The salt water season comes in Mekong River Delta

VietNamNet Bridge – The sea water rise and the salinity intrusion has made the people in Mekong River Delta suffer.

salinity intrusion, mekong delta

The farmers in the coastal provinces of Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Kien Giang are experiencing the difficult days due to the lack of water. They don’t have enough fresh water for rice fields, for daily lives, and therefore, have to live in the polluted environment.

The dry season in the southern region, beginning in December and finishing in May, has become the obsession for local people over the last many years.

In Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Tra Vinh, fresh water is as expensive as gold. People have to spend VND30,000 for a 30 liter can of water. Meanwhile, they take baths and wash clothes with the salt water from the local canals.

Do Thi Kim Thu in Hon Dat district of Kien Giang province said she luckily can use the fresh water she stored in the rainy season and doesn’t have to buy fresh water at the exorbitant prices like the neighbors.

Thu said in the past, she also had to buy fresh water in the dry season until the tank for storing water was just built late last year. In those years, when there were the northeast wind and the sea got choppy, the sea water penetrated the land and flooded houses.

Nowadays, the sea water cannot overflow any more thanks to the solid sea embankment. However, the cultivation is impossible in the season due to the serious shortage of fresh water.

Having no water for the agriculture production and daily life, local people in the dry season hope to earn money from the trips to the open sea.

In fact, only the well-off families can buy big boats which allow to go far offshore. Meanwhile, the majority of local people work as hired workers for the big ship owners or fish nearby.

According to Le Van Tien, Chair of Binh Son Commune People’s Committee, Binh Son, as a depression, always suffers the serious environment pollution in dry season, when the surface water gets polluted and the underground water gets salty.

Of the 705 households in Vam Ray hamlet, 120 are believed to suffer most from the drought. 60 percent of the local residents use water from the wells they dig themselves, while the others use the water from the canal treated with alum.

However, since the water in the wells there is not safe enough, the majority of children and women have caught skin diseases.

The local authorities kicked off the project on building a dam to prevent the salinity intrusion in 2008. However, the construction work still has not been completed yet.

In dry season, people cannot get water for the aquaculture. In rainy season, the Kenh 10 and Tam Nguyen drains cannot discharge water, thus leaving hundreds of hectares of rice fields and crops inundated.

In Ca Mau peninsula, there was only little water in the canals, while the harvesting had finished. Local farmers said they would be able to start the summer-autumn season in early May, when it begins raining. Now they have to go to cities to work as hired workers to earn their living in the dry season.

Thien Nhien

salinity intrusion, mekong delta