The Mekong Delta is the most important food production area in Vietnam. The region, lying in the coastal area, is naturally prone to saltwater intrusion, a problem aggravated by the recently more frequent droughts occurring during the dry season (December-April). Eight of twelve provinces in the Mekong Delta region are reported to be at risk. In January 2020 the province of Ben Tre has declared an environmental emergency due to the degree of the intrusion. Damages to farming areas are expected to be less serious than those that occurred in 2015-2016, as authorities and farmers have taken measures to cope with the situation in the 2019-2020 dry season, such as early rice plantation, embankments to store irrigation water, new water pipes and upgraded irrigation systems.