Saline Intrusion, Vulnerability and Resilience in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam: A Case Study from Tien Giang Province

The Mekong River Delta, which is located in the south of Vietnam, has the highest agricultural production, not only in Vietnam but also in Southeast Asia. This area is also one of the key economic regions of Vietnam that has high population density and also a high demand for water resources for domestic and production purposes. In 2020, the Mekong River Delta had nearly 80,000 households facing difficulties in freshwater shortage, thousands of hectares of rice and vegetation died due to the salinization. This paper examines the vulnerabilities and challenges from drought and saline intrusion that communities face in Tien Giang province, one of the most affected by saline intrusion in the Mekong River Delta. This paper presents the findings of a study of the impacts of drought and saline intrusion on the socio-economic life of local people in Tien Giang province, especially the vulnerable groups in the most affected districts in the province. Qualitative data from focus group discussion and key informant interviews found that the dry season of 2019-2020 was considered to be the most fierce and complicated one since the 1990s. In the past, there were 8 months of fresh water and 4 months of salty water, but now 8 months of salty water and 4 months of fresh water. All of this has adversely affected the environment, local people’s livelihoods and community cohesion.  Unplanned and underdeveloped water infrastructures for supply, sanitation, saline intrusion, and pollution pose severe challenges to the area’s already strained adaptive capacity

Key words: Drought, saline intrusion, vulnerability, resilience, Mekong River Delta, Vietnam

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