How Smart Water & Energy Planning Can Save the Mekong Delta

MEKONG DELTA UNDER THREAT

Despite growing recognition of the serious impacts that upstream dams have on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is still searching for an effective strategy to work with policy-makers in Laos and Cambodia to avoid the impacts from the hundreds of proposed dams upstream.

Eighteen million people live in the Mekong Delta, which produces more than half of Vietnam’s total rice crop and more than 75% of its fruit and aquaculture products. Rice, fruit, shrimp, and fish make a major contribution to food security and health in Vietnam and in key markets around the globe.

The delta’s agricultural productivity depends on the continuous delivery of sediment and nutrients from the Mekong River, which hydropower projects upstream threaten to disrupt. Meanwhile, global sea level rise and unregulated groundwater extraction are causing seawater to penetrate deeper into the delta each year. These factors threaten the agricultural productivity and livelihoods of millions in the Mekong Delta.

Photo Credit: Hugh Derr