Mekong Delta urged to store fresh water for 2017 dry season

Last update 08:15 | 06/02/2017
VietNamNet Bridge – The dry season in 2017 is expected to be less severe than in 2016, but Mekong Delta will still face a lack of fresh water and saline intrusion, scientists say.

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Localities in Mekong Delta are now taking initiative in storing water and cooperating with each other in exploiting water sources, getting ready to cope with drought and saline intrusion.

According to the Central Center for Hydrometeorology Forecasting, the 2016-2017 dry season is likely to end later than usual. It said the drought would be less severe than in 2015-2016, while the water level on Mekong River would be low and influenced by tides.

The 2016-2017 dry season will likely end later than the average of many years, drought is less severe than in 2015-2016, and the water level in the Mekong River is low and influenced by tides.

From December 2016 to February 2017, the rainfall decreases as the dry season begins. The rainfall may be 15-30 percent higher in January and February than the same period of the previous years because of unseasonable rain.

Ben Tre province was one of the hardest hit from saline intrusion in the previous dry season. According to the provincial Hydrometeorology Center, the 4 percent saline water has intruded into estuaries since early January by 18-28 kilometers.

The highest saline level in 2017 season is forecast to come and last until the end of February or early March. It would be lower than that in 2016, but higher than the average level in recent years.

Ben Tre province was one of the hardest hit from saline intrusion in the previous dry season. According to the provincial Hydrometeorology Center, the 4 percent saline water has intruded into estuaries since early January by 18-28 kilometers. 

Kien Giang authorities have warned that drought and salinity are foreseeable because of climate change and the low flood peak in 2016. If so, rice crops would be under threat.

Lam Hoang Hai from An Minh district of Kien Giang said his 2.7 hectares of winter-spring rice fields have suffered from drought and saline intrusion.

Ben Tre Provincial Secretary Vo Thanh Hao has called on people to begin storing fresh water for use when necessary.

In Kien Giang province, Nguyen Van Tam, director of the provincial agriculture department, said the local authorities have released two decisions approving the project on controlling saline intrusion and storing fresh water to serve the daily life and agriculture in 2016-2020 and a plan on developing shrimp farming in Long Xuyen Quadrangle and U Minh Thuong Area by 2020.

These projects aim to improve the efficiency of irrigation systems so as to control saline intrusion by 2020, and provide sufficient water to 800,000 hectares of rice and 4,000 hectares of other crops.

According to Le Anh Tuan from Climate Change Research Institute, locals in Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Ca Mau and Kien Giang can store rainwater because of the high rainfall there.

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Thanh Mai

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