Mekong Delta makes efforts to adapt with drought, salinity

Many localities have to plan building of saltwater-prevention dams and dykes since the middle of February amid salinity is currently getting more serious in the interior fields of the Mekong Delta. 

Saltwater-prevention dams and dykes have been built since the middle of February. (Photo: Kien Van)

Saltwater-prevention dams and dykes have been built since the middle of February. (Photo: Kien Van)

Besides, salinity-hit- provinces have urgently implemented many solutions to conserve and utilize freshwater for domestic use and agricultural purposes.
*Urgently preventing flow-line saltwater 

Hon Dat District of Kien Giang Province is currently a hot- spot of saltwater intrusion with many waterless rice crops.

Therefore, farmers had to get water from the salinity-hit- canals went toward irrigation purpose. 

Currently, not only water level at interior field stations of Kien Giang province is desperately reduced but also saltwater is intruding deeper and earlier than expected.

Kien Giang Province built water-inflated temporary dams, changed waterway traffic on Ong Hien Canal to prevent the saline intrusion hitting Long Xuyen Quadrangle, said Director of Agriculture and Rural Development Department of Kien Giang Province Nguyen Van Tam.

The large-scale agricultural production areas such as Ca Mau Peninsula, Long Xuyen Quadrangle, South Mang Thit, Phung Hiep, etc have closed hundreds of sluices and dams to prevent salinity.

In Ben Tre Province, the Management Board of Agricultural Projects handed over 21 saltwater-prevention sluices to the Ben Tre Irrigation Works Exploitation Company for its operation, constructed a temporary dam to prevent salinity on Ba Lai River in Chau Thanh District.

In addition, the province built dams behind Ben Tre College, Song Ma Dam and dredged the Ma River to limit saline intrusion. 

The salinity level outside the Ma River is between 4 ‰ -5 ‰, inside is over 2 ‰.

According to Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tien Giang Province Le Van Huong, drought was extreme in combination with high level of salinity in recent days so the province decided to build a steel dam on Nguyen Tan Thanh Canal to conserve running water for the western part of My Tho City and the eastern part of the province with more than 800,000 households, and contribute to save freshwater for Tan Phuoc District and the neighboring province of Long An. 
It is predicted that the tidal wave at the end of March will be also the most peak salinity tide of the year. 

* Creativity and adaptability

Based on the previous prediction of extreme drought and salinity situation, the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have continuously directed and surveyed the situation in the Mekong Delta from the end of last year and the beginning of the year.

The Mekong Delta provinces have proactively speeded up saltwater-prevention construction progress as well as finishing major saltwater-prevention works. 

Typically, Vinh Long Province completed Vung Liem saltwater-prevention sluice at the beginning of 2020 which contributed to promptly prevent saline intrusion and save freshwater for 81,000 hectares of rice cultivations. 

Earlier, at the working with provincial leaders, Standing Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh highly appreciated the early completion of this project.

Mr. Truong Hoa Binh emphasized that this project was an important and meaningful infrastructure linking between Vinh Long and Tra Vinh provinces; therefore it was necessary to promote solutions to adapt with climate change and the locality needed to quickly improve the irrigation system for farmers.

In the province of Bac Lieu, Ninh Quoi boat sluice construction project in Hong Dan District was basically completed and put into operation earlier 13 months as expected which would promptly cope with salt drought in the dry season of 2020 and solve the harmonization of water resources for production between fresh and saline water ecosystems of people in the region, especially in the two provinces of Bac Lieu and Soc Trang.

By Cao Phong – Dang Nguyen- Tin Huy - Translated by Huyen Huong

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