By Vietnam News
Can Tho, Vietnam, March 7, 2016
Mainstream hydropower projects on the Mekong River caused a loss of VND5,200 billion (USVND5,194,153 million) in seafood and agriculture output to the Mekong Delta, said former Deputy Chairman of National Committee of Science and Technology, Nguyen Ngoc Tran.
The announcement came at a conference on the impact of mainstream hydropower projects on the Mekong River held by Can Tho University’s Research Institute for Climate Change yesterday.
The construction of eleven mainstream hydropower dams caused landslides, ecological imbalance as well adversely impacting local farmers and fishermen in the lower Mekong River region, said Tran.
The construction of hydropower dams also prevented silt from forming, which stopped the process of building up the delta and reduced 50 per cent of mud, which makes the Mekong Delta on the brink of landslide, according to Tran.
As a result, farmers may lose land and face poverty due to the impact on their income, Tran said.
The hydropower dams also caused a reduction in seafood outputs and triggered the disappearance of many fish and shrimp species in the lower Mekong river.
The Mekong Delta region will suffer an estimated drop of 600,000 tonnes of seafood a year and a drop of 224,000 tonnes in agriculture productivity per year, according to Tran.
The total loss of seafood and agriculture outputs is estimated at VND5,200 billion (VND5,194,153 million), equivalent to 2.3 per cent of the region’s GDP.
Besides landslides, the lower Mekong Delta region faces with salinity intrusion, said Dr Duong Van Ni from Can Tho University’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta at present is comparable to a once-in-a-century disaster, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said in February.
Up to ten kilometres of the Tien River and nine kilometres of Hau River were intruded by saltwater. Farmers experienced severe drops in agricultural output, said Ni.
Viet Nam needed a stronger voice in forums held by the international Mekong River Commission in order to adjust the planning of mainstream hydropower, ensuring the interests of countries in the region are secured, experts recommended.