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04/01/2020 - 09:10

Preventing droughts and saltwater intrusion in Mekong Delta in 2019 – 2020 dry season

Saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta region has occurred earlier than in 2015 with a severe level. It will continue to seriously affect agricultural production and people's lives.

Deputy Prime Minister - Trinh Dinh Dung speaks at the conference

On January 3, in Ben Tre city, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People's Committee of Ben Tre province organized a conference on prevention of the drought and saltwater intrusion to ensure agricultural production and people's lives in Mekong Delta area in the 2019 - 2020 dry season.

Deputy Prime Minister - Trinh Dinh Dung; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development - Nguyen Xuan Cuong; representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; leaders of provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta; domestic and foreign scientists attended the conference.

Vice Chairman of Long An provincial People's Committee - Pham Van Canh and Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development - Nguyen Chi Thien attended the conference.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the rainy season in the Mekong river in 2019 appears late compared to the average of many years with a short duration and low flow. The flow to the Mekong Delta from the beginning of the dry season till now has decreased rapidly. It is falling to a very low level compared to the average of many years. The saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta region has occurred earlier than in 2015 with a severe level. It will continue to seriously affect agricultural production and people's lives.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development - Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong mentions difficulties and challenges in agricultural production due to the impact of drought and saltwater intrusion

Currently, the saltwater intrusion has occurred at an unexpectedly high level from December 11-13, 2019; the salinity boundary is 4g per liter in the estuaries of the Mekong river, reaching a maximum of 57 kilometers on the Ham Luong river and 17 kilometers higher than the same period in 2015. The saltwater intrusion has seriously affected the intake of irrigation works.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta are earlier, deeper and more severe than the average of many years; in some periods, the saline boundary on the rivers could enter similarly with the 2015-2016 dry season.

According to the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the saltwater intrusion will be high during high tide; if it is combined with strong winds from the East, it can increase dramatically in a short time. The saltwater intrusion levels may vary depending on the discharge of the hydropower reservoirs on the Mekong river.

Deputy Prime Minister - Trinh Dinh Dung discussed with local leaders on prevention of drought and saltwater intrusion outside the conference

In addition, the areas at risk of the impacts of the drought and saltwater intrusion are similar to that in 2015-2016, affecting 10 out of 13 Mekong Delta provinces, including Long An (8 out of 15 units), Tien Giang (8 out of 11 units), Ben Tre (9 out of 9 units), Tra Vinh (8 out of 8 units), Vinh Long (4 out of 8 units), Soc Trang (7 out of 11 units), Bac Lieu (7 out of 7 units), Hau Giang (4 out of 8 units), Ca Mau (9 out of 9 units) and Kien Giang (10 out of 15 units).

 Although the saltwater intrusion in 2019-2020 may be similar to 2015-2016, the risk of damage to rice production will be significantly reduced due to early warning. Besides, many rice areas have been changed seasonal schedules; new irrigation works have been invested to actively control the saltwater intrusion.

The area of fruit trees in the area at risk of the drought, saltwater intrusion is about 136,000 hectares, equaling 39.1 percent of the total area of fruit trees in the region. Long An province has about 12,900 hectares at risk of being affected. In addition, the drought and saltwater intrusion also affect the supply of water for people.

Accordingly, since June 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has continuously organized monitoring and forecasting of water resources and saltwater intrusion to actively direct the response. Currently, the Ministry also implements many projects to proactively control the saltwater intrusion.

Some products are displayed and introduced at the conference

At the conference, representatives of 13 provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta discussed and proposed solutions to the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to proactively and minimize the damage caused by the drought and saltwater intrusion.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development requests the chairmen of the People's Committees of the provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta region to seriously implement the directions of the Government, the Prime Minister, relevant ministries and branches to strengthen the prevention of the drought, water shortage and saltwater intrusion in the 2019-2020 dry season; to actively allocate local budgets and socialized capital sources to urgently implement measures to prevent the drought, water shortage and saltwater intrusion.

Deputy Prime Minister - Trinh Dinh Dung requires localities to proactively respond to drought and salt water intrusion

Deputy Prime Minister - Trinh Dinh Dung requested localities to focus on taking care of people's lives, preventing the water shortage. Local authorities should take the initiative in providing water solutions for people. Local leaders have to be responsible when the water shortage happens. In urgent cases, localities must use means to supply water to people.

Besides, it is necessary to focus on providing enough water for agricultural production. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should actively coordinate with each locality to study and adjust the crop and plant varieties to suit the conditions of each place; focus on strengthening the dike system to limit the effects of the saltwater intrusion, dredging the canal system and storing fresh water for production. The construction solutions need to be implemented as scheduled to be put into use soon.

In addition, ministries, branches and localities should promote international cooperation to share information, control and use water resources most effectively. Particularly, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should improve the quality of forecasting to accurately forecast the weather, water sources and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta region to support localities to actively implement effective drought and saltwater prevention.

In the long term, the Mekong Delta region should continue strictly implementing the Government's Resolution 120 on sustainable development of Mekong Delta adaptation to climate change, Deputy Prime Minister - Trinh Dinh Dung emphasized./.

By Kien Dinh - Translated by Pham Ngan

Source: http://baolongan.vn/phong-chong-han-man-bao-dam-san-xuat-nong-nghiep-va-dan-sinh-khu-vuc-dong-bang-song-cuu-long-mua-kh-a88197.html

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