Tra Vinh to dredge irrigation canals to better cope with dry season hinh anh 1Farmers tend vegetables in the 2020 - 21 winter – spring crop in Tra Vinh province’s Cau Ngang district. (Photo: VNA)
Tra Vinh (VNA) - The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh will dredge its 18 main irrigation canals that run a total of 162 km in the next four years at a cost of 387 billion VND (16.7 million USD) to improve the supply of water for irrigation during the dry season

The money will come from the Government and the province.

The canals provide freshwater to the major agricultural districts of Cang Long, Cau Ke, Tieu Can, Chau Thanh, Cau Ngang, and Tra Cu and Duyen Hai town.

The dredging will increase their capacity and help prevent the severe shortage of freshwater caused by saltwater intrusion during the dry season in recent years.

Pham Minh Truyen, Director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said over the past four years the province had been severely affected by climate change, especially in the dry season, including impacts on agriculture and people’s lives.

Saltwater intrusion caused damages worth more than 1.1 trillion VND (47.5 million USD) to agriculture in 2015 – 16 season and 1 trillion VND (43.2 million USD) in 2019 – 20.

Of the 1 trillion VND damage in the latter season, loss of rice crops accounted for 919 billion VND (39.7 million USD).

The two dry seasons saw record levels of saltwater intrusion.

With a coastline of 65 km, Tra Vinh is one of the provinces hardest hit in recent years, and is forecast to face severe saltwater intrusion in the current dry season.

The salinity levels have been 1 – 7.7 grammes per litre since December. To put it in perspective, most crops can only tolerate a salinity level of up to 1gm.

The province has closed all 50 saltwater prevention sluices to protect its rice paddies.

It has nearly 185,000ha of farmlands, or 70 percent of its total land area.

To sustainably develop agriculture, in recent years local authorities have encouraged farmers to cultivate other crops on unproductive rice fields, including fruits, or switch to aquaculture. 

In 2021 – 25 the province plans to do so with more than 8,000ha of such fields./.