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Hydrogeologic reconnaissance of the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam and Cambodia

January 1, 1978

The present report describes the results of a hydrogeologic reconnaissance in the Mekong Delta region by the writer, a hydrogeologist of the U.S. Geological Survey, while on assignment as an adviser to the Vietnamese Directorate of Water Supply from October 1968 to April 1970 under the auspices of the U.s. Agency for International Development. The delta of the Mekong River, comprising an area of about 70,000 square kilometres in South Vietnam and Cambodia, is an almost featureless plain rising gradually from sea level to about 5 metres above sea level at its apex 300 kilometres inland.

Most of the shallow ground water in the Holocene Alluvium of the delta in Vietnam is brackish or saline down to depths of 50 to 100 metres. Moreover, in the Dong Thap Mu?oi (Plain of Reeds) the shallow ground water is alum-bearing. Locally, however, perched bodies of fresh ground water occur in ancient beach and dune ridges and are tapped by shallow dug wells or pits for village and domestic water supply. The Old Alluvium beneath the lower delta contains freshwater in some areas, notably in the Ca Mau Peninsula and adjacent areas, in the viciniy of Bau Xau near Saigon, and in the Tinh Long An area. Elsewhere in the lower delta both the Holocene and Old Alluvium may contain brackish or saline water from the land surface to depths of as much as 568 metres, as for example in Tinh Vinh Binh. Ground water in the outcrop area of Old Alluvium northwest of Saigon is generally fresh and potable, but high iron and low pH are locally troublesome.

Although considerable exploratory drilling for ground water down to depths of as much as 568 metres has already been completed, large areas of the delta remain yet to be explored before full development of the ground-water potential can be realized. With careful development and controlled management to avoid saltwater contamination, however, it is estimated that freshwater aquifers could provide approximately 80 percent of existing needs for village and small municipal supplies in the delta.

Publication Year 1978
Title Hydrogeologic reconnaissance of the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam and Cambodia
DOI 10.3133/wsp1608R
Authors Henry R. Anderson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water Supply Paper
Series Number 1608
Index ID wsp1608R
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse