Citizens and government officials resorted to drastic measures this year to prepare for the annual dry season in Vietnam’s Mekong delta.
As debate rages over the causes of and solutions to the drought, the government is building large reservoirs to deal with the increasingly dry delta. Work is expected to begin on a 57-hectare artificial lake in Ben Tre province. Lac Dia will be the largest freshwater reservoir in the region once completed, and is expected to store 1.3 million cubic metres of water. On a smaller scale, farmers have turned to cement and plastic containers to store rainwater for their families and livestock for the 2020-2021 dry season.
Dry season droughts have become increasingly severe in Vietnam in recent years. Freshwater may become especially scarce this year, as the annual monsoon is expected to be shorter than normal due to the influence of La Niña. This adds to the pressures of climate change, decades of mainstream dam development on the Mekong from China to Cambodia, and bad agricultural practices.