|People try to catch freshwater fish to feed their farmed fish in Long An Province's Tan An. Local fish breeders suffer the most from the lack of freshwater because the annual flood season, bringing freshwater fish, is coming later than expected. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — The drought in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta continues to severely affect farms and households in the region, causing water shortages for thousands of families in the provinces of Long An, Dong Thap, An Giang and Can Tho City.
The most seriously affected are families who farm fish.
Duong Van Teo, who raises about 30,000 fish in Tan Hung District in Long An Province, said that every year, the annual flooding season brought enough freshwater fish, which he used to feed his farmed fish.
"But there has been a shortage of freshwater. In the last two months, I have had to buy seawater fish to feed my fish, which has increased my costs two or three times," he said.
The annual floods bring rich alluvia, which provides fertiliser for farmers.
Lieu Trung Nguon, deputy director of Long An Province's Agriculture and Rural Development, said with less freshwater and alluvia, farmers must spend more on pesticides and fertilisers.
At Cham Chim National Park in Tam Nong District in Dong Thap Province, there has been less freshwater this year compared to last year.
Nguyen Van Hung, director of the Cham Chim National Park, said that during the annual flood season, the park received about 250 tonnes of fish.
The park's management board allows 50 households to fish at certain designated places in the park, but there has not been enough freshwater for the last two months.
According to the Long An Province's Steering Committee on Flood Prevention, the water level at Tan Hung and Vinh Hung stations on October 1 was 1.55 metres and 1.52 metres, respectively.
This level was 0.4 – 0.6 metres lower than the same period last year and 2.3-2.6 metres lower than in 2000.
Dr. Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Institute of Climate Change Research at Can Tho University, said that freshwater volume in the Mekong Delta this year had dropped between 60 and 65 per cent compared to previous years.
One of the primary causes is the El Nino phenomenon resulting from climate change. However, the reduction in rainfall in the upstream Mekong river and dam construction upstream had also contributed to the problem, he said. — VNS