Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Saltwater intrusion and drought in the Mekong Delta region are expected to ease in May, an official from the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting told the Vietnam News Agency.

Vu Duc Long, head of the centre’s Hydrological Forecasting Division for the Central, Central Highlands and Southern Regions, said the average temperature in the Southern region is expected to rise 1 to 2 degrees Celsius until the end of the dry season.

Rainfall in the Mekong Delta will halve, causing more severe drought and water shortage in the southwestern area.

Besides, water inflows from upper reaches of the Mekong River to the region are also forecast to remain low during the dry season. Saltwater will creep further inland, with March 11-18 being the peak time of the phenomenon, he said.

According to Long, water in a number of rivers in the south-central region has shrunk to the lowest level ever recorded, particularly those in Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces. Central Highlands provinces have experienced similar situations.

Water levels in most reservoirs in the south-central and Central Highlands regions has contracted from 2 to 8m, many even dry up.

From now until June, the average temperature in the central and Central Highlands regions will increase from 0.3 to 0.7 degrees Celsius against the figure recorded in previous years while water levels in local rivers will continue to drop.

In central coastal provinces, the dry season is due to last until August or September this year, the official noted.

As a result, drought and water shortages will take place on a larger scale and more severely in the remaining dry months, especially in Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Dak Lak provinces, he said. A total of 11 provinces in the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands regions have announced a state of emergency for 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.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said about 160,000ha of rice had been ruined in the Mekong Delta, which means some 1.5 million people have not earned money from rice over the last months.

Also, more than 200,000 families – about 1 million people – have not had enough water for daily needs, he added.-VNA