10:55 | 10/11/2016 Science - Technology
People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) in co-ordination with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Stimson Centre organised a workshop which proposed solutions to effectively use water resources in the Mekong river basin and policy implications for Vietnam.
Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)
According to Nguyen Nhan Quang, an expert in the river’s water management, Vietnam is developing an irrigation system with around 1.9 million hectares of soil irrigated, accounting for 48% of the total irrigated land in the Mekong River’s low stream.
However, the expansion of irrigated rice areas in the Mekong Delta is restricted due to saltwater intrusion and alum contaminated land, he said.
The expert suggested that Vietnam should devise policies to protect the interests of local residents in the Mekong Delta as well as recommended shifting to crops that have low water consumption while strengthening the current Mekong cooperation institutions, including the Lower Mekong Initiative.
Director of PanNature Trinh Le Nguyen said lying in the lower reaches of the river, Vietnam is likely to bear the biggest brunt of water resources usage activities conducted by nations in the upper stream vicinity, for whatever purposes, hydropower or agricultural irrigation.
The first hydropower dams are being built on the main stream of the Mekong River, along with the reconstruction of a number of water pumping and transfer projects to serve agriculture in Cambodia and Thailand, he said, adding that all of these projects are still underway despite concerns from many countries in the region as well as the widespread warning of their impacts.
However, it is not too late for the countries to reform policies and develop a regional blueprint with the aim of mitigating the impacts on humans and the ecological system, as well as meeting involved parties’ development needs, he noted.
According to Jake Brunner from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), multinational collaboration in the Mekong River basin is crucial to bringing mutual benefits and using water resources efficiently while more attention should be paid to the development of hydropower./.