The water tastes salty and the rice barely grows in the coastal villages of the Ca Mau peninsula at the southern tip of Vietnam’s Mekong River delta.
Thi Tran, a young woman who farms 2 acres (0.8 hectares) of rice and vegetables while her husband works on the fishing boats in the Gulf of Thailand, says she fears for her family. She and other Ca Mau farmers now face a further problem. Severe droughts are becoming more common and a series of major dams on the Mekong have led to less freshwater reaching the delta. The result is more salty water penetrating farther up the river estuaries and irrigation canals from the sea, devastating crops and contaminating drinking water.