A family in Kien Giang is pumping freshwater in a big jar for storage. Lack of freshwater is still a problem in Mekong Delta. (Source: VNA)

Hau Giang (VNA) – Measures to control saltwater intrusion and store freshwater in the Mekong Delta region were shared at a workshop held in Hau Giang province on July 13 as part of the ongoing Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum 2016 (MDEC).

The event was jointly organised by the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Hau Giang provincial People’s Committee.

According to Prof. Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Tran, cross-border hydrometeorological forecasting is needed to cope with climate change in the delta as well as serve the sustainable development of countries sharing the Mekong River.

To efficiently manage the Mekong River water resources and risks from climate change, the sharing of hydrological data and the operational mechanisms of hydroelectricity dams among countries in the river’s basin must be an obligatory requirement, he said.

Ministries, the Vietnam National Mekong Committee and scientists need to discover, follow and assess the impacts of projects exploiting water resources in the upper reaches from the beginning, including the use of satellite images to point out possible impacts as a basis for the government to negotiate with other countries for the interests of the delta, the nation and the whole basin, he added.

At a macro level, according to Tran, it is time for the six countries in the Mekong River basin to build a mechanism for using water resources in the spirit of cooperation for mutual development. All projects exploiting the river’s water must present environmental impact assessments in the intermediate, medium and long terms.

Nguyen Quoc Viet, Deputy Head of the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region, spoke highly of the workshop, saying that it helped the Mekong Delta region seek solutions to its sustainable development in the context of climate change.

In the first six months of 2016, drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta damaged nearly 300,000 hectares of rice, vegetables and fruit trees as well as nearly 3,100 hectares of freshwater fish. More than 230,000 people were deprived of water for daily use.-VNA