The Secretariat of the Mekong River Commission has called on the six countries along the Mekong to urgently solve the problems of low flows in the region.
Saltwater intrusion and drought in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh caused a total damage of VND1 trillion (US$43 million) to agricultural production in the 2019-20 dry season.
Farmers in Dong Thap Province’s Hong Ngu District will not grow the autumn-winter rice crop, the year’s third, on more than 9,000ha and will instead release floodwaters into their fields to fertilise the soil and destroy pathogens and pests.
This year’s flood season in the Mekong Delta is likely to arrive late and if there is insufficient rain in the months to come, drought and saltwater intrusion may plague the region again during the next dry season, experts have warned.
The theme of the 2020 Desertification and Drought Day of Vietnam is ‘consumption and land’, which emphasises solutions and models that help mitigate drought.
Mekong Delta provinces have experienced the most severe drought and saline intrusion ever in the dry season 2019-2020 but the negative impacts on agriculture production and daily life were minimised significantly thanks to effective measures,
Extreme low flows and extensive flooding of different communities along the Mekong River last year and an increasing number of droughts that have occurred in many parts of the region in recent years
Recent research from experts at the German Foundation for Science and Politics (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik - SWP) highlighted shortcomings in managing the Mekong River’s water resources.
To ensure rural residents have access to fresh water in the 2021-2025 period, localities in the Mekong Delta will require an investment of VND5 trillion.
The south-central region is estimated to have 51,000 – 70,000ha of farmlands facing a water shortage and a temporary halt to cultivation until there is rain or farmers switch to drought-resistant crops, according to the Department of Irrigation.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked authorities in the central and Central Highlands regions to take action to deal with the prolonged heat wave, drought and saltwater intrusion.
Many people in the central province of Gia Lai are risking their life digging for wells without proper equipment as drought continues.