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Dams and associated developments

A dam is a huge engineering feat. It requires the work of thousands of people,


and the moving of thousands of tonnes of earth. Often, the area has to be
cleared of its natural vegetarian before the digging can commence, and also
people who live in the area frequently have to be relocated, disrupting their
homes and lives.
The dam will then flood a large area, making it unusable for anything other
than fishing and other water-based uses. The dam controls the amount of
water released downstream, which interferes with the natural processes which
have developed over time in association with the normal water cycle.
The construction of a dam creates thousands of jobs for local people over the
period of construction, and results in many economic benefits for the country.
For instance, a dam makes possible the controlling of flood waters, the
development of new services and facilities such as roads and electricity
supply, the generation of readily available and cheap electrical power, and the
gaining of foreign currency through sales of the electric power generated. It
can also allow for the use of irrigation techniques for farming downstream.

Vietnam's Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta covers about 20 percent of the total area of Vietnam and
provides a home for 40 percent of the country's population.
The delta is crucial to Vietnam as a 'rice bowl', producing half the rice and 40
percent of the total agricultural output of the country. This agricultural base is
important to the nation's economic structure and expansion plans, with rice
being a major export crop.
As the last downstream area of the Mekong Basin, the delta faces the
opposing forces of salt intrusion from the South China Sea, and massive
flooding from the wet season load of water carried down the river. The nature
of the area has been formed by these two opposing forces and any change to
the balance will have a major impact on the area.
Reduced flow as a result of the upstream developments would lessen the
flooding of the delta and result in less deposition of silt, which is required for
rice production. Reduced flow would also lead to the undesirable silting up of
the rivers and channels of the area, and would stop the flushing out of salt
from the naturally saline soil. It would also harm the mangroves in the area,
which are essential for fish life, an essential part of the local economy.
Furthermore, it would also stop the encroachment of salt from the South
China Sea.