Saline intrusion in Mekong Delta forecast to be severe during Tet hinh anh 1A pond is digged to store water in response to saline intrusion (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - A severe period of saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta due to lower water levels upstream is expected to fall from February 8 to 16 as Vietnam celebrates the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

Per a recent dispatch from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Water Resources, saltwater is likely to intrude to 50-70 km from the mouth of the Mekong River at that time and 85-95 km from the mouth of the Vam Co River, with a salinity rate of 4 grams per litre. Most crops and fruit trees can tolerate a salinity rate of just 1 gram per litre.

According to the International Mekong River Commission and international news agencies, the Jinghong Hydropower reservoir in China is reducing its water discharge by approximately 50 percent between January 5 and 24.

This is the main cause of saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta.

The dispatch urged local authorities to prepare for salinity and drought in January and February by closely following forecasts and implementing preventive measures.

The Mekong Delta - Vietnam’s largest rice, fruit, and seafood producer - has faced severe saltwater intrusion during recent dry seasons.

In the 2019-2020 dry season, intrusion of 4 grams per litre affected 1.68 million ha of land, or 42.5 percent of the delta’s total area. It damaged nearly 42,000 ha of rice, more than 1,200 ha of vegetables and other crops, and 8,700 ha of aquaculture. A total of 96,000 local households also faced a shortage of clean water for daily use./.