The upper reaches of the Mekong River are now seeing the operation of 100 out of 300 hydropower projects, which scientists warn of a threat to the Mekong Delta.
|Experts forecast worsen landslide in the Mekong Delta (Photo: SGGP)|
Dr. Chu Thai Hoanh, from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), said that hydropower dams which have been built in the upper reaches of the Mekong River will accumulate up to 16 percent of the river’s water volume, or about 475 billion cubic meters of water a year.
Several international organizations and scientists have objected to 12 hydropower projects on the Mekong River. If they are built, about 55 percent of the river’s length will be dammed up for reservoirs. This will greatly affect agricultural production in the Mekong Delta.
According to the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Mekong River Commission, Vietnam’s agriculture and seafood production will suffer much damage. Silt deposit will fall from the current 26 million tons to only seven million tons a year and riverside landslide will run worse.
Seafood industry will undergo US$1 billion damage yearly due to reduction of white fish species, accounting for 65 percent of fish in the Mekong River. White fish is the main food for the remaining of 35 black fish species.
About 14 million farmers whose life depends on agriculture and seafood production will be badly affected.
Le Anh Tuan, from the Research Institute for Climate Change under Can Tho University, said that if climate change and hydropower development keep progressing, Vietnam will not be a food export country any longer.
There will have waves of mass emigration which may cause unpredictable socio-economic consequences, he said.