A number of regions in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta have suffered the most serious fresh water shortage in the last 100 years.
Climate change, severe El Nino drought, and saltwater intrusion have hit many provinces including Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Soc Trang, and Bac Lieu.
The establishment of too many upstream hydropower plants has led to the Mekong River running out of water and sea water intruding on the river.
Both the drought and saltwater intrusion have affected locals’ lives, while farms, poultry and livestock have also been damaged.
Lu Van Thanh, a local of Kien Giang Province’s An Bien District, said that he took a bath with salt water from the nearby canal before rinsing his body with fresh water. While rinsing, the man sat in a large pot to re-use it for gardening.
Thousands of hectares of rice fields have been abandoned for months and gradually destroyed due to saltwater intrusion.
A rice field is damaged by severe drought and saltwater intrusion in Soc Trang Province in early 2016. By the end of February, a total of around 11,000 hectares of rice fields had been destroyed, forcing many provinces to declare a state of disaster in response to the water crisis. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A bunch of dead rice grains in Kien Giang Province’s Hon Dat District, caused by saltwater intrusion in early 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Van Nha, a local of Kien Giang Province, has switched to raising shrimp as salt water has continuously damaged his rice fields. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Danh Thi Bay in Kien Giang Province bursts into tears as her 3-hectare, VND50 million (US$2,244) paddy field is destroyed because of the water crisis in early 2016. Profits from this season’s crop stand at only VND7 million ($314). Photo: Tuoi Tre
A local in Bac Lieu Province’s Phuoc Long District is seen desperately searching for fresh water due to the severe drought in early 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Van Khang, of Ba Tri District in Ben Tre Province, is pictured digging a giant well in front of his house to find fresh water sources due to the severe drought in early 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Thanh Long, a local of Ben Tre Province, has luckily discovered a source of groundwater. The man sells water to his neighbors during the drought in several Mekong Delta provinces in early 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A farmer uses dead rice grains to feed cows. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Lu Van Thanh, a local of Kien Giang Province’s An Bien District, takes a bath with salt water taken from a nearby canal. Photo: Tuoi Tre