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River Deltas Are ‘Drowning’

Posted on 18 December 2019

Ever thought a river could drown? Well, new research has shown that many of the world’s river deltas are, in fact, doing just that. 

Some of the biggest deltas include the Ganges in India, the Chao Praya in Thailand and the Yangtze in China. All of these, along with other deltas around the world, are incredibly valuable because they’re home to unique ecosystems, plus they’re important parts of food production. The Mekong delta in Vietnam, for example, produces 20% of the world’s rice. 

A lot of groundwater is being extracted from underneath deltas to hydrate crops and supply people with water. This is making the support structures below deltas crumble – causing them to sink and ‘drown’. Combined with the already rising sea levels generated by the climate crisis, the relative sea level is climbing even faster. This is especially troubling for the people that live around major deltas, as well as the ecosystems that live within them.  

Experts think the sediment systems that support river deltas need to be better managed to stop them from sinking and ‘drowning’.