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Mekong residents waste groundwater

Update: March, 28/2013 - 10:40
A woman pumps water from a well in Tham Don Commune, Soc Trang Province. The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta's groundwater quality and quantity have declined due to over exploitation for daily life and business use. — VNA/VNS Hoang Hai

CUU LONG DELTA (VNS)— The Mekong Delta groundwater's quality and quantity have declined due to local residents' over exploitation for daily life and business use.

There are more than 400,000 household bore wells besides hundreds of water-supply stations that draw groundwater in the region. The water is also used for agricultural production and aquatic cultivation.

Tran Van Ho in Soc Trang Province's Vinh Chau Town said he used water from his family's 110-meter deep bore well to irrigate vegetables and watermelons.

"Without this bore well, my family could not produce anything," he said.

Duong Quoc Viet, head of the Soc Trang Sub-department of Irrigation and Flood and Storm Prevention and Control, said groundwater was being used wastefully.

Of the used groundwater, only 20 per cent irrigates crops and the rest just flows away.

The province has told people to use a drip irrigation method, but local residents ignore the method.

Because there is not enough water for household use and production, the province has found it difficult to ban bore well use.

Soc Trang has more than 78,000 household bore wells, according to the province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

In Bac Lieu Province's rural areas, groundwater is being used extensively, said the province's Centre for Clean Water and Rural Environmental Sanitation for Rural Areas. Bac Lieu has nearly 6,200 bore wells.

Dr. Le Anh Tuan of Can Tho University's Research Institute for Climate Change said the exploitation of groundwater in the Delta on a large scale could lead to land depression.

Sea water levels are already rising, according to Nguyen Ngoc Tran, director of the Cuu Long Delta Development Research Institute.

The Bac Lieu Centre for Clean Water and Rural Environmental Sanitation for Rural Areas said groundwater contains alum and salt. Bac Lieu water quality has declined in general.

The water level of many bore wells in Bac Lieu has fallen by 10-12 metres over the last few years, according to the National Observation Centre.

In Soc Trang Province, the groundwater level has also fallen by 0.5-1 metres a year.

Tran Van Thanh, deputy director of the Soc Trang Province Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the province's groundwater contained too much alum and iron.

The department has issued warnings to the public, asking them to not use groundwater for irrigation.

Because many abandoned bore wells had not been filled properly, the water has become polluted. — VNS


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