Falling Hồng river water levels hurting VN agriculture

Vietnam News Update: March, 25/2017 – 09:00

A section of the Hồng (Red) River running under Hà Nội’s Long Biên Bridge has dried up. The average water level of the river had dropped remarkably in recent years, affecting both agricultural production and the daily lives of local residents.— VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng

Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – The average water level of many parts of the Hồng (Red) river has remarkably reduced in recent years, badly affecting agricultural production and the living conditions of residents in the northern lowland and midland areas.

The level in some sections is two metres lower than the previous 20 years. The level in some parts reached the lowest point of 2.2m, causing difficulties for irrigation work, said experts at a conference held in Hà Nội on Wednesday to assess the impact of lower Hồng River water levels and to discuss solutions.

The lower level makes it hard for pumping stations to provide water for agricultural production.

According to Hà Đức Trung, Deputy Director of the Hà Nội’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, irrigation systems along the river were built a long time ago, when the water level was still high. But now many pumping stations cannot operate because the water is too low. Phù Sa pumping station in Hà Nội’s Sơn Tây Commune, for example, was designed to meet water levels of 5.2m but the water level of Hồng River flowing through the commune now only reaches 4.8m.

To ensure enough water for 630,000ha of rice of 12 localities in the midland and lowland areas, the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development has annually co-operated with the Electricity of Việt Nam to take water from hydropower reservoirs as a supplement.

Lower water levels have not only deprived farmlands but also caused problems with waterway transport.

Experts at the conference said there are two main reasons leading to the reduction of the water level, including depression of the river bottom and excessive sand exploitation.

As estimated, the release of around 5 billion cu.m of water for the winter-spring crops in 20 days has impacted the depression of the river bottom. Meanwhile, around 33 million cu.m of sand is exploited each year, lowering the river-bed and decreasing the water level.

The low rainfall in the northern region in recent years has worsened the problem, they said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoàng Văn Thắng said the reduction of the water level of Hồng river over the past years badly affected agricultural production and daily activities of residents.

The Red River passes through Hà Nội and 25 other provinces in the north with a population of 26 million people and total agricultural area of nearly 1.1 million hectares.

Thắng urged the Việt Nam Academy for Water Resources to promptly review the situation, particularly the depression of the river bottom and sand exploitation to report to the Government and relevant ministries to have appropriate solutions.

Relevant agencies were assigned to take measures such as using sand to raise the river bottom to help increase the water level and actively prepare plans to supply enough water for agricultural production and daily activities of local residents, he said.

Professor Hà Văn Khối, former lecturer of the Hà Nội-based University of Water Resources, said one important measure would be to better manage the operation of reservoirs upstream to reduce the level of river bed erosion.

Other participants said the river flow changes should be taken into consideration. Irrigation works, pumping stations and dam systems in Hà Nội no longer meet the current situation of the Hồng river. The irrigation system was downgraded as many pumping machines were built since 1960 and reached about 70 per cent of their performance.

They pointed to the need to build new facilities or upgrade existing ones to make them operate more effectively.- VNS

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This entry was posted in Biến đổi khí hậu - Climate change and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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