Huge funds needed for irrigation development in Delta
By Trung Chanh – The Saigon Times Daily
CAN THO – The Mekong Delta will need huge funds for irrigation development in the coming years, estimated at VND41.4 trillion, or some US$2 billion, in the next eight years and four times that sum until 2050, an official said.
Vu Van Thang, deputy director general of the Directorate of Water Resources, told the conference “Irrigation Development in the Mekong Delta” held in Can Tho City on Tuesday that capital should be mobilized from various sources to meet the investment demand.
The colossal budget of VND171.7 trillion required for irrigation in the Mekong Delta, however, should be disbursed in three stages: VND41.4 trillion until 2020, VND49.45 trillion for 2021-2030 and VND80.85 trillion for 2031-2050.
“By area, the left bank of the Tien River should be allocated VND33.98 trillion; the area between the Tien and Hau rivers some VND85.28 trillion; Long Xuyen Quadrangle about VND13.44 trillion; Ca Mau Peninsula and islands a respective VND37.78 trillion and VND1.22 trillion,” he said.
He added that funds for the irrigation planning would come from annual central and local budgets, government bonds, ODA, capital of the climate change response program, contributions of flood victims and other sources.
The goal is to develop a complete irrigation system, meeting the requirements of agriculture and aquaculture in the context of climate change and sea level rise, contributing to socioeconomic development and environmental protection in the Mekong Delta.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang suggested the planning should focus on the urgent projects for development of agriculture and aquaculture, avoiding dispersed investments.
“To maximize the effectiveness of the irrigation planning, I propose detailed planning schemes of localities should be consistent with the general planning of the whole region, meeting the requirements for climate change-sea level rise responses.”
“The Government should conduct scientific research to determine the feasibility of the planning,” said Luong Quang Xo, deputy director of the Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning.
According to the statistics of the Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning, the Mekong Delta currently has over 15,000 kilometers of canal and level-1 channels, nearly 27,000 kilometers of level-2 channels and some 50,000 kilometers of smaller channels.
As for flood control works, the whole region has over 13,000 kilometers of dykes and embankments, of which 7,000 kilometers is to protect the summer-autumn rice crop and over 200 kilometers is to store water to prevent forest fire.
The coastal provinces have 450 kilometers of sea dyke, 1,290 kilometers of river dyke and some 7,000 kilometers of embankment along the inland waterways to prevent seawater intrusion, tides and storms.