Impacts of saline water intrusion on the daily lives in the Mekong Delta Viet Nam

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Soil and Environment

Abstract: We conducted a field study in the coastal province of Ben Tre, Viet Nam. Saline intrusion is a realityfor people living in this province and one objective of our study was to ask for views andconsequences of this phenomenon. The study was conducted by making qualitative interviews withfarmers and various authorities in the province during the spring of 2011. Water samples werecollected and the total electrical conductivity was measured in order get an understanding of therange of saline levels in the region. The study was done in cooperation with Can Tho University, VietNam and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.The majority of the interviewees regarded saltwater intrusion to be a problem and a challenge.Problematic features observed in the study were for instance that the levels of salinity had increasedduring the last several years and that saltwater had intruded further into the province during thattime. Farmers expressed their concern that there was little they could do to change their situation.Answers received from our interviews differed between farmers and local authorities with respect totheir way of communication. This calls for a development and strengthening of the cooperation andcommunication between local authorities, researchers and farmers. Adaptations and measures thathave been taken into account during the past several years include the building of dams andinstalling of gates. Switches of cropping systems have been frequent in the area with a significantrate of change from rice cultivation to integration of shrimp and prawn cultivation by using ricevarieties with a short rotation period. In order to obtain a lasting improvement we believe that aholistic and long-term approach is necessary to minimize the negative impacts of saline intrusion.

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