Waterways in Mekong Delta losing valuable alluvium
VietNamNet Bridge - Nguyen Van Sanh from the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute, in an article on Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon, says that water sources have not been managed or used effectively. 


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Mekong Delta people need to use water effectively



The water in the delta comes from many sources – the Mekong river system (475 billion cubic meters a year), rainwater (15 billion cubic meters), underground water (2 billion cubic meters) and saltwater with a coastline thousands of kilometers in length. 

Eighty five percent of water comes in the rainy season, which causes inundation in the months from August to October. Locals often suffer water shortages in the dry season and salinity intrusion. A report found that saltwater penetrated the mainland by 90 kilometers in 2016.

For a long time, saltwater in Mekong Delta was always considered an ‘enemy’ because it could not be used for rice cultivation. But it should be seen as a valuable natural resource which could help develop a sea-borne economy.

For a long time, saltwater in Mekong Delta was always considered an ‘enemy’ because it could not be used for rice cultivation. But it should be seen as a valuable natural resource which could help develop a sea-borne economy.

Fresh water sources in the Mekong River Delta have shown signs of becoming exhausted, while underground water is being polluted. 

Scientists recently have given warnings about the changes in the quality and quantity of water in Mekong Delta caused by climate change, plus the development of a series of hydropower dams on the Mekong upper course. The amount of alluvium has decreased, they said. 

Over many years, Vietnam has been striving to increase rice productivity. This has resulted in rice intensive farming and the abuse of fertilizer and plant protection chemicals, which has polluted the environment, degraded the soil, and reduced silt in waterways.  

In the past, Mekong Delta people built closed embankments to prevent floods and cultivate third crops. But now they need floods to preserve water to fight drought and saline intrusion.

Nearly 20 million residents in Mekong Delta have been using water ineffectively in production. As a result, water pollution has become more serious and locals have to use more underground water.

The problems have contributed to the shrinking of water sources and an increase in landslides, Sanh said.

The expert has suggested measures for local households and authorities to apply to improve water management and use.

Households need to learn how to collect water in the rainy season and use water year round by storing in tanks and wells. They also need to use water reasonably in irrigation. If they can do this, they could save 24.8 billion cubic meters of water a year.


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Mai Chi

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