Mekong Delta provinces are promptly taking measures to cope with drought and saltwater intrusion to minimise negative impacts on 700,000 hectares of rice, scheduled to be grown in April and May.

The Southern Institute of Water Resources Research forecasts that from March to May this year, saltwater will intrude about 40 – 50km inland, with droughts becoming more severe across the Mekong Delta region.

To deal with the problem, the provinces have prepared rice varieties that are resilient to climate change and tightened management of harvesting operations.

According to the Steering Committee for the Southwestern region, Ben Tre province has built 13 temporary dams to prevent saltwater intrusion and improve dozens of irrigation works. For the long term, it will complete facilities for a project making its northern saline land usable, in order to protect key rice areas in Ba Tri and Giong Trom districts.

Tien Giang has constructed 173 temporary dams and dredged 146 channels while 72 irrigation works in Dong Thap and Long An have been cleaned out to ensure water supply for 37,000 hectares of rice vulnerable to drought and saltwater intrusion.

At the same time, Hau Giang and Vinh Long have improved tens of channels providing water for 38,000 hectares of rice and fruit farm land.

In the summer-autumn crop this year, the Mekong Delta region plans to cultivate approximately 1.7 million hectares of rice from April to June. About 130,000 hectares have been planted so far.-VNA