Thứ sáu, 05-06-2020

Erosion in Mekong Delta: searching for solutions

On the 6th and 7th June, in Soc Trang province Natural Disaster Prevention Department of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) cooperated with GIZ to organize workshop on Erosion Control at Mekong Delta – Challenges and Solutions. The workshop was held and chaired by Mr. Hoang Van Thang - Vice Minister of MARD, with participants from South-West Steering Committee, representatives of Mekong Delta provinces, government agencies and international organizations (AFD, JICA, WINROCK).


Hoang Van Thang - Vice Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the workshop


Challenges from coastal erosion

Mekong Delta comprises of 13 provinces and cities accounting for 12% of national natural area. It’s home to 17 million people and is Vietnam’s most important agricultural region to ensure food security for the whole country. With an abundant channel system and more than 700 km coastal line, climate, topography and hydrology conditions as well as climate change impact all are leading to complicated erosion process putting direct pressure to the living of coastal citizens, dykes, and infrastructures.


According to Mr. Thang, erosion is ongoing trend with severe consequences to people life. The Mekong Delta loses 500 ha/year, the coastal erosion speed is  from 30m to 50 m/year.


Tien and Hau rivers are severely eroded at the beginning and end of the flood season, especially at the hot spots as Tan Chau town (An Giang); Sa Dec town, Hong Ngu town, An Hiep commune – Chau Thanh district (Dong Thap); Vinh Long city (Vinh Long); Chau Doc – Long Xuyen city (Long An) with hundreds meter to several kilometers. The erosion happens even in the dry season at not only main rivers but also big channels as Xang Xa No (Can Tho, Hau Giang); Vinh Te (An Giang) etc.


According to the latest data collected by the Natural Disater Prevention Department of WRD, Mekong Detla has 20 coastal erosion sites with up to 200 km coastal length accounting for ¼ of the regional length. The erosion is especially strong at some areas of East Sea as Tan Hiep (Go Con Dong, Tien Giang); HiepThanh, Dong Hai (DuyenHai, TraVinh) (50 m/year); GanhHao (Bac Lieu) (100 m/year).


Mr. Tang Quoc Chinh, Deputy Director of Natural Disaster Prevention Department said, the Mekong Delta geological condition from alluvial sediment under current and wave impacts is the main cause. In addition, climate change is significantly posing a threat to coastal and riverine erosion. He also emphasized the human causes through deforestation, natural resource exploitation, construction of upstream reservoirs and dams, river-bed sand and gravel mining, and unplanned development of living activities along the rivers, etc.


Immediate and long-term solutions

In above-mentioned complicated situation, workshop participants agreed that the concerned agencies should take concrete and comprehensive actions to minimize the erosion at Mekong Delta. Currently provinces should continue the approach of constructing anti-wave dykes, embankments and depositing through soft dykes, T fence as well as semi-fixed works using environmental friendly materials. For areas that are impossible to deposit afforestation shall be replaced by hard measures like wavebreak concrete embankment, groynes and protection embankments.


There is a broad consensus that in long term, coastal stabilization and protection are core issues in seadyke planning, of which mangrove forest development and reinforcement are crucial and decisive factors. Mangrove forest development should be regarded as priority measure for coastal protection, ecological and environmental conservation. Besides, anti-erosion institutional policies, regulations and cost-effective, sustainable measures need to be studied and proposed further.   


Thang mentioned that the Mekong Delta has complex coastal erosion and deposit influencing by various natural impacts, therefore every province is required to study and select proper coastal protection solutions. Erosion prevention must be approached in regional perspective with integrated measures taking into account livelihood for people.

Minh Trung-CTV


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