Viet Nam

Viet Nam: Drought and Saltwater Intrusion Situation Update No. 2 (as of 14 April 2016)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Since January 2016, severe drought and saltwater intrusion is significantly affecting the livelihoods, food security and water supply of nearly 2.3 million people (MARD report, 30 March) across all provinces in South-Central, Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions.

  • To date, 39 out of 63 provinces in Vietnam have been impacted by drought, of which 34 provinces have received some support from central Government.

  • 14 provinces have declared a state of emergency.

  • In April, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, United Nations and NGOs partners conducted a joint multisector rapid assessment 6 of the most affected provinces (Ben Tre, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Kien Giang) to inform response planning.

  • Priority humanitarian needs are in the following areas: (a) provision of clean drinking water, (b) ensuring access to clean water sources, (c) containing rising cases of diseases, (d) addressing food shortages, and (e) addressing malnutrition.

Situation Overview

Ongoing drought, water shortage and saline intrusion are affecting some 2.3 million people (MARD report, 30 March) in the South-Central, Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions of the country. To date, 14 provinces have declared a State of Emergency (Binh Thuan, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Soc Trang, Ca Mau, Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, Long An, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Ninh Thuan, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu and Dak Lak).

Induced by the El Nino phenomenon, the drought in South Central Coast and Central Highland provinces has led to serious groundwater depletion in several water-scarce districts. The Mekong Delta provinces are facing saline water intrusion as a result of low water levels in the Mekong River.
In coastal areas, saltwater intrusion now reaches inland up to 90 kilometres inland in some areas, making water unfit for drinking, bathing, irrigation and livestock.

Water supply is not reaching some remote communities, commune-level clinics and schools. Increasingly this is forcing families to rely on unsafe and limited water supply from depleted and untreated ponds and rivers.

Forecast by the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (as of 8 Apr 2016)

The level of salt water intrusion in the downstream rivers of the Mekong Delta continued to increase during the past week, with highest increases recorded in Ben Tre and Tien Giang stations. Salt water intrusion levels in the downstream rivers has lessened slightly in comparison to the previous week, but levels are still higher than the annual average records in most of the hydro-met stations in the Mekong Delta.

There have been slight increases in the water levels in the wider Mekong Delta. This is likely to be due to actions by upstream countries to release additional water upstream as a result of the emergency in Viet Nam. The level in the two main stations of Mekong Delta was 0.2-0.3 meters higher than the previous week at the Sai Gon and Dinh An hydro-meteorological stations. However, water levels in the most drought affected Mekong Provinces such as Ben Tre are still significantly below seasonal averages.

Water levels in the rivers of the Central Region and Central Highlands are at a very low level at 35-60% less than the annual average records. They are particularly low in Cai and La Nga rivers where the water levels are 77-93% lower than the annual average. Drying up of the river is expected to continue in Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Lac.