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Drought, saltwater intrusion to intensify in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 08:48 GMT+7
Drought, saltwater intrusion to intensify in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta
A man fills a container with freshwater from a public tap in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The weather condition in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is expected to be more intense in the upcoming days due to the combination of worsened saltwater intrusion and drought.

According to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, peaking tide along rivers in the country’s southern region and Mekong Delta is forecast to exacerbate saltwater intrusion from February 23 to 25.

During this period, saline water will affect sections about 80-90 kilometers long of the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay Rivers, 65-76 kilometers of the Ham Luong River, 45-52 kilometers of the Cua Tieu and Cua Dai Rivers, 45-55 kilometers of the Hau (Bassac) River, and several other major waterways.

Saltwater intrusion in the ‘rice basket’ of Vietnam – a nickname for the Mekong Delta – has been worse than the average level in previous years.

During some periods, the situation may be more serious than that in 2016, when the region was hit with historic saltwater intrusion.

The phenomenon is expected to linger until the end of March or April this year.

The lack of rainfall will also cause more severe saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta this week, the southern weather station reported.

Scorching weather and the absence of rain will result in drought and slow water flow, it elaborated.

The increasingly serious situation has already taken a toll on many Mekong Delta provinces.

In Ben Tre, a VND85 billion (US$3.6 million) freshwater reservoir with the capacity of more than 800,000 cubic meters now contains only saline water.

In some other localities, multiple canals and rice paddy fields have dried out, while a lot of residents have been deprived of freshwater.

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