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Mekong Delta to suffer fresh water shortage next month

An influx of saline water will flow 40-60km inland into the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta’s coastal provinces next month, according to the Southern Irrigation Science Institute.

The intrusion will cause a shortage of fresh water for households to use during the dry season, said the institute.

The delta’s provinces have begun implementing measures to control saline water intrusion, including closing sluice gates at river mouths.

Soc Trang Province has closed sluice gates in Long Phu and Tran De districts to prevent saline water entering rice fields.

The salt content of the water of the Hau River in Long Phu’s Dai Ngai Commune now exceeds 0.15 per cent, according to the Soc Trang Irrigation, Storm and Flood Prevention and Control Committee.

High tides and strong winds last weekend have caused saline water to flow unexpectedly deep into rice fields.

Ben Tre Province has built dykes around fruit orchards in Cho Lach District. The province has also built a water supply system to transport fresh water from the Ba Lai Reservoir to Binh Dai District to provide fresh water for thousands of local households.

In Tien Giang Province, saline water could affect about 4,700ha of the winter-spring rice crop in the Go Cong Fresh Water Zone, local officials said.

Tien Giang plans to built 173 dams, install pumps at 178 sites and dredge 146 canals in rice fields to supply fresh water for the zone.

Nguyen Thien Phap, head of the Tien Giang’s sub-department of Irrigation, Storm and Flood Prevention and Control, said fresh water from sluice gates for production and household use is now available.

The influx of saline water in the Tien River in Tien Giang will increase between now and April, according to the provincial Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

To ensure fresh water for household use in Go Cong Dong and Tan Phu Dong districts, the most likely to be affected by fresh water shortages during the dry season, Tien Giang will open 57 public taps at water supply stations to supply free fresh water for local people. The province has done this for three years.

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