Sea water has been progressively intruding into rice fields in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, severely impacting hundreds of hectares of rice and vegetable crops.

Latest salinity statistics show that saltwater has penetrated up to 10 kilometres into Nga Nam town with salinity concentrations as high as 9.4 parts per thousand (ppt) in the town’s centre (2 ppt is the limit of acceptable concentrations).

Seawater encroachment has reportedly affected several communes in My Tu district, posing a threat to agricultural production there, especially the autumn-winter rice crops.

The phenomenon is unusual, as the rainy season began two months ago. It is attributed to water irrigation schedule in neighbouring Bac Lieu province and sea level rises.

Nga Nam authorities update locals on salinity daily to inform measures to reduce losses during production. They have also asked upper-level authorities to work with Bac Lieu to schedule appropriate water irrigation in order to minimize the impact of Bac Lieu’s saline-water shrimp farming on Soc Trang’s rice crops.

Many other coastal localities in the Mekong Delta region are also experiencing severe salt water intrusion, including Tien Giang, Kien Giang, Tra Vinh and Ca Mau. The phenomenon is causing fresh water shortages in numerous areas and threatening agricultural production.-VNA