Saltwater encroaches deep into Mekong Delta

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has forecast saltwater intrusion for 10 of the 13 provincial-level localities in the Mekong Delta this dry season, and the phenomenon has already appeared in eight so far.

The MARD said that drought and saltwater intrusion in the region, the largest agricultural production hub in Vietnam, will be more serious this year than in 2015-2016, when historic saline intrusion was recorded. The provinces of Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Bac Lieu are likely to be hit hardest.

A salinity level of four grammes per litre has entered 40-67km into the mainland, about 10-15km deeper than the average.

In Ben Tre, saltwater has intruded across most of the province.

In Vinh Long, the local hydrometeorological station recorded a salinity level of 10 grammes per litre at the Nang Am sluice, which is also the highest reported since 2015-2016. The salinity is forecast to even exceed that level in the next few days.

Facing this situation, the MARD has been working to build 19 key anti-saline intrusion facilities, two-thirds of which have been put into use to support about 50,000-60,000ha of crops.

Farms in Ben Tre province, especially in fruit growing areas like Cho Lach and Chau Thanh districts and Ben Tre city, have carried out effective measures to store freshwater such as buying big water storage bags, covering ditches and canal beds with water-proof fabric, and building cement water tanks.

In Tien Giang, the agricultural sector has also taken measures such as regulating the water flow along canals, pumping freshwater into irrigation canals, speeding up the construction of irrigation works, and shutting down sluice gates when saltwater appears.

Source: Vietnam News Agency