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Mekong River Delta: Large-scale transformation to cope with climate change

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Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said that land use planning should be carefully considered in preparation for large-scale transformation in the Mekong Delta.

Floods and droughts are unpredictable

Dr. Nguyen Van Thang - Director of the Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Meteorology and Climate Change, said that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment informed that the actual measurement data show the impacts of climate change on the South in general and the Mekong River Delta in particular are faster and increasingly heavier than forecast.

According to Thang, the extreme phenomenon of climate change most clearly through the frequency of rainfall and abnormaldrought occurring throughout the southern provinces in recent years. In many provinces, annual rainfall increases by 5-20%, but the rainy season tends to be shorter and rain occurs out of season.

"The number of rainpour has decreased, but the rainfall in each pour has increased, causing flooding in many places. After each rainy season, the sunshine prolongs, leading to drought anddeep saline intrusion. Thus, many places do not have enough clean water for living," Thang quoted.

Meanwhile, sea level also tends to increase annually by 3mm on average, plus soil subsidence due to groundwater extraction has caused many places deeply in flood, especially when the heavy rain combined with tides.

It is predicted that if sea level rises 100cm, it will flood most of the Mekong delta areas (80.62%), Kien Giang (76.86%), and Ca Mau (57.69%). ...

Of which, Giang Thanh, An Bien (Kien Giang Province), Long My, Phung Hiep (Hau Giang Province), Hong Dan (Bac Lieu Province), Tran Van Thoi (Ca Mau Province) will have over 90% flooded area.

Tran Van Thanh - Deputy Director of Soc Trang Department of Natural Resources and Environment also said that the rain and drought in the area in recent years have been unpredictable, no longer follow the rules of the crop, which directly affectsproduction and living of people.

Huynh Le Khoa, Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Ho Chi Minh City, said that not only the Mekong Delta, but also Ho Chi Minh City has been affected by the impacts of climate change. If it was several dozen years ago that a rain of more than 100mm would appear, in recent years there may be several rainpour of 100mmper year, even in the rainy season, there are some rainpour of up to 200mm.

Initiatives need to be taken for conversion

Prof. Tran Thuc, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council on climate change, said that the Mekong River Delta is facing many challenges such as population growth, sea level rise, erosion and salinity intrusion.

"Those challenges to a certain degree we can overcome. In my opinion, the most worrying issue of Mekong Delta at present and in the coming years is the decline in sediment from the upstream. This is a very serious problem! "- Prof. Tran Thuc said.

According to Prof.Tran Thuc, the Mekong River Delta has a lot of planning, both at the regional and local levels, in terms of production, construction, land use, flood control. However, the weak link of these planning is lack of cohesion. Thus, it does not promote efficiency and even have consequences beyond calculation.

Thuc cited: "The O Mon-Xa No embankment system project typically costs US$ 300 million to protect 43,000 hectares of rice. It is not calculated that this area of rice is making a profit corresponding to the above-mentioned investment every year, but this project pushes flood into Can Tho city, showing that its price is too big. "

Sea level rise tends to be irreversible, its effects are inevitable. Thus, in terms of limited tolerance, the best solution for the Mekong Delta is to conduct a large-scale conversion of land use and production.

According to Prof. Tran Thuc, the Dutch government has an intention to support Vietnam to study a comprehensive plan to adapt to climate change in the Mekong Delta.

“The specific transformation is being carefully studied. For example, moving from rice cultivation to shrimp farming is very convenient for the shrimp to produce very good shrimp, but now there is a shrimp story "1season yield, 3 seasons lose" due to disease.

In preparation for a large-scale transformation, we need to study and solve such problems," said Thuc.

M.Pham