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Citation Information

Type Book Section - Water use and competition in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Title Challenges to sustainable development in the Mekong Delta: regional and national policy issues and research needs
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 143-188
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nguyen_Trung11/publication/235761379_8Chapter4/links/09e4151341​e85d6c47000000.pdf
Abstract
Safeguarding limited resources of water is a major challenge for sustainable
food production. This study analyses water use and competition, identifies
possible options to contribute to more efficient and equitable arrangements
and gives recommendations to support policy-making for sustainable water
resource management in agro-ecological zones within the Mekong delta.
Rice farming and aquaculture development are recognised as major driving
factors of water competition among water users in and between three major
agro-ecological zones: (1) upper delta irrigated zone; (2) acid sulphate soil
(ASS) zone; (3) downstream coastal zone. In the upper delta, intensive rice
development abstracts a large quantity of freshwater and then results in
salinity intrusion in the downstream delta during low flow periods of
the Mekong River. Aquaculture expansion contributes to further water
pollution in the downstream areas through flushing pond/cage effluents
during water exchange. The reclamation of ASS for food production
pollutes water in canals and shallow ground water by acidic substances,
aluminium, iron and other heavy metals. In coastal zones, water has
multiple values. Rice and shrimp development causes conflicts over water
among crop and shrimp production, fishing and mangrove forests. Water
access and sharing are determined by a wide range of local bio-physical
and socio-economic settings and institutional aspects at household and
community scale. Efficient and equitable arrangements of water use need
both structural (technical) and non-structural (planning and institutional)
solutions implemented at different spatial scales - from crop and field to
community and regional levels. Water provides a range of goods and
services, which greatly differ between users and locations. Possible options
therefore need to consider the needs of all resource users at multiple scales
rather than focusing on only one particular sector or scale. Strong evidence
of water competition, however, is still inadequate in the Mekong delta.
Further investigations are suggested to provide a clear picture of water
conflicts, cause-effect relationships and guidelines to policy-makers and
managers.

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