|The Cái Lớn Sluice of the Cái Lớn – Cái Bé irrigation system is being built in Kiên Giang Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Sen
KIÊN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang is taking measures to cope with drought, freshwater shortage and saltwater intrusion to protect agriculture production in the 2021 – 22 dry season.
The delta is entering the end of the rainy season and is expected to face saltwater intrusion in February or March.
Kiên Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, is one of the delta’s coastal provinces affected by saltwater intrusion from the sea through river mouths in the dry season.
Nguyễn Thanh Nhàn, deputy chairman of the province's People’s Committee, has ordered districts and cities to identify areas at high risk of freshwater shortage and saltwater intrusion in the dry season.
Measures to be taken include dredging of irrigation canals to store more fresh water.
Districts and cities have been told to consolidate saltwater prevention dams and build temporary saltwater-prevention dams to protect the 2021 – 22 winter – spring rice and the 2022 summer – autumn rice crops.
Kiên Giang plans to grow 280,000ha of rice in the ongoing winter – spring rice, with sowing schedules between October and December.
According to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the province will spend VNĐ20 billion (US$880,000) to build two large steel dams, build or upgrade 70 soil dams, dredge irrigation canals, and build six saltwater-prevention embankments in the 2021 – 22 dry season.
Of these dams, 58 will be built or upgraded by mid-December. The other dams will be built only when saltwater enters deep into Rạch Giá City and the districts Châu Thành and Hòn Đất.
The department is collaborating with localities to operate saltwater-prevention sluice systems in Long Xuyên Quadrangle, An Minh District – An Biên District coast, U Minh Thượng embankment area and Ô Môn – Xà No embankment area to provide fresh water for agriculture production and household use.
Local authorities are building temporary dams to hold fresh water in coastal areas in An Minh and An Biên districts and districts Châu Thành, Hòn Đất, Kiên Lương and Giang Thành where construction of saltwater-prevention sluices is not finished.
The province is speeding up the building of saltwater prevention sluices in An Biên and An Minh districts to promptly put them into use in the 2021 – 22 dry season.
Delta's largest irrigation system
The construction of the first phase of the province’s Cái Lớn – Cái Bé irrigation system, the delta’s largest irrigation system, is expected to be completed this month.
The Cái Lớn – Cái Bé irrigation system includes the Cái Bé River sluice and the Cái Lớn River sluice, and connects the Cái Lớn River and the Cái Bé River.
The Cái Bé sluice was put into operation in February this year, which helped Kiên Giang to prevent saltwater intrusion on 20,000ha of farming area in the last dry season.
The first phase of the Cái Lớn – Cái Bé irrigation system has a total cost of more than VNĐ3.3 trillion ($145 million), funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
When the Cái Lớn – Cái Bé irrigation system is completed, it will serve a total area of 384,120ha of agriculture and aquaculture in the delta’s provinces of Cà Mau, Bạc Liêu, Sóc Trăng, Hậu Giang and Kiên Giang. – VNS