Tre province use large- sized plastic bags to store fresh water
People in Ben Tre province use large- sized plastic bags to store fresh water

It is expected that the Mekong Delta would be able to face an extreme dry season of 2020-2021, notably rainfall in the Mekong river basin will be lower than average for many years by 30 to 40 percent. Lower normal-flow regime of the Mekong basin system is also warned. 

Cambodia's great lake Tonle Sap, where is well-known as the “beating heart of the Mekong” to discharge water source for Mekong Delta during dry seasonable months, is forecast to store up nearly 9 billion meters cubic of water, being lower than average in the same period of many years. 

Earlier, the Prime Minister had issued a Directive on proactively taking preventive measures against risks of long-lasting drought, water shortage and saltwater intrusion in the dry season of 2020-2021 across the Mekong Delta. 

After that, a meeting between Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders of the Mekong Delta provinces had taken place in Tien Giang Province to discuss and issue measures and necessary solutions to actively deal with the risks of drought and saltwater intrusion ahead.

The recent dry season prolonged six months, resulting in lack of water and slight saltwater intrusion for lakes.

At the moment, the functional units are applying drastically solution of dredging and injecting water into the mud layer to reduce the amount of accumulated salinity.

Hau Giang is the most affected Mekong Delta province by saltwater intrusion because saline water enters the province from both East and West Sea directions.

According to Deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hau Giang Province Truong Canh Tuyen, the local authorities have urged construction units to finish and put into 50- hectare scale freshwater reservoirs with their capacity of 1,2 million meters cubic in Vi Thuy District and the second phase dyke system project to prevent from saltwater intrusion into the operation at the end of the year.

Additionally, the province has also provided technical equipment to districts to monitor salinity. 

Ben Tre Province is planning to build Lac Dia freshwater reservoir in Ba Tri District. 

Currently, some places in the Mekong Delta are harvesting autumn-winter rice cultivation without opening drains to store water. 

Many scientists recommended the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the upstream Mekong river’s provinces should resolutely delete or limit the production of autumn-winter rice crop in the Long Xuyen Quadrangle and Dong Thap Muoi instead of storing freshwater during food, storm season for the dry season. 

The solution is considered as a long-term strategic for the Mekong Delta.

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