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Rising Tide Threat Looms Over Mekong Farmers

by the Fish Site Editor
24 March 2009, at 12:00am

MEKONG DELTA, VIET NAM Fish farmers of the Mekong Delta are taking the threats of climate change very seriously as research illustrates just how devastating the effects of a rising tide could be.

Work to help the Mekong Delta cope with the impacts of rising sea levels will be carried out this year through an irrigation development project, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Construction Management Department. The project will include work on controlling salinity levels and ensuring fresh water supplies for local residents and agricultural production.

Global warming forecasts indicate that about 20,000sq/km of coastal land in the delta will be submerged in 10 years due to climate change. Water flow in the Mekong River is forecast to reduce by 2 to 24 per cent during the dry season and increase by 7 to 15 per cent during the flood season.

A scenario on rising sea levels carried out by the Can Tho University’s Climate Change Research Institute showed that if the sea level increased by one metre by 2030, a large area of Cuu Long Delta would be submerged. Ben Tre Province would be the hardest hit, with 51 per cent of land flooded, while 49.4 per cent of land will be submerged in Long An Province and 43 per cent in HCM City.

The region’s farms and aquaculture are also under threat from increased salinity, which may occur during droughts as sea water reaches fields further inland.

The project was launched in 2004 and so far almost 150 sewage works have been upgraded and 2,000km of channels have been dredged, while as many as 240,000 local households have been provided with access to fresh water.

the Fish Site Editor