|The Cái Lớn-Cái Bé sluice irrigation system in Kiên Giang Province, the largest of its kind in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta. — VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh|
KIÊN GIANG — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang is stepping up measures to cope with the risk of saltwater intrusion and resultant water shortage amid the unusually hot weather this year.
Lê Quốc Anh, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said 2023 is expected to be a record warm year, and the El Nino phenomenon poses a risk of prolonged hot weather and drought.
The country’s largest rice producing province is affected every year by saltwater intrusion into rivers, causing a shortage of water for both agriculture and household use.
To cope with the expected drought this year, the province is gathering information to promptly make prevention plans.
It is checking freshwater sources and irrigation sluices and dams to prevent leakage and intrusion by saltwater.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is systematically operating irrigation sluice systems to supply water.
It has also co-operated with the Southern Region Irrigation Work Exploitation and Management One Member Ltd. Co to efficiently operate large irrigation systems such as Cái Lớn-Cái Bé and Xẻo Rô.
Trần Công Danh, deputy director of the department, said assessments of the drought and saltwater intrusion are being done to report to the province administration for it to take preventive measures.
The department is also checking water resources in localities to instruct farmers on what crops are ideal to grow and which livestock are suitable to breed, he said.
The province is speeding up the construction and repair of water sources in rural areas and islands to supply enough to households.
It is calling on the public to store water and use it frugally, and instructing farmers to check the salt content before irrigating crops.
The province has secured sufficient water for irrigation and household use this dry season, according to its Irrigation Sub-department.
It has built or upgraded 40 temporary earthen dams to prevent saltwater intrusion, provided water for irrigating 281,000ha of winter-spring rice and household use.
It plans to grow 279,350ha of summer-autumn rice and 71,000ha of autumn-winter rice this year.
Supply is currently adequate to irrigate plants and supply to households. VNS