Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Towards controlled seasonal flooding pilots in the Mekong delta

Since the publication of the case study about controlled seasonal flooding in the Mekong delta, only few months have passed. What I heard recently is that debates about controlled seasonal flooding are increasingly being discussed in different fora (thanks Dung!). Last September the Vietnamese government repeated in a national workshop that seasonal flooding would positively contribute to the sustainability of agricultural production in the Mekong, and that they are willing to invest national funds in this.

Related, also the Worldbank, as an external investor, remains interested in the concept. Earlier I wrote that the Worldbank aligns tothe Mekong Delta Plan as a holistic framework to invest in various types of water-related projects. There are now initiatives taking shape to implement controlled seasonal flooding in the form of small pilots in some parts of An Giang province. These pilots are well in line with the recommendations brought forward in the MDP.

In this particular case, it is interesting to see if objectives in the field of agriculture and water safety can be met simultaneously. I noticed that controlled seasonal flooding was primarily discussed from the perspective of sustainable agriculture, but also that the ‘hydraulic bureaucracy’ predominantly supported it because of reasons of water safety. Diverting flood water in the northern parts of the Mekong delta, would primarily be good to lower peak water levels, and thereby safeguard urban areas such as Can Tho, further downstream. These are different, perhaps converging, but in practice maybe diverging interests.

This movie (three parts) about (the absence of) seasonal flooding is still very informative: link.

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