The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, on February 23, 2006 has asked the government for permission to design a project to upgrade the Red River’s irrigation system. The upgrades are scheduled to begin in early 2007 and will focus initially in the Bac Hung Hai and Nhue River systems in northern Ha Tay Province.
Minister Phat also asked for the government’s permission to allow the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to work with related sectors to plan for the use of water resources of the Red River basin.
According to Mr. Phat, drought has beset the provinces in the Red River Delta for three consecutive years because the river’s water level has dropped to its lowest level of the past 100 years. Meanwhile, the area’s irrigation network, which was built in the 1960s and 70s can no longer meet the present day needs of cultivation. As a result, in recent years, farmers have experienced water shortages. For this year’s winter-spring crop alone, there’s nearly 300,000 ha of thirsty land.
Minister Phat has also asked that the government allocate VND700 billion ($43.75 million) to repair and upgrade 120 reservoirs to prepare for the forthcoming rainy flood season.