Salinization threatens Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

Saltwater has intruded into a large section of a major river in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, threatening the livelihoods of local residents. Saline water has spread to some 20 kilometers of the Tien (Front) River, with locals now bracing themselves for an extended drought and further salinization. The Mekong River splits into two at Phnom Penh to form the Tien River, the main northern branch, and the Hau River, the primary southern distributor, after entering Vietnam. The two rivers remain the primary source of fresh water for both agriculture and daily consumption by residents of the Mekong Delta. A delegation from the Water Resource Department in Tien Giang Province, which is heavily affected by saltwater intrusion, has recorded a high salt content along the Tien River since November 13. The salinity level in the affected section was between 1.77 and six grams per liter of water, which is above the average amount in previous years, said Nguyen Thien Phap, head of the provincial water resource department.

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