Rising sea level caused by climate change could sink nearly 40 percent of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta by the end of the century, with negative weather conditions already taking their toll on agricultural production, scientists say.
According to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, the region's temperature could also increase by up to 3.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
The projections were released at a conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hau Giang Province on Wednesday. They were based on the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 climate change scenario.
The delta, named the rice basket of the country, has struggled with severe drought and saltwater intrusion recently.
Last year, intense El Niño conditions cut short the rainy season and saltwater intrusion came two months earlier than usual.
This year farming is being threatened as 10 of 13 provinces in the delta face water shortages. Groundwater levels in the delta have dropped by up to 0.4 meter annually.
The Cultivation Department said the region produced nearly 11 million tons of rice in the winter-spring crop, down 6 percent from the previous same period.
Scientists estimated that Vietnam’s fisheries industry will also suffer damage worth about US$25 billion in 2030 due to climate change.
Experts say to help the Mekong Delta survive climate change there has to be a wide range of measures, including planning for more effective use of water resources among the Mekong River countries and planting more mangrove forests along the coastline.