Drought in Mekong Delta (Photo: VNA)
Can Tho (VNA) – A workshop was held in Can Tho city on January 10 to seek measures to conserve water for agriculture and daily use in the Mekong Delta given the severe drought and saltwater intrusion.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said the event aims to support the government and localities to build strategies in the field.

Participants discussed water resources management, flood control, irrigation, and sustainable livelihoods in the context of climate change.

Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam Nienke Trooster underlined the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the Netherlands in climate change adaptation and water resources management.

The Netherlands is working with its partners to provide the most effective assistance for Vietnam to cope with changes in the Mekong Delta, she said.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Mekong Delta is home to about 800,000 hectares of rice.

The construction of hydropower plants in the lower part of the Mekong River has reduced water flows in the dry season, and affected water quality, said an environmentalist.

Deputy head of the Research Institute for Climate Change under Can Tho University Le Anh Tuan suggested seeking ways to prevent or drain flood water out to sea, and regard it as a necessary natural resource in case of droughts and saltwater intrusion.

He said the Mekong River Commission plays a significant  role in sharing water resources among countries in the region.

He recommended stopping the expansion of embankments, especially in impoverished or contaminated areas, while ensuring livelihoods for locals in flood-prone areas and rehabilitating groundwater – which is overexploited.

Regional connectivity and water resources sharing should be promoted in Dong Thap, Long An and Tien Giang, then expanded to other localities.

The retention and regulation of water for the Mekong Delta in Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) area is important to help the region cope with droughts and salinity, Professor Vo Tong Xuan said.

The workshop “Sustainable water retention solutions for the Mekong Delta” was organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Netherlands’ Embassy in Vietnam, and the German development cooperation agency GIZ.-VNA