Saline intrusion in Mekong Delta likely to linger on
Saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta will likely remain at a high level until the end of April or early May, before gradually declining, according to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.
Drought dries up rice fields in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
In the worst case scenario, drought and saltwater intrusion may last even longer if the current absence of rains continues and the use of water on river tributaries and reservoirs keeps increasing, the centre said.
Since the beginning of April, the southern region has seen no rains amidst low humidity and high temperatures. A heat wave has been ravaging the region, with temperatures of up to 36 – 37 degrees Celsius.
The centre forecast heavy rains and thunderstorms in the region with the potential risk of whirlwinds, lightning and hail to come later this month.
It also predicted that the salinity will be on a rise until April 10 and peak during the weekend. In several places in the provinces of Long An and Kien Giang, salinity may even intensify and pass the highest level recorded last month.
Saltwater intrusion will gradually decrease in the second half of this month, the centre said. It advised affected localities in the region to restrict irrigation in order to minimise losses.
For farming areas of high-value, salt-sensitive fruits, it is important to check salinity levels before irrigating crops, it added./.
Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert on the Mekong Delta, said he warned of severe drought and saline intrusion in mid-2019 after observing the flood season and the salty-fresh water boundary of the river.
Though saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta comes earlier and with higher level of salinity than that recorded in the 2015-16 dry season, the damages to farming areas are expected to be less serious