HANOI, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The saltwater intrusion level in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region has occurred earlier than normal and is expected to be more serious this year, Vietnam News Agency reported Tuesday.
Specifically, saltwater intrusion and drought came one month earlier compared to previous years, seriously affecting the agricultural activities and daily life of people in 12 out of 13 localities in the country's Mekong Delta region, according to the report.
It said that 32,000 hectares of rice have been affected and some 80,000 households are facing water shortage for daily life, including 24,400 households in Soc Trang province, 20,100 in Ca Mau province and 12,700 in Ben Tre province.
Localities have worked out measures to cope with the salinity encroachment and drought, including planting the 2019-2020 winter-spring rice a month earlier than usual, urging farmers to switch to drought-resistant crops, building embankments to store irrigation water as well as adding more water pipes to secure the supply of water for local residents.
Though this year's salinity intrusion and drought level may be higher than that of 2016, which saw a saltwater intrusion level record, the damages will be less serious thanks to early warnings and response measures of localities, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development was quoted as saying.
In 2016, saltwater intrusion and drought made 600,000 households in the delta suffer a shortage of daily use water and some 160,000 hectares of land in the delta salinized, posting total damage of more than 5.5 trillion Vietnamese dong (239 million U.S. dollars), according to its Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.