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Over-exploitation depletes, pollutes Ca Mau water

Update: May, 06/2014 - 09:26
To draw water it has sunk 141,226 wells, but more than 2,100 have spoiled and been left unused for many years.  — Photo sggp

HCM CITY (VNS) — Massive exploitation of groundwater and thousands of unused bore wells are threatening to deplete and pollute this water source in Ca Mau Province.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province relies on rainwater and groundwater to supply its 1.3 million population.

To draw water it has sunk 141,226 wells, but more than 2,100 have spoiled and been left unused for many years, Nhan Dan (the People) newspaper reported.

The unused wells have not been filled in properly, allowing brackish and polluted water to percolate into aquifers.

They are causing a threat of pollution to the groundwater, Dang Quoc Nam, deputy head of the Water Resources Division, has warned.

The management of groundwater in the province had been lax, he said.

Only a few businesses had registered to offer well-drilling services, and the hundreds of others that drill wells around the province, especially in rural areas, were out of control, he admitted.

The huge exploitation of groundwater has caused levels to decline, according to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

In the past people drilling wells could strike water at a depth of 80-100m, but now they have to drill down to 150-200m.

Groundwater layers at depths of 100-120m are becoming polluted and saline.

Pathogens have been found at these levels in many wells in Ca Mau city and districts like Cai Nuoc, Tran Van Thoi, and U Minh.

The province has the capacity to exploit 5.8 million cubic metres of groundwater a day.

To protect groundwater resources, the province People's Committee has ordered the department and others to draft a plan for the period through 2020 to exploit them sustainably.

It also instructed the department to soon come up with measures to fill up the 2,100 unused wells.

The department should identify areas where exploitation of groundwater would be banned or restricted as well as places where they would be allowed, it said.

The department should raise awareness of protecting groundwater resources among people, it added.

In recent years Ca Mau has improved the supply of clean water in rural and remote areas to reduce the exploitation of groundwater and protect groundwater resources. — VNS

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