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Mekong irrigation project moves forward

Update: January, 10/2015 - 08:50
Workers conduct construction work on the O Mon-Xa No irrigation project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
CAN THO  (VNS) — Can Tho City and Hau Giang and Kien Giang provinces will invest VND990 billion (US$47 million) to start the second phase of the O Mon-Xa No irrigation project this year and complete it by the end of 2017, Dao Anh Dung, Vice Chairman of Can Tho City People's Committee, said on Wednesday.

The project aims to improve irrigation, prevent floods for a 45,430ha area, improve the quality of 38,800ha of agricultural land and increase rice production from two to three crops each year. However, lack of investment has stalled the project since 2013.

The project involves building new drains and dredging three first-degree canals and 92 second-degree canals with a total length of 83km and 288km, according to project designer Hydraulic Engineering Consultants Corporation Number II.

However, construction has not started because local residents and infrastructure for telecommunications and electricity have not been removed from the area, according to district officials.

Chairman of Can Tho's O Mon District People's Committee Nguyen Vu Phuong said that 97 per cent of households in the district had handed over their land for the construction of the irrigation system. The district authority was working to encourage the remaining households to hand over their land within the next 15 days.

Chairman of Phong Dien District People's Committee Nguyen Hoang Ba said that all households in the district had handed over their land. However, telecommunications and electricity infrastructure had not been removed. He insisted that responsible organisations remove that infrastructure so that construction could start.

The VND536 billion ($25.5 million) first phase of the irrigation project was carried out from 2005 to 2012. It involved building 115km of dyke roads, 121km of 15 second-degree canals and 72 first- and second-degree drains.

The first phase also helped Hau Giang province supply cleaner water for local residents. By the end of 2012, seven local communes and towns, including Tra Long town, Phuong Binh and Vi Thanh commune, built six water plants with an investment of VND21 billion ($1 million) to provide 8,200 cubic metres of clean water each night, an increase of 26 per cent compared to the time before 2012. — VNS

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