An irrigation canal in Hung Yen commune, An Bien district of Kien Giang province, is affected by saltwater (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A total of 11 provinces in the Mekong Delta and Central Highland regions have announced an emergency state of drought and saline intrusion, reported Nhan dan newspaper.

These localities are Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan in the central region, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, Long An, Ca Mau, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh in the Mekong Delta and Gia Lai in the Central Highlands.

Other provinces are also struggling with water shortage. In the Central Highland province of Kon Tum, 400 out of the 500 hydropower plant reservoirs have run out of water. As of March 14, Kon Tum has recorded 1,192 hectares of dried out fields.

In a bid to handle the issue of abandoned rice fields, which have been dried out by drought, famers in southern Binh Phuoc province are switching to cultivating short-term crops such as corn and aubergine.

Authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang are implementing drastic measures to prevent saltwater from creeping into the Lung Ngoc Hoang natural reserve and a bird habitat in the Mua Xuan agricultural centre.

Building irrigation projects to save 232,900 hectare of crops is among the top priorities in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap. Local resources have been mobilised to dredge 105 km of 21 canals and ditches; the work is estimated to cost 80 billion VND (3.6 million USD).-VNA