Central Vietnam province hit by severe drought

hotamon00163011588824818-15888-7691-6693-1588857104_r_680x408 People walk in the dried up Ta Mon irrigation lake in Ham Thuan Nam District in Binh Thuan Province, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Quoc.

08 May 20 VN Express International Souce Binh Thuan Province has declared a state of emergency after drought affected over 97,000 residents and depleted irrigation water.

The declaration, signed by Nguyen Ngoc Hai, chairman of the Binh Thuan Province People's Committee on Thursday, stresses the importance of damage control and the supply of sufficient water for daily use.

Rainfall, which came late this year, has been low. Since the end of January, rivers and streams have dried out across Binh Thuan, home to popular beach town Mui Ne.

Levels of groundwater have also significantly dropped. Wells in the area have been nearly depleted of water, some experiencing cases of saltwater intrusion.

The irrigation system is also under pressure, with only about 27.4 million cubic meters of water remaining, less than 11 percent of designed capacity. Water levels are only one third the normal average, or 31 percent compared to those observed during the historic 2016 drought.

Locals in Thuan Hoa Commune of Ham Thuan Bac District, Binh Thuan dig a well as the province is hit by severe drought, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Quoc

According to Binh Thuan authorities, farmers do not have enough water for production purposes. During the winter-spring rice crop, the entire province saw a loss of over 15,400 hectares of rice to ensure enough water for domestic consumption and perennial crops.

Currently, perennial crop hubs in Bac Binh, Ham Thuan Bac, Ham Thuan Nam and Ham Tan districts do not have enough irrigation water. Thousands of hectares of dragon fruit have shown a significant decrease in size, while many gardens have withered, causing heavy losses among local farmers.

According to a Department of Agriculture and Rural Development report, Binh Thuan, comprising 38 communes, wards and towns, suffered from a shortage of water for daily use from the end of April, affecting over 97,000 residents.

Elsewhere in Vietnam, Mekong Delta has also been hit by the biggest drought ever. Kenh Lap, the largest local reservoir, has dried up, while six provinces have declared states of emergency due to drought and saline invasion.
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