The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is a fertile and economically important area in Southeast Asia that is also known as Vietnam's 'rice bowl'. It is one of the largest deltas in the world. The area is subsiding at a rate of 1-4 centimetres a year, and the Vietnamese are increasingly feeling the impact: more flooding and the increasing salinisation of groundwater and surface water. If Vietnam does nothing and continues down the same road, parts of the delta will subside by almost a metre in the next thirty years, putting most of the area below sea level.
A rapidly increasing population and economic development are driving a rapid increase in water consumption. The extraction of groundwater for drinking water, agriculture, and fish and shrimp farms is largely responsible for the severe subsidence in this low-lying area.