Mekong Eye

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Vietnam

  • 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.

  • Mass fish deaths in central Vietnam point finger at industrial wastewater discharge

    04/22/2016

    A fisherman in the central province of Ha Tinh has reported to local authorities that he saw a sewage pipe a Taiwanese steel manufacturer may have installed to discharge wastewater directly into the sea in an area where a huge number of fish have died recently.
    Nguyen Xuan Thanh, 36, of Ky Anh town told officers at a border guard station that he found the pipe by chance while diving to catch fish on April 4.

  • Mekong Phnom Penh

    Mekong Dams Not Cause of Drought

    04/16/2016

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday disputed the idea that water shortages along the Mekong River have been exacerbated by two massive hydropower dams being developed by Laos, saying the drought currently afflicting much of mainland Southeast Asia was caused only by “the sky.”

  • Securing the Mekong Delta water supply

    04/14/2016

    The current severe drought and rise in sea level has caused saline intrusion in the Sai Gon and Dong Nai rivers. The two rivers supply raw water to more than 10 million residents and to businesses.

    The high saline rate along with household and industrial pollutants in the river water has threatened the city’s water supply.

    Water treatment plants in HCM City have had to shut down numerous times because raw water taken from the Sai Gon and Dong Nai was below standard.

    The salinity rate in the rivers is at the highest level of the last five years, affecting operations of some of the pumping stations that supply water to the city.

    Water pollution has become more serious in the Dong Nai River, which supplies 4,000 cu.m water per person in HCM City each year.

  • Vietnam’s lowlands to go under with climate change, bank report says

    04/14/2016

    When it comes to climate change, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is one of the world’s 10 most vulnerable cities.

    As a result, around 70 per cent of its urban area may experience severe flooding in coming decades, according to a recent Asian Development Bank report.

    The bank’s assessment is based on the United Nations’ projections of a 26-centimetre sea level rise by 2050.

    Local authorities are taking the threat seriously, recently announcing flood-prevention measures of almost $US7 billion ($9 billion) over the next five years.

    But the southern economic powerhouse, formerly Saigon and one of the fastest growing and most polluted cities in the country, is not the only Vietnamese centre at risk.

    About 60 per cent of the country’s urban areas are a mere 1.5 metres above sea level and extreme climate events are increasing and widespread.

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