Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently had a working session with localities declaring an emergency because of drought and saline intrusion in Mekong Delta, including Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang and Ca Mau.
The chair of Ben Tre province Cao Van Trong said local authorities have applied many measures to ease freshwater shortage, such as opening concentrated water supply points, calling for support in freshwater storage equipment, and carrying water from other areas to provide to local businesses and people.
The freshwater shortage remains serious
However, the freshwater shortage remains serious. It is estimated that 20,000 households in the province have suffered from drought and saline intrusion.
Regarding domestic water sources, all water plants have a salinity level of more than 5 grams per liter.
The Ben Tre People’s Committee has asked for the Prime Minister’s permission to build a freshwater reservoir in the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral. It will help prevent tidal surges and saltwater intrusion, and provide water to the provinces in the eastern part of Mekong Delta.
|In order to facilitate freshwater storage for daily use of people in coastal areas, Trong has proposed that the government build a 1.5 million cubic meter reservoir to contain freshwater.|
In order to facilitate freshwater storage for daily use of people in coastal areas, Trong has proposed that the government build a 1.5 million cubic meter reservoir to contain freshwater.
“If the reservoir is built, the three coastal districts of Ben Tre will have enough freshwater in the dry season,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pham Vu Hong, chair of Kien Giang People’s Committee, has asked the government for approval to build Cua Can freshwater reservoir in Phu Quoc district.
“We just need approval from the Prime Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment and Ministry of Finance. We will work with the World Bank on the implementation of the project,” Hong said.
The province is also seeking permission to build freshwater containing reservoirs in coastal areas.
“We hope the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) considers building more reservoirs. We have to carry water from other areas to serve local demand,” he said.
Deputy chair of Ca Mau province Le Van Su said he agrees with the building of reservoirs at different scales. However, scientists' views about reservoir development vary.
MARD reported that 95,600 households in the Mekong Delta are facing problems accessing clean water, including 24,400 in Soc Trang, 21,100 in Ca Mau, 20,000 in Ben Tre, 11,300 in Kien Giang, 8,600 in Tra Vinh, 7,900 in Long An and 3,300 in Bac Lieu.
It is now the dry season, but landslides and subsidence are occurring in most localities in Mekong Delta.
The UN Development Programme and the Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development signed an agreement on March 17 to support the Mekong Delta’s response to drought and saltwater intrusion.