2020 Mekong Delta struggles to find freshwater

Water is now as precious as gold, so I have to carry them carefully. It would be a sin to waste even a single drop of water that people have brought here from hundreds of kilometers away

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People in Ben Tre and Tien Giang provinces are relying on freshwater supplied by trucks since salt intrusion in rivers has made tap water unpotable.

In Ben Tre, like much of the rest of the Mekong Delta, drought and saltwater have rendered rivers and canals barren or too salty. Thousands of people lack water as a result and have to buy it for VND100,000-300,000 ($4.26-12.78) per cubic meter. Some individuals and businesses are pitching in and providing water to people free of charge.

The Ben Tre fire department also deployed two trucks to transport water from it to many places around the province.
The Ben Tre fire department also deployed two trucks to transport water from it to many places around the province.
A fireman works the pipes to unload water from one of the trucks.

A business in Binh Duong Province, which neighbors Saigon, dispatched a barge with 1,200 cubic meters of water (pictured) to Ben Tre’s Ward 7 to fill two reservoirs on March 15.

Drought and salt intrusion are especially bad in the Mekong Delta this year, even worse than in 2016, which was an annus horribilis. Some 40,000 hectares of paddy have been damaged, and 95,000 families lack water for daily use. Five delta provinces, Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang, and Ca Mau, have declared an emergency.

The drought would last through April, experts have warned.

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