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Provinces in Mekong Delta seeing less rain, may face severe drought

Update: October, 15/2015 - 10:34

As usual at this time of year, water from upstream in the Mekong River flows forward and causes floods in Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces. But so far, water levels at river monitoring portal stations are the lowest ever. But so far, water levels at river monitoring portal stations are the lowest ever. This indicates that the drought will be more severe, said Dang Van Dung, vice director of Hydro-Meteorology Centre in the southern region, during an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper.

Why do we not have floods in Cuu Long Delta Province this year? Do you think the reason is due to the rampant building of hydro-power plants upstream in the river?

The objective reason is the El Nino phenomena and low rainfall in the Mekong River (in Laos and Cambodia) which caused low levels of water. Also, the Cuu Long Delta region had suffered from less rain than in previous years. By the end of September, the provinces of Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Long An and Kien Giang, and HCM City, had experienced less rainfall than in previous years.

According to statistics, the highest water level measured at Tan Chau Station in An Giang Province, as of the end of last month, was at only 2.51m. And at present, the water level is lower.

During the 1997-1998 period, when the El Nino phenomenon was strong and caused a severe drought, water levels at the station stood at 2.82m. Currently, the water level is at its lowest.

Along with the objective reason, the low water level in rivers in the delta region was due to hydro-power dams on upstream rivers.

Do you think rain will likely help bring water to rivers by the end of this year?

It rarely happens. According to the weather forecast, the rainy season this year will end 10 to 15 days earlier than usual. This means the rainy season in the southern region will end in late October and early November. By the end of this year, there will not be heavy rains.

So, I can say there will be no flooding in the Cuu Long Delta region. The water levels in the region and downstream of Dong Nai and Sai Gon rivers will rise with the tides.

At the end of October, the tides are forecast to raise water levels in Tan Chau Station of Tien River to 2.5m, while water levels at stations at Can Tho, My Thuan and Phu An in the Sai Gon River may reach alarming levels.

Notably, floods from upstream to the delta not only bring fresh water and alluvium, but also help to eliminate salt in the soil. Meanwhile, higher tides will bring more and more salt onto cultivated land.

The abnormal weather shows that the southern region will face more severe droughts than in previous years. Also, salt water will move 50 to 80km into the Cuu Long Delta region, and into the Dong Nai and Sai Gon rivers. — VNS

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