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Vietnam's Mekong Delta faces water shortage and salinization

Authorities in the Mekong Delta region are calling for water-saving as the water level in the Mekong River is record low.





According to the Mekong River Commission, the water levels in Chiang Saen in Thailand, Luang Prabang in Laos and Neak Luong in Cambodia are at their lowest since 1992.

The water level in Mekong Delta is low because there was a little rain since early 2019. Because the El Nino phenomenon is expected to last for two more months, there will not be much rain.

Moreover, the Xayaburi Dam in Laos temporarily closed for a test run and the Jinhong Dam in China reduced the amount of discharged water for repair.

According to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, the Mekong Delta will receive 9,000-10,000 cubic metres of water per second this dry season, much lower than last year.

The rainfall only accounts for 11% of the total water volume in the river so the Mekong Delta heavily relies on water source from upstream.

Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert on Mekong Delta ecology, said, "There may be a serious case of saltwater intrusion in March 2020."

The Southern Institute of Water Resources Research said that the current water level was still enough for agricultural activities in the upper areas but the farmers must use water wisely.

Farmers in the middle of the delta and western areas must be prepared for saltwater intrusion due to high tides.

Kien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had asked related agencies to monitor the situation and test for saltwater intrusion in coastal areas.

An Giang Province authorities have also prepared for drought and saltwater intrusion.

Farmers in An Giang will be guided on what crops to plant. Rice farmers must switch to other crops if the water sources can't be ensured. Local authorities have also asked farmers to collect water for daily use.


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