What it's about:
Vietnam is the end of the line for the Mekong River. Upstream, its neighbours are building dams that have changed freshwater flows that keep the Mekong Delta refreshed with sediment, for example, while downstream, the ocean is encroaching with saltwater -- intruding as freshwater is pulled out of the ground and leaves space, and from sea level rise, potentially of a meter by the end of the century if not sooner.
Those water woes put farmers in the Mekong Delta in a difficult position. But solutions may be at hand, with plans to let the river run and combined mangrove and shrimp farms.
Why it's noteworthy:
Those possibilities are playing out on an international stage, as Vietnam's neighbours plan to build more dams.
Stakeholders from the international to the local level must come together to find ways forward for the Mekong Delta. A region that produces as much rice as it possibly can might have to change its several decades' reliance on that staple crop.
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