Mekong Delta lacks water, scientists discuss turning seawater into fresh water
VietNamNet Bridge - Though saline intrusion in Mekong River Delta has eased, helping farmers cultivate the summer-autumn crop, 1 million people still lack clean water for daily life.

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A report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) shows that 208,800 hectares of rice fields have been damaged by the saline intrusion. 

Of these, 19,300 hectares have been damaged by less than 30 percent, 71,100 hectares by 30-70 percent and 118,400 hectares by more than 70 percent.

The natural calamity has also damaged 9,400 hectares of fruit trees. Meanwhile, 226,000 households, or more than 1 million people, have been affected by the clean water shortage.

The Ninh Thuan provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on May 14 said 1,600 households still lacking clean water need 37 cubic meters of water every day.

In Kien Giang province, the situation is so serious that many schools finished the 2015-2016 academic year one or two weeks early. 

Ben Tre, Soc Trang, Kien Giang and Tra Vinh provinces are the hardest hit in Mekong River Delta. 

Though saline intrusion in Mekong River Delta has eased, helping farmers cultivate the summer-autumn crop, 1 million people still lack clean water for daily life.
Vietnam National Television (VTV) on May 7 reported that MARD’s Minister Cao Duc Phat, when visiting Ben Tre province believed that the water supplied to local people was ‘even saltier than the bittern sold at drug stores’. The salinity was measured at 3.2‰.

Meanwhile, scientists are still arguing whether Vietnam can convert salt water into fresh water.

Hua Chu Khem, chair of the Soc Trang province Union of Science and Technology Associations, said it was extremely difficult to do unless fresh water is abundant.

Meanwhile, the volume of water supply from rivers’ upper course is very modest and water cannot reach the districts in remote areas.

“This proves to be an impossible mission. As far as I know, this has not been implemented in any other countries,” Khem said.

Tran Phu Cuong from the Ca Mau province’s Union of Science and Technology Associations also thinks this is impossible because of the lack of fresh water, the natural geographical conditions and climate change.

“What we can do now is wait for rains and replace saltwater with fresh water,” he said. “The water for Ca Mau’s people depends on God.”

Nguyen Van Ngau, chair of the Hau Giang province Union of Science and Technology Associations, also said it was possible to make fresh water from sea water for drinking, but impossible to produce fresh water for irrigation from salt water.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Bao Ve from the Can Tho province Union of Science and Technology Associations affirmed that the work could be done by distilling. 


CV

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