More severe drought forecast this year in Vietnam hinh anh 1A rice field dries up (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The water shortage, drought and salt intrusion in the central region and the Central Highlands provinces this year is forecast to be more severe than last year.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecast said that water levels of local rivers and lakes will decrease sharply from now until the end of the May, and many will record the lowest level ever.

The water flow in central-northern rivers will fall between 50 percent and 70 percent against the average level of previous years and that in central and southern rivers will drop up to 80 percent.

The dry season in the coastal central provinces will last up to nine months, it said.

The overall level of rainfall will decrease drastically by 20 percent to 40 percent on an average. Some areas in the central region and the Central Highlands will experience severe drought in the first half of this year.

In February, the water flow in Hanoi's pumping stations will probably drop to between 0.4 metres and 0.6 metres and there could be a water shortage in some areas in the next few months. The situation will be worse in the mountainous areas of the north.

Salt intrusion in the southern estuaries will occur sooner and it will be worse than the previous year. In Tien and Hau rivers, the salinity of 4 grammes per litre will possibly intrude up to 60 kilometres inland. The salinity will increase and last until early May.-VNA