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Mekong Delta Expected to Suffer Severe Saltwater Intrusion by 2030

By 2030, nearly half of the Mekong Delta will suffer from severe saltwater intrusion, according to a recent report by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Earlier this July, during a working session of the Southwest Steering Committee, the ministry unveiled the new report, which assesses the severity of the issue in 10 Mekong Delta provinces, reports Dan Tri.

Specifically, local authorities in Hau Giang, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang, Long An, Soc Trang, Ca Mau Vinh Long, Tra Vinh and Bac Lieu have all reported a “natural disaster” level of intrusion, where saltwater penetrated as far as 80 kilometers into the mainland.

The disaster caused an estimated VND4.6 trillion (US$206.3 million) worth of damage to the region’s agricultural production and left 226,000 households with insufficient water for irrigation and daily activities.

“Without effective responses, the [region’s] agriculture would be exhausted within the next three years and up to 45% of the Mekong Delta region would be submerged by saltwater,” Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu told Dan Tri.

The report cited both the effects of El Niño and the construction of hydroelectric dams upstream as causes for the intrusion, with the former causing the worst drought in 90 years while the latter has limited the volume of water flowing downstream.

[Photo via DTI News]

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