|The Kênh Nhánh Sluice prevents saltwater intrusion and stores fresh water for agricultural production and household use in Kiên Giang Province’s Rạch Giá City. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải|
KIÊN GIANG — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang has taken measures to cope with drought and saltwater intrusion for the coming 2020-21 dry season.
The province, which is the country’s largest rice producer, is expected to see a shortage of fresh water for irrigation and household use in coastal areas from Rạch Giá City to Hà Tiên City, areas along the Cái Lớn and Cái Bé rivers, and coastal districts in U Minh Thượng area and islands, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The province’s two national parks, the Phú Quốc National Park and U Minh Thượng National Park, will also lack water to fight forest fires, and has built dams, and dredged canals and ponds, to preserve water.
If severe saltwater intrusion and drought occur, the province will give fresh-water priority for households, animal husbandry and high value crops, it said.
To secure water for localities affected by drought and saltwater intrusion, the department will operate sluice systems in the Long Xuyên Quadrangle, coastal areas in An Biên and An Minh districts, and dykes in U Minh Thượng and Ô Môn – Xà No area.
In localities where saltwater-prevention sluices are still affected by saline intrusion, the department will work with localities to build temporary saltwater prevention dams.
Hoàng Văn Tuấn, deputy director of the department, said to secure irrigation for agriculture in the dry season, the province will build or upgrade 340 temporary dams.
The dams will help to protect the 2020-21 winter - spring rice crop and the 2021 summer - autumn rice crop, as well as aquaculture and the rice - shrimp farming model.
The new dams will cost VNĐ33.8 billion (US$1.5 million) from the central and local budgets and other sources.
The department will also set up schedules for growing the 2020-21 winter - spring rice crop and instruct farmers to grow short-term rice varieties to avoid a shortage of irrigation water in the middle and end of the 2020-21 winter - spring rice crop.
It will also raise public awareness about climate change, water shortage and saltwater intrusion.
Around VNĐ17 billion ($735,000) will be spent to implement measures to supply fresh water for household use, especially in rural, remote and island areas.
The province will upgrade deteriorated water supply stations in districts An Biên, An Minh, Châu Thành, Gò Quao and Giang Thành.
It will also store fresh water in reservoirs on islands, including Dương Đông and Thổ Chu reservoirs in Phú Quốc District, and Bãi Nhà and An Sơn reservoirs in Kiên Hải District.
Wells will be upgraded in island communes and in areas that lack fresh water for households, and fresh water for household use will be transported to islands. — VNS