Vietnam follows new approach to deal with saline intrusion in Mekong Delta


29 Feb 20 Vietnamnet Source Instead of fighting against saline intrusion and climate change, the Mekong Delta is trying to adapt to new circumstances.

Drought and saline intrusion are attacking the Mekong Delta, seriously damaging rice fields, crops and aquaculture ponds in seven coastal provinces. Scientists warn that the natural calamities are more serious than 2016.
The salt water by February 16 penetrated deeper inland than the historic saltwater and drought attack in 2016, according to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research.

Scientific research proves that the formation, creation and development of the Mekong Delta for millions of years is the process of ongoing river-sea interference. Therefore, people must rely on natural laws to adapt to circumstances, rather than risk their lives to fight against nature.

Tran Huy Hiep, an expert on the Mekong Delta, in his article on VGP News, commented that people can take initiative in adapting to the new conditions and mitigate damages.

They can even take full advantage of the brackish ecological conditions to develop local economies. This strategy is shown in the government's Resolution 120 on Mekong Delta's ways to sustainable development in the context of climate change.

For a long time, Mekong Delta's farmers focused on using fresh water to cultivate rice and crops, grow plants and dig ponds to breed fish, but they did not think much of developing a brackish ecological system for economic development.

They thought the saltwater and freshwater ecosystems were always in contrast, so they built embankments to prevent saltwater and retain freshwater. They tried to prevent Mekong's fresh water from going to the East Sea.

Freshwater, when going to the sea, carries alluvial nutrient and makes the sea water moderately salty, creating the favorable environment for aquatic creatures to develop. Many fish in Mekong Delta live in the brackish water environment. They go in and out of estuaries for reproduction and development.

Reports show that the length of the coastline in Mekong Delta accounts for less than ¼ of total coastline, but the amount of fish caught there is higher than the other areas in the country in total.

An analyst said the coastline in Australia is 40 times longer than Mekong Delta. However, because of its natural conditions (deserts are next to the sea), the annual fishing output of the country is just equal to one province of Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

Hiep stressed that it is necessary to consider brackish water as a resource for developing coastal and marine economy.

Thien Nhien

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