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Park, E., Ho, H. L., Doan, V. B., & Sameh Kantosh. (2021). The worst 2020 saline water intrusion disaster of the past century in the Mekong Delta: Impacts, causes, and management implications. Ambio. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-021-01577-z
Vietnam Mekong Delta (VMD), the country's most important food basket, is constantly threatened by drought-infused salinity intrusion (SI). The SI disaster of 2020 is recognized as the worst in recent decades, hence inspiring this perspective article. The authors' viewpoints on the disaster's impacts and causes are presented. The arguments presented are mainly drawn from (i) up-to-date publications that report on the recent SI intensification in the VMD and (ii) the power spectral analysis results using water level data. We verified the intensifying SI in the VMD both in its frequency and magnitude and remarked on four of the key SI drivers: (i) upstream hydropower dams, (ii) land subsidence, (iii) the relative sea-level rise, and (iv) riverbed sand mining. Also, a non-exhaustive yet list of recommendable management implications to mitigate the negative effects of the SI is contributed. The mitigation measures must be realized at multiple scales, ranging from pursuing transboundary water diplomacy efforts to managing internal pressures via developing early warnings, restricting illegal sand mining activities, alleviating pressures on groundwater resources, and diversifying agriculture.
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