Mekong Delta may face more serious saline intrusion this dry season
The Mekong Delta may experience sooner and even more serious droughts and saltwater intrusion in the 2019 – 2020 dry season, compared to the situation in 2016 when historic saline intrusion was recorded, an official has said.
Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang tend to rice fields
Director General of the Directorate of WaterResources Nguyen Van Tinh said on December 19 that in the 2019 – 2020 dryseason, saltwater intrusion in the region, the largest agricultural production centreof Vietnam, appeared 20 – 30 days sooner than the 2015 – 2016 one, and 2.5 –3.5 months sooner than the average.
From mid-December, saltwater may enter 40 – 50kmdeep into the mainland, about 3 – 5 km deeper than in the same period of 2016.From January to mid-March next year, the salinity level of 4 grammes per litremay be recorded in areas about 55 – 110km away from the sea, 3 – 5km more thanthe 2015 – 2016 dry season and 20 – 40km more than the average.
This phenomenon is likely to affect thewinter-spring rice crop in areas 50 – 60km away from the sea, he noted.
Saltwater intrusion will influence almost 1.87million ha of land in 10 of the 13 provincial-level localities in the MekongDelta, namely Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, BacLieu, Hau Giang, Ca Mau and Kien Giang.
The area is nearly 50,000ha larger than theaffected one in 2016, Tinh said, noting that however, the number of affectedhouseholds will be 89,200 fewer than in the 2015 – 2016 dry season, standing atnearly 120,800.
Although the saline intrusion is predicted to bemore serious, the number of households facing water shortage will declinestrongly because many lessons were gained from the 2015 – 2016 dry season.
Besides, the Government and localities in theregion have developed many irrigation and water supply facilities since 2016.The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has also built detailedscenarios for both short and long terms, Tinh said.
The ministry is scheduled to hold a meeting ondrought and saltwater intrusion response in the Mekong Delta on December 25.Meanwhile, the Government will chair another on the issue in January 2020,according to the official./.VNA
Authorities in provinces in the Mekong Delta and Can Tho city are dredging irrigation works and storing fresh water to cope with saltwater intrusion during the dry season.
Farmers and agricultural officials in Vinh Long Province in Mekong Delta are rushing to prevent the worse impacts of an early saline intrusion.