A ​man harvests prawn in his mixed rice-prawn farm in the Mekong Delta. (Source: VNA)

Ca Mau (VNA) – The southern coastal province of Ca Mau will need about 173 billion VND (7.7 million USD) to carry out its plans on preventing drought and saltwater intrusion, which are impacts of the El Nino phenomenon, in the 2015-2016 dry season.

The province plans to use the fund for dredging canals, building dykes to stop flood tides, and pumping water for more than 35,000 hectares of Winter-Spring rice crops and preventing forest fire, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The rain season this year ended one month earlier than normal. Coupled with prolonged heat waves, it caused inadequate supply of fresh water to desalinate soil in local mixed rice-prawn farming areas. Lack of fresh water also reduces water volume in canal systems, facilitating saltwater intrusion.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecastings (NCHMF) warned the impacts of El Nino will last until early 2016.

Over 36,600 hectares of forests in U Minh Ha and local islands are facing high risk of fire during this dry season while increasing salinity of river water, which is forecast to exceed 30-40 percent, could seriously harm prawn production and rice farming.

To deal with the problems, Ca Mau province requested authorities of its districts and city to closely monitor the salinity and ensure water reserves and human resources for forest fire prevention.

It also recommended local residents to use fresh water economically and wisely.

Meanwhile, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development asked its agencies to examine local canal and dyke systems and speed up the canal and dyke upgrade projects.-VNA