Three Mekong Delta provinces to benefit from $86-mln water supply project

By Nam An, Hoang Nam   March 18, 2021 | 10:32 pm PT
Three Mekong Delta provinces to benefit from $86-mln water supply project
People in Go Cong Tay District in Tien Giang Province stand in line to get free water provided by a benefactor during the dry season of 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam.
The government has green-lighted a VND2-trillion ($86.35 million) project to supply water to three provinces in the Mekong Delta.

Long An, Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces will get 300,000 cubic meters of water daily when the project is completed this year, and double that from 2025 onwards.

Water will be drawn from the Tien River, a distributary of the Mekong River, to a pumping station in Cai Be District in Tien Giang, and distributed to the other two provinces through pipelines.

During the dry season last year five delta provinces, Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang, and Ca Mau declared an emergency due to lack of water.

The delta, home to 12 provinces and Can Tho City, was hit by the worst water shortage ever during this period with historic levels of salinity in its rivers as water flowed inland from the sea.

The rainy season had arrived late and ended earlier than usual, resulting in 8 percent less rainfall than normal, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

A series of upstream dams on the Mekong River in China is preventing the natural flow of water, while the rising sea levels and gradual subsidence of southern Vietnam are also blamed for the salt intrusion.

By March last year seawater had entered 50-110 kilometers into all branches of the Mekong and other major rivers, two to eight kilometers more than in 2016, when the region suffered from the worst drought in a century.

The lack of freshwater damaged 41,900 hectares of rice and 6,650 hectares of fruit orchards, while 96,000 families struggled to obtain water for their daily needs.

Tien Giang authorities had to spend VND37 billion ($1.6 million) to buy freshwater to supply for drinking.

This time around people in the delta stored freshwater before the onset of the dry season.

With the El Nino weather phenomenon ending last September and the 2020 rainy season bringing more rainfall than in 2019, some chose to dredge canals while others installed plastic tanks that can hold 7-30 cubic meters of water.

In Ben Tre Province, 24 water filtering machines with a capacity of 10 cubic meters per hour each have been installed at public places to supply water free of cost.

The filters, which use reverse osmosis (RO) for water purification, were donated by various benefactors.

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