Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:24 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:24 | SYDNEY

Vietnam drought


Allan Gyngell

9 January 2008 08:19

The terrific weather I am enjoying on holiday in Sapa, near Vietnam's border with China — unseasonably clear skies and dry days — turns out to be another reminder of Asia's environmental difficulties. Vietnam's northern provinces are in the grip of drought. According to the Vietnam News Service they are likely to be 20 to 30 percent short of the water they need this year. In Hanoi a couple of days ago, the front page of the Vietnam News was covered with a dramatic photograph of boats stranded in the middle of the Red River, where water levels are at a hundred-year low as a result of drought and hydroelectric dams upstream. It's a small reminder of something readers of Milton Osborne's work for the Lowy Institute on the larger and much more geopolitically significant Mekong system will be in no doubt about: the water politics of Southeast Asia are going to become increasingly important over the next few years.