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Saigon Is About to Have Its Longest Drought in 60 Years

Just a few months ago, local residents were complaining of too much rain; now, as Tet approaches, Saigon is set to face its longest drought in 60 years.

According to VnExpress, experts are forecasting a serious water shortage in Saigon that will last through the spring months. This year's rainy season is expected to arrive late and finish early, causing below-average rainfall across the country and leaving people and crops in the southern and central regions of Vietnam particularly affected, as well as the Central Highlands.

Ahead of the problem, Saigon officials are asking companies to prepare for the impending drought by decreasing their water usage. The Saigon Water Supply Corporation is creating a backup emergency water supply system, which includes individual wells and water trucks, to serve local businesses and communities. The company also has long-term plans to develop a series of reservoirs for the city to address future drought-related issues.

At Dau Tieng Lake, which feeds into the Saigon River and supplies freshwater to tens of thousands of hectares of farmland in both Tay Ninh province and the greater Saigon area, management officials are developing a plan which will alternate water supply between the two locations, providing access to Tay Ninh for three days before transferring its water supply to Saigon for four days and then repeating the process.

In doing so, officials believe they can reduce water consumption by 20-30%, however water levels at Dau Tieng already stand nearly 1.5 meters lower than they did in 2014.

Between last year's floods – not only in Saigon but also HanoiBuon Ma Thuot and parts of northern Vietnam – and the increasingly warm weather we're about to face, El Niño is certainly doing a number on the city's water supply, however its temperamental conditions are not the only reason for this prolonged water shortage. Climate change threatens to put several Vietnamese cities underwater in future, not to mention 40% of the Mekong Delta. Though some are optimistic that the recent COP21 accord will benefit those nations affected by climate change – which is to say, all of them – these measures may be too little too late for Vietnam.

[Photo via Thanh Nien]

Related Articles:

Climate Change Will Put 'Many' Vietnamese Cities Underwater: Official

40% of the Mekong Delta Could Disappear by 2115

What the COP21 Climate Change Deal Will Mean in Vietnam

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