Vietnam’s Mekong Delta faces worst drought

15:25 | 05/05/2016 Society

(VEN) - The Mekong Delta has been struggling to cope with major drought and saltwater encroachment after leaving hundreds of thousands of hectares of the country’s main rice growing region dead.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta faces worst drought

Drought and salinity have caused negative impacts on agriculture

Huge damages

According to the Southwest Steering Committee, more than 160,300 hectares of rice in the Mekong Delta were damaged by mid-March 2016. Many fruit, vegetable and seafood farming areas have been seriously affected by drought and saltwater encroachment with total estimated damages of around VND320 billion.

Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association General Secretary Nguyen Hai said that many sugarcane growing areas in Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Hau Giang have been attacked by drought and saltwater encroachment. If the situation lasts longer, sugar factories will face material shortages in the next season. Nguyen Hai recommended that local people use dikes to prevent saltwater intrusion. However it is a temporary solution and the government needs to seek long-term measures.

Huynh Van Ton from Kien Giang Province’s Kien Hai District said that he has experienced serious drought after more than 70 years living in this region.

Drought and saltwater intrusion have affected some coastal areas such as Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Hau Giang, Long An, Tien Giang and Bac Lieu, while around 155,000 households have faced water shortages.

Urgent solutions

The Mekong Delta accounts for 55.5 percent, 70 percent and 69 percent of the country’s rice, fruit and seafood production, respectively. Therefore, the fight against drought and saltwater encroachment is vital with many urgent solutions drastically implemented by the government, ministries, departments and localities.

Southwest Steering Committee Permanent Deputy Head Nguyen Phong Quang said that the region should build dikes to prevent salinity in key areas such as Long Xuyen and Dong Thap Muoi in the short run, while the government should promote cooperation with neighboring countries to ensure supply of freshwater resources in the long term.

The Can Tho University’s Research Institute for Climate Change Deputy Director Le Anh Tuan said that water serving agricultural production and industries accounts for 70 percent and more than 20 percent of its resources, while nearly 10 percent is used for daily life. Therefore, the application of technical solutions for water saving in agricultural production is needed.

Hau Giang Province People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Truong Canh Tuyen said that changing the crop structure to adapt to difficulties caused by the weather is the most important solution.

Southern Power Corporation General Director Nguyen Van Hop said that the sector has strictly monitored power supply in saltwater intrusion areas.

The Mekong Delta provinces need to rapidly seek solutions to adapt to serious drought and saltwater encroachment.


Thao Vinh Duong