Salt intrusion hits 100,000 Mekong Delta families

By Hoang Nam   March 7, 2024 | 03:14 pm PT
Salt intrusion hits 100,000 Mekong Delta families
Aerial view of the Nguyen Tan Thanh Channel in Tien Giang. Photo by VnExpress/Do Hung
Salt intrusion at several rivers and streams in the Mekong Delta provinces of Ben Tre and Tien Giang has driven salinity levels up to 2.2-5/1,000, affecting the lives of over 100,000 families.

Dang Hoang Lam, director of the Ben Tre Province Hydro-Meteorological Station, said on Tuesday that salinity levels in rivers of Ben Tre City have reached 5/1,000.

And salinity levels are expected to increase over the next 2-7 days, he added.

The usual salinity level for edible water is 0.5/1,000. Water with higher salinity levels should not be used for cooking, and once the salinity levels reach very high levels (around 3/1,000), they should not be used for showering and laundry over risks of ruining washing machines and water heaters.

The My Hoa Station, located around 48 km away from the estuary, recorded salinity levels of 10/1,000 at the highest.

Increased salinity levels have affected over 50,000 families in the area. Due to the salt intrusion, the Ben Tre Water Supply and Sewerage company has pumped raw water from upstream for treatment and provision to families in Ben Tre. Water provision units also drew up plans to use barges to transport uncontaminated water from other places.

In Tien Giang, the provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention, Search and Rescue said salinity levels along the Tien river section in My Tho City have reached 2.2-3.2/1,000, which is higher than the same period last year. The increased salinity levels have impacted over 51,000 families.

As the My Tho City water treatment plant is not currently in operation, the water provision unit has to deliver clean water from factories upstream instead.

This dry season, salt intrusion has been expected to be more severe and last longer than in previous years. The phenomenon has already affected river systems in Ben Tre in the past, affecting the lives of tens of thousands of families. In Tien Giang, the gates of the Nguyen Tan Thanh channel, the second-largest one of its kind in the Mekong Delta, had to be closed down a week early to prevent the salt from contaminating freshwater sources.

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