return icon

Mekong water diplomacy vital

Dr Le Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Research Institute for Climate Change at Can Tho University, speaks to Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper about the negative impact of climate change.

VietNamNet Bridge – Dr Le Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Research Institute for Climate Change at Can Tho University, speaks to Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper about the negative impact of climate change.


A sea dyke system in Ca Mau Province. — Photo

Do you anticipate that in 2017 the Mekong Delta region will face a drought as severe as last year’s?

In my opinion, the weather in the dry season this year will not be as severe as that of last year. Of course, the region will still suffer the problem of fresh water shortage and salt water intrusion because the rainfall last year was low. That’s why right now the local government should seek measures to mitigate the negative impact for farmers.

Do you think such natural phenomena have become a natural cycle in the Mekong Delta?

Droughts have been occurring in the Mekong for years. The construction of many hydro-electric power plants on the river has resulted in scarcity of fresh water in the lower Mekong Delta. The reduction of alluvial soil at hydro dams has also had negative impacts on the quality of the fresh water at the lower end. In my opinion, these are problems that need proper attention from local authorities.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice were damaged and million of people lacked fresh water. What should we do now to limit those negative impacts?

Water shortage in the dry season will undoubtedly have severe negative consequences for agricultural production and the supply of fresh water to the population. To cope with the shortage of fresh water, we need synchronous measures – both long-term and short-term, including rain water storage and canal dredging. At the same time, we should encourage people to save fresh water in their daily use. We should recommend that farmers switch to crops that can stand drought and salt water.

In my opinion, there are indications of surplus rice production in the Mekong Delta. So in the context of severe drought and salination, it is imperative for authorities to consider reducing the rice growing areas in coastal provinces and rezoning the lands for cultivation of other crops. These two activities must be based on the available water resources in each locality.

Viet Nam must also pursue diplomatic measures with countries in the upper regions of the Mekong Delta in order to ensure the equal sharing of water benefits.

Climate change has also made much cultivated land barren and led to migration. How should we solve these two problems?

Water shortage, natural calamities, climate change and sea level rise, coupled with market challenges and social changes, have led to the problem of migration. This problem cannot be solved overnight. For the immediate and long-term future we need specific solutions to address the livelihoods of the local population.

First of all, we must identify who are the affected people and evaluate their level of vulnerability. We should find plant species or livestock that can stand the climate and evaluate their vulnerability. In addition, we should raise people’s awareness of the need to protect the environment.

All in all, in my opinion, we need a change in the rural development policy, regional linkage in production and livelihood diversification. In addition, there should be policies to support rural working people to improve their general knowledge and occupational skills. However, the most important element is to maintain a clean environment and not to deplete the rich natural resources.

Projections show that many regions in the Mekong Delta may soon be under water. Should we issue warnings to people living in these areas to migrate to higher ground?

The Government has already devised measures to cope with the problem of rising sea levels, but these will take years to implement due to the shortage of funding, human resources and a workable strategy.

In addition, it is imperative to develop different scenarios or projects on climate change with neighbouring countries.

Besides issuing warnings and raising awareness among residents and authorities to the negative impact of climate change in the Mekong Delta region, we should also think of developing plans for safe and sustainable re-settlement of those affected by rising sea levels.



The best September photos on VietNamNet

Hot air balloons with the Vietnamese national flag of 1,800m2 on the banks of the Saigon River, Typhoon Noru making landfall in Quang Nam Province, the roofs of many houses being blown away...

BSR to expand Dung Quat Oil Refinery

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has asked Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical JSC (BSR) to clarify some issues related to its project on expanding Dung Quat Oil Refinery.

Dutch conductor to lead concert at Opera House

Conductor Leon Bosch from the Netherlands will lead a concert featuring masterpieces by European composers at the HCM City Opera House on Saturday, October 8.

‘578’ to represent Vietnam at Oscars

An action film starring Miss Universe Vietnam 2018, H'hen Niê, 578: Phát Đạn Của Kẻ Điên (578: Magnum), has been selected as Vietnamese representative at the 95th Oscars, 2023.

USD surges to VND24,000, US$1.7 billion withdrawn from circulation

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) withdrew nearly VND41 trillion ($1.7 billion) through open market operations as the US dollar rose to over VND24,000 on September 26-30, 2022.

HCM City to build a series of new traffic projects

HCM City is speeding up procedures to start the construction of key traffic works at gateways by the end of the year, according to HCM City's Department of Transport.

Burning garbage in Hanoi threatens residents' health, property

There have been consecutive fires caused by people's poor awareness, who were burning garbage and straw in residential areas, causing fires recently in Hanoi.

New cargo airline still waiting for license

After the Prime Minister agrees on the establishment of IPP Air Cargo, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) will implement procedures to grant a license to the air carrier, according to MOT Deputy Minister Le Dinh Tho.

Master plan for Mekong Delta focuses on infrastructure development

The Master Plan for the Mekong Delta designed for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050, is focused on infrastructure development.

Current monetary policy quite suitable

Many people are concerned whether the country will face a tighter monetary policy and higher exchange and interest rates in the near future.

Danang, a wedding destination for India’s billionaires

Could Danang be the wedding destination of choice for Indian billionaires? It certainly has the right hotels and quality wedding infrastructure for the purpose, an Indian tourism company representative said.

Big shortage of human resources for artificial intelligence

Vietnam is facing a big shortage of human resources for artificial intelligence.

VN to improve science and technology market to reduce reliance on imports

Vietnam plans to focus on improving the science and technology market with the establishment of three trading platforms in order to reduce reliance on imports, Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat has said.

Vietnam may not reach goal of 5 million int’l visitors in 2022

Vietnam’s tourism industry aims to serve 60 million domestic tourists in 2022. By the end of July, the figure was already over 71 million visitors.

Vietnam sets course for zero carbon shipping by 2030

The Ministry of Transport has recently issued a plan with supportive measures for vessel owners to develop container ships with zero carbon emissions by 2030.