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Mekong Delta land at risk from drought, saltwater intrusion

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The drought and saltwater intrusion in 2016, and the historic high tides this year, are indicators of things to come in the Mekong Delta, reported the Saigon Economics Times.

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Mekong Delta is at risk from saltwater intrusion 

 

The burning story in all local newspapers these days is the high tides that are flooding gardens and roads. When the flood at the headwaters of An Giang and Dong Thap provinces reached its peak, the high tide in the lower course caused severe damage to local people.

The water went up in the morning and afternoon, upsetting the life of tens of thousands of people in six provinces of Can Tho, Vinh Long, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau.

Scientists said this was the biggest high tide in the last dozens of years in the Mekong Delta. The fertile land, which is the rice granary of the country, is facing more extreme weather conditions.

According to the Central Hydrometeorological Forecast Center, the water levels on October 10 and 11 at the lower Mekong River stations reached 0.1-0.3 meters above the 3rd alarm level.

At Khuong Islet in Ninh Kieu district, water broke embankments and flooded many residential quarters in Can Tho City. The water also spilled over many sections on Highway No 1 in lower provinces. 

Hundreds of hectares of sugarcane of Hau Giang’s farmers and thousands of hectares of gardens and fish ponds were severely damaged.

According to scientists, Mekong Delta, for the last many years, had three huge ‘water bags’, including Bien Ho, Long Xuyen Quadrangle and Dong Thap Muoi. However, things are different now.

The two depressions (Long Xuyen quadrangle and Dong Thap Muoi) no longer have water to provide to Tien and Hau rivers to clear salinity. 

Since 2000-2011, the flood storage capacity of the Long Xuyen Quadrangle has decreased from 9.2 billion cubic meters to 4.5 billion cubic meters, or about 4.7 billion cubic meters because of the 1,100 square kilometers of closed dykes closed in this area. 

Since the 4.7 billion cubic meters of water cannot reach rice field, it causes floods in the lower course. Meanwhile, farmers cannot get the huge volume of water to clear saline in coastal areas in dry season.

The 2016 dry season is considered the most severe drought and saline season over the last 60 years. In the 2018 flood season, the high tide in the lower course is believed to be unusually big.

Vietnam has been warned by the scientists that it will be one of the countries most affected by climate change. The Mekong Delta is one of the three deltas to suffer the most, facing the sea water level rise and landslides. 

 

Source: VNN

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