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  • Livelihoods in jeopardy as Vietnam’s Mekong Delta struggles with sediment loss

    05/18/2016

    Duong Cong To checks the water of the Hau River next to his house and he is not happy at all.

    “It’s too clean,” he says.

    The 72-year-old has spent all his life by the river, one of two tributaries of the Mekong and the main source of alluvium for fish farms and plantations in southern Vietnam.

    Over the past years he has noticed a significant change in the river: it keeps changing its color from a reddish brown to an ocean-like blue.

    “The water should look red. Now it’s crystal clear like there’s nothing in there.”

  • The four challenges threatening the Mekong Delta

    05/14/2016

    Located at the end of the Mekong River, the Mekong Delta of Vietnam was formed about 6,000 years from sediments of the river flowing into the sea plus the process of sea regression.

    After the country’s unification in 1975, Vietnam embarked on the planning and exploitation of the delta. The country has successfully solved the alkaline, acidic and salty problems to develop agriculture, particularly rice cultivation in this region. In 1986, the total rice output of the Mekong Delta was around 7 million tones and currently i25 million tonnes, accounting for 90% of Vietnam’s total rice expert turnover.

  • Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

    05/10/2016

    In the late 1980s, Chatichai Choonhavan’s government promised an ambitious water diversion project to provide a constant supply of water to the dry Northeast.

    Local politicians promoted the Khong-Chi-Mun project, telling the expectant farmers of Isan they would never want for water again.

    But today, locals such as Pha Kongtham, 65, from Ban Don Samran in Roi Et’s Phon Sai district sees nothing but the remnants of failure.

    Under the project, which spanned various governments until realisation, 14 dams were built in the Chi and Mun rivers, the main water sources of lower Isan. But the majority of them have now stopped operating.

  • Downstream countries concerned over water diversion

    05/09/2016

    “If Thailand’s Mekong diversion project takes place in the dry season, the Mekong’s water flows to Cambodia and Vietnam’s delta will be reduced significantly,” said Le Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Research Institute for Climate Change at Vietnam’s Can Tho University.

    “The coastal areas of the delta will face serious saline intrusion. The agricultural production and water supply, as well as the ecosystems of the Mekong delta, will have big negative impacts.”

    The drought has already caused significant damage to the Mekong delta. Mr Anh Tuan said as much as 70km of the mouth of the Mekong river had been contaminated by salt.

  • Amid Fish Deaths, Social Media Comes Alive in Vietnam

    05/04/2016

    In Vietnam, a scandal surrounding the mass die-off of fish has created an explosive wave of debate and activism on social media, particularly Facebook. Responding to the social media outcry, many rallied in cities across Vietnam on Sunday, during a national four-day holiday. The rallies took place at an unprecedented scale, spanning three regions.

    The protests responded to the mass deaths of fish, a crisis that has been ravaging Vietnam’s four central-coast provinces since early April. The environmental disaster has killed thousands of fish and caused financial and environmental damages to fishermen and people living in what was already one of the country’s most vulnerable regions. The cause is unconfirmed as yet, but many Vietnamese suspect pollution from a steel plant operated by a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics Group.

  • Mekong Delta loses half of silt to upstream dams: scientists

    05/03/2016

    Le Van Nam has difficulty sleeping at night thinking of the fall in yields year after year on his rice field allegedly due to less silt being washed down the Mekong River because of upstream dams.

    “In the last winter-spring crop, my 5,000 square meters only produced 3.5 tons of rice while it was four tons the previous year,” the farmer from An Giang Province said.

    Declining flows down the Mekong River due to the building of dams upstream have been partly blamed – as have severe droughts — for reduced yields and worsening erosion in the delta.

    According to the An Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, floods in the 4,900-km river used to bring silt and fish.

    However, declining flows in recent years have made the land less fertile.

  • Massive Fish Kill in Vietnam

    05/02/2016

    Vietnam’s top environment official offered an apology on Friday for his government’s “confused” handling of a mass fish kill off that has killed tons of fish across a wide swath of the country’s central coast.

  • Northern Vietnam may need 5-7 water dams to tackle drought, say scientists

    04/26/2016

    A group of scientists has proposed building a network of between five and seven dams on the Red River to store and supply water for Vietnam’s northern region.

    The group is studying water shortages in the region and believes that water dams can help the provinces survive dry seasons, which have become very intense the past few years.

    “Unlike hydropower dams whose main task is to generate power, these dams will regulate water flows, especially during the dry season,” Tien Phong newspaper quoted Tran Dinh Hoa, deputy director of the Vietnam Academy of Water Resources, as saying.

  • Major Study Warns Planned Dams May Severely Harm Mekong Delta

    04/23/2016

    A major new study warns that a planned cascade of hydropower dams along the Mekong River could cause “very high adverse effects on some of the key sectors and environmental resources in Cambodia and Viet Nam.”

    Viet Nam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has just publicly released “Study on the Impacts of Mainstream Hydropower on the Mekong River”, also known as the “Delta Study.” The study used models to simulate various dam construction scenarios. And the results raise alarm bells for the over 60 million people who rely on the Mekong Delta for their livelihoods.

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