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Saltwater Intrusion Might Damage 40,000ha of Crops in Mekong Delta, Experts Say

Saltwater intrusion will threaten huge stretches of fruit plantations in the coming days and weeks.

Sai Gon Giai Phong reports that high tides are expected to bring saltwater deep into parts of the Mekong River through March 31, and then again in April.

The Directorate of Water Resources has forecast that saline water could reach as far as 100 kilometers inland on the Vam Co River, 25 kilometers deeper than during February's high tide. The Cai Lon River, meanwhile, will see saltwater seep up to 60 kilometers upstream from the sea.

This threatens to impact the availability of fresh water for roughly 40,000 hectares of fruit trees and rice paddies across Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces.

The news source adds that farmers have prepared for this eventuality by digging 500 water reservoirs in Ben Tre, along with similar work in Tien Giang. This proactive water storage has kept crops safe from saltwater intrusion so far this year, but the region hasn't seen the salt levels expected in the coming days and weeks since 2020.

The presence of saltwater has become an annual problem in the Mekong Delta, as a combination of factors including upstream dams and rising sea levels have made it easier for ocean water to push upstream into the region.

[Photo via Flickr user McKay Savage]

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