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Better effects of water discharged from upper Mekong expected in days: Vietnamese officials

By : Xinhua | Published: 2016-April-6

[InKunming--China]  Water discharged from upper Mekong River has arrived in Vietnam, while more obvious and better effects of the water is expected in the coming days, Vietnamese officials told Xinhua on Tuesday.

In fact, several localities in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region have received water from upper Mekong, local Vietnamese officials told Xinhua via phone on Tuesday.

Hoang Van Thang, director general of the Directorate of Water Resources under Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said, however, due to high tide at the moment, the effectiveness of water from upper Mekong River is not high.

"In the next few days, when the tide withdraws, it is expected that the effectiveness of water discharged from upper Mekong River in Vietnam's Mekong Delta will be higher," the official added.

Meanwhile, according to Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of Water Management Section under Soc Trang Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Irrigation Sub-department in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region, told Xinhua that salinity level of water in Mekong River running through the province had dropped since late March, thanks to the water discharged from upstream Mekong River.

"Specifically, on March 29, the salinity level was 6.2 parts per thousand. On March 30, the figure fell to 4.2 parts per thousand. On March 31, it was 3.0 parts per thousand," Vinh said.

"We have prepared to take water from the river for local farmers but tide came on April 3, lifting salinity level to 4.4 parts per thousand on that day and 4.6 parts per thousand on April 4," Vinh said, adding that farmers now have to wait for a few days till the tide goes away to take water for crops.

Effects of water discharged from upper Mekong River is also seen in Vinh Long province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region.

Thang, an official in Irrigation Sub-department under Vinh Long province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that during Lunar New Year holiday in February, level of salinity in water in Vinh Long's Vung Liem district went high up to 10 parts per thousand.

"In the past 10 days, the salinity level has reduced remarkably to less than two parts per thousand thanks to water from upstream Mekong River."

Thang said the water from upper Mekong River has arrived and helped push saltwater away to the sea, reducing salinity level in his province.

Le Van Hung, head of Irrigation Sub-department under the southern Dong Thap province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, told Xinhua "it is true that water level in Mekong River running through Dong Thap province has risen over the past days, compared to that in the previous month."

Vietnamese Mekong Delta's Dong Thap is a province adjacent to Cambodia where a branch of Mekong River first arrives in Vietnam.

Since late 2015, countries along the Lancang-Mekong River, including Vietnam, have suffered from drought to varying extents due to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon.

China released emergency water supply from its Jinghong Hydropower Station in the southwest Yunnan province to feed the downstream Mekong River between March 15 and April 10, which helped to greatly alleviate the devastating situation.

Earlier on Monday, Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy director of the Water Resources Directorate, told local media that according to initial calculations, water from the upper Mekong is expected to help drive saltwater in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region back toward the sea by around 10 to 20 km, Bao Tin Tuc, an online edition of Vietnam's state-run news agency, quoted Tinh as saying.

The directorate has requested localities to focus resources on receiving and storing water effectively and to actively maintain water sources in canals and reservoirs, Tinh said.

At first, the water will be prioritized for local residents' daily life, such as drinking water for livestock, as well as for farms with trees and fruit trees of high economic value.

Thereafter, the water will be distributed responsibly for other crops, Tinh said.

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