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Vietnam's Mekong Delta in desperate shortage of fresh water

Saturday, October 17, 2015, 16:08 GMT+7
Vietnam's Mekong Delta in desperate shortage of fresh water
People buy fresh water from a tank truck in Kien Giang Province, located in southern Vietnam.

The Mekong Delta of Vietnam with wide system of rivers and canals interlacing has been in a desperate shortage of fresh water for cultivation in the coming rice season.

The General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held a meeting on Friday in the local province of Ben Tre to discuss solutions to deal with the circumstance.

Dang Van Dung, vice director of the Southern Hydrometeorology Station, told the meeting that the raining season in Vietnam came around two months late this year and raining has not occurred evenly over the region.

The water level upstream Mekong River from May this year has been lower than the average level, and at some points 1 – 2 meters lower than the lowest level recorded before.

The low rainfall certainly incurs sea water reaching deeper into rice fields and other farming land in the mainland.

A representative of the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research remarked that the penetration of sea water onto farming land this year may be more serious due to low fresh water.

Dung added the average temperature from May to October this year was 1 – 1.8 degree Celsius higher the same period of previous years, he added.

The total rainfall during the first nine months this year in the south reached averagely 600 – 1,500mm, down 20 – 50 percent compared to the same time of previous years.

Especially, the total rainfall measured at stations on Mekong River during the first four months of this raining season – from June to September – was 30 – 50 percent lower than the same time of the last few years.

Dung predicted that the total rainfall in the south from October 2015 to April 2016 will be 20-40 percent less than the average level in previous years.

At the same time, the average temperature will likely be 0.5 – 1.5 degree Celsius higher than before.

Nguyen Thanh Can, director of Tien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said 2,000 hectares of rice field in the locality have been damaged by sea water.

The other province in the Mekong Delta, Hau Giang has 5,000 out of 75,000 hectares of rice field damaged by sea water.

Ben Tre Province has 6,500 hectares of farming land badly affected.

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