Experts predict Mekong dry season to be severe

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Mekong Delta farmers experienced the worst dry season in history in 2016, and are now  facing another severe season in 2017.

A report from the General Department of Irrigation shows that in the 2016 dry season, farmers in the southern part of the central region had to stop cultivating 23,000 hectares of rice because of the lack of water.

The drought affected 43,000 hectares of industrial crops in the Central Highlands and the eastern part of the southern region.Meanwhile, a report of the Department of Agricultural Economics showed that 300,000 households lacked water for daily life in the dry season last year.

Le Van Hieu, Soc Trang province deputy chair, said drought and saline intrusion affected 31,000 hectares and caused damages worth VND900 billion. Other localities reported damages worth VND15 trillion, despite great efforts to mitigate the consequences from the natural calamity.

According to the Central Hydrological Forecast Center, rainfall in the Mekong Delta from March to June will be less than the average level of recent years.

Throughout the 2016 – 2017 dry season, the Mekong River’s total flow to the region will be 15-30 percent lower than the average level, equal to the 2014-2015 season and higher than 2015-2016.

Duong Van Ni from Can Tho University warned that the lack of water for Mekong Delta is not only because of the natural calamity, but also due to appearance of a series of hydropower dams on Mekong.

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