Understanding Dry and Wet Conditions in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta Using Multiple Drought Indices: A Case Study in Ca Mau Province

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Globally, hydrometeorological hazards have large impacts to agriculture output, as well as
human well-being. With climate change derived increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions,
the situation has becoming more severe. This study strives to evaluate both dry and wet conditions
in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD), also known as the rice basket of the Southeast Asian region.
Different meteorological parameters from the last three decades were used to develop drought
indices for Ca Mau province to investigate their impact on agricultural output. For this purpose,
the standard precipitation index (SPI), the agricultural rainfall index (ARI), and the standardized
precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) were used in this study. Results highlight that Ca
Mau has a peculiar characteristic of the whole VMD in that dry periods persist well into the wet
season extending the duration of drought events. The role of storms, including tropical storms, and
El Niño cannot be ignored as extreme events, which both change humidity, as well as rainfall. It is
also found that the drought situation has caused significant damage to both rice and shrimp outputs
in almost 6000 hectares. The assessment contributes to an improved understanding of the pattern
of unpredictable rainfall and meteorological anomaly conditions in Ca Mau. The findings of this
paper are important for both policymakers and practitioners in designing more robust plans for water
resource management.

Huynh Vuong Thu
Tran Van
Dinh Van
Tran Gia