Vietnam seeks Netherlands’ help in preserving water in Mekong Delta hinh anh 1Saline intrusion leaves critical loss to crop in Ca Mau city (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has urged the Netherlands to collaborate with Vietnam in conducting intensive research into solutions to preserve water in the Mekong Delta, which is facing severe drought and saltwater intrusion.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Chu Pham Ngoc Hien made the call at the fifth meeting of the Vietnam – Netherlands Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management in Hanoi on March 30.

He noted that the issue had been raised in the committee’s fourth meeting but so far no suitable partners were found for the work.

The Deputy Minister highlighted the success of Mekong Delta Plan, adding that after reviewing the recommendations made by the plan, Vietnam realised that more in-depth measures are needed to improve water management in the Delta.

The uneven distribution of water during flood and dry seasons has posed challenges to the region, he said, adding that seeking to save water in the short and medium run has become urgent more than ever, given the complicated developments of drought in the Mekong Delta.

The Deputy Minister also asked for continued assistance from the Netherlands in terms of expertise for managers and policy makers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Regarding the application of the “Balance Island” concept to the Mekong Delta, the official described this as a new and breakthrough idea that could prevent saltwater intrusion and maintain the flow of water at the same time.

It is also expected to create other benefits such as flood prevention, green infrastructure and aquatic breeding development, he said.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang said the fifth session reiterates the two Governments’ commitments to continuously implementing the strategic partnership agreement on climate change adaptation and water management, which was signed in 2010.

The agreement has helped Vietnam increase its capacity to cope with climate change, Quang said, adding that the implementation of the agreement will be pushed ahead with new fields of cooperation such as developing seaports, producing high-quality farm produce, and evaluating and addressing climate change impacts on the urban system.

Vietnam will continue to carry out joint projects on planning water resources in the Hong – Thai Binh river basins; dredging small-scale canals; boosting cooperation between Hanoi and Amsterdam and Ho Chi Minh City and Rotterdam ; and improving urban adaptation and management, he added.

Participants agreed that it is necessary to supplement the cooperation agreement between Vietnam and the Netherlands in the fields of water resources management and climate change adaptation.

The two countries signed an agreement on supporting a development-related infrastructure programme (ORIO) for Phu My new urban centre in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau; a Letter of Intent on cooperation between the Ministry of Construction’s Department of Technical Infrastructure and the Dutch water management agency; along with a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Vietnam National Satellite Centre and the Netherlands Space Office.

This year’s fifth session was jointly held by the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.

The fourth session of the Vietnam – Netherlands Intergovernmental Committee took place in the Hague in September 2014.-VNA