Data Exposes Flaws In Mekong Delta Resilience Plans


For generations, Vietnamese communities have used the ample water resources and fertile soil of the Mekong Delta to feed the nation. Fuelled by the Mekong’s constant supply of rich sediment, the fisheries and paddy fields of Vietnam’s southernmost region have long been the bedrock of Vietnam’s economy. But a combination of climate change and upstream hydropower are warping the delta’s natural resources. Research by The Third Pole suggests that current resilience strategies are falling short and may exacerbate problems in the long term.

The Third Pole’s data analysis highlights that current solutions are focusing on short-term fixes. These maintain the delta’s high agricultural productivity even though the water needed in the long term is not there, and is unlikely to come back. Not addressing the root causes of water and sediment shortages may irreversibly damage the delta, known as Vietnam’s rice bowl, as the country uses up resources that cannot be replenished.

The Third Pole’s analysis used data from the Mekong Dam Monitor, a public online monitoring platform that measures climate issues in the basin using satellite imagery, GIS analysis and remote sensing. The Mekong Dam Monitor also models the natural flow of the river — simulating what conditions would be without the impact of dams.

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