|The Gò Cát saltwater prevention sluice in Tiền Giang Province’s Mỹ Tho City. – VNA/VNS Photo Minh Trí|
TIỀN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang has taken measures to cope with saltwater intrusion in its rivers in the coming dry season to protect its rice, fruits and other crops and ensure households have water for daily use.
The coastal province, the country’s largest fruit grower, is usually affected by saltwater moving upstream from the sea.
To prevent this, the Tiền Giang Irrigation Work Exploitation and Management One Member Limited Company has repaired and serviced the more than 180 sluices it manages at a cost of VNĐ4 billion ($170,000).
The sluices help store a combined 20 million cubic metres of fresh water to irrigate 22,000ha of winter – spring rice and thousands of hectares under vegetables and fruits on the eastern coast.
Đỗ Thành Sơn, deputy director of the company, said the province completed repairs to sluices in the eastern and western regions last month to prevent saltwater intrusion up the Hàm Luông River into the neighbouring province of Bến Tre.
Authorities in districts along the Tiền River, a tributary of the Mekong, have dredged irrigation canals, dug wells and consolidated embankments and sluices to protect speciality fruit orchards like durian and jackfruit.
Most trees can only tolerate water with a salt content of less than 1 gramme per litre.
Most farmers have also installed efficient sprayers for their durian orchards.
The Government has granted funds to the province to dredge 12 large irrigation canals in Gò Công area and Chợ Gạo District.
The province is expected to begin building two large sluices in Châu Thành District this month.
Ưng Hồng Nhi, deputy director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said conditions are more favourable than last year for the winter – spring rice crop on the east coast since irrigation canals there have been dredged.
If the saltwater intrusion is similar to last year, there would be enough water to irrigate rice, he assured.
The durian growing areas in Tân Phong and Ngũ Hiệp island communes in Cai Lậy District have built saltwater - prevention dams and 17 borewells for irrigation water, he said.
The Đồng Tâm water plant and rural water supply system would provide sufficient water to households in rural and remote areas, he added.
Most households have installed containers to store water and even filters to desalinate saltwater for daily use.
The saltwater intrusion levels are expected to be similar to the last dry season, according to the province Centre for Hydro-Meteorology Forecasting.
Last year it damaged 8,600ha of rice between 30 per cent and 100 per cent, 810ha of vegetables and 3,000ha of fruits. – VNS