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Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces struggling with saltwater intrusion

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces struggling with saltwater intrusion

Saturday, February 18, 2023, 12:00 GMT+7
Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces struggling with saltwater intrusion
A farmer rides a boat along a canal in Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre

Provinces in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have started taking various measures to tackle saltwater intrusion and minimize its effect on daily life and production.

The current situation of saltwater intrusion is equivalent to that in the dry season of last year, Pham Tan Dao, head of the irrigation department in Soc Trang Province, said on Thursday.

The risks of drought, water scarcity, and saltwater intrusion in the coming months are expected to be very high, Dao continued.

The Soc Trang agricultural sector has required relevant units to conduct salinity monitoring at key sluices and operate the system in a timely manner.

It also encouraged farmers to save water, make necessary adjustments to their farming schedule, and stock water for necessary use.

"We are closely monitoring water resources in rivers and canals to properly regulate the water supply system for daily activities and production of local residents.”

Pham Van Thieu, chairman of the People’s Committee of Bac Lieu Province, said that he had directed competent authorities to implement drought and saltwater intrusion prevention measures, including boosting water regulation and collecting water samples.

Aside from drought and saltwater intrusion, unseasonal rains can also impact the local salt production and agricultural activities.

In Kien Giang, saltwater has already penetrated deeply into canals, rivers, and even crop fields, prompting local authorities to close culverts and dams to protect local crops.

In An Bien District, residents took advantage of the situation by pumping saltwater into their fields to facilitate their shrimp farming.

In order to prevent further saltwater intrusion, the provincial irrigation department has been monitoring the weather as well as operating the Cai Lon - Cai Be and Xeo Ro sewers and Hon Dat - Kien Luong coastal culvert system.

The unit also cooperates with local authorities to renovate sluice gates to actively control water resources, prevent salinity, store fresh water, and ensure safety for the planting and harvesting of the winter-spring rice crop.

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