An irrigation sluice gate officially began operating in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on June 19, aimed at preventing salinisation and supplying fresh water for local farmers.

The Son Doc 2 sluice, located in Hung Le Commune, Giong Trom District, is part of the Northern Ben Tre Irrigation Project.

Project director Do Van Nhan said the Son Doc 2 sluice, built with an investment of 150 billion VND (roughly 6.8 million USD), is a very important component of the bigger project, helping supply fresh water for 11,000ha of agricultural land in the districts of Giong Trom and Ba Tri.

Overall, the Northern Ben Tre Irrigation Project is expected to prevent saline water intrusion while irrigating 140,000ha of crops and providing 20,000ha of water surface for aquaculture in the districts of Binh Dai, Ba Tri, Giong Trom and Chau Thanh, and Ben Tre City.

Cao Van Trong, Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said at the sluice inauguration ceremony that in recent years, the province has built several irrigation works benefiting hundreds of thousands of local households and facilitating socio-economic development.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Manh Thang said the Delta in general and Ben Tre province in particular face many water resource management challenges as a result of large-scale hydropower dams as well as irrigation works built upstream on the Mekong River.

Climate change and resultant rise in seawater levels compounded the problems, he said.

The ministry has been working with local authorities to find suitable solutions, Thang added.

It is also coordinating with relevant offices to arrange funding for the completion of key irrigation works in Mekong Delta provinces, including the Northern Ben Tre Irrigation Project, he said.-VNA