A public well in Hòn Mấu (Mấu Isle) is drying up. A local resident is taking the last drops. — VNA/VNS Photo by Lê Huy Hải
Kiên Giang – Seven hundred households in Nam Du Archipelago of Kiên Hải District in southern Kiên Giang Province are facing serious shortage of fresh water, reported online newspaper Vietnamplus.
The islanders are suffering at a peak time of the dry season which causes severe shortage of fresh water affecting people’s lives and production.
Unlike previous years, when the dry season lasted from February to April, this year’s dry season was forecast to last until June. So, the shortage of fresh water was predicted to be more serious, the newspaper said.
Trần Văn Du, vice head of Nam Du Commune said that in the early days of the dry season, the residents of Nam Du bought water from the neighbouring commune of An Sơn at VNĐ70,000 to VNĐ100,000 (US$3.5 to $5) per cubic metres (cu.m).
But when the dry season peaked, neighbouring communes also suffered water shortage, so the locals of Nam Du Commune had to pay VNĐ200,000 (nearly $10) per cu.m for fresh water brought to them from the mainland. The price was expected to rise.
The six public wells in the commune have been drying up since last month. Some households have spent millions of đồng on digging their own wells, but they have failed to find any fresh water sources. Most of the water sources here were known to be extremely saline, Du said.
At present, thousands of locals were saving every drop of water for their daily use.
Nguyễn Thiện Hải, a local resident, said, “We residents consider water more precious than gold.”
“Even if you have a lot of money, you cannot buy fresh water whenever you want to. You just have to wait for the water to be shipped from the mainland once a week. Sometimes, the locals have to scramble for water along with the others,” Hải said.
“At the moment, most households in Hòn Ngang (Ngang Isle) and Hòn Mấu (Mấu Isle) wash their clothes every 5 to 7 days. They have made use of every drop of fresh water,” he added.
Many other families have to use fresh water leaking from the mountains or wash clothes with seawater.
Due to the lack of fresh water, many people used unsafe water which would cause various diseases.
This was a cause for concern for the local authority and people.
To help the islanders overcome the dry season, the commune has called for funds from charitable organisations to each household for 4 to 5 plastic containers to preserve rainwater.
However, even the water was just enough during the early months of the dry season.
Du said the Nam Du Commune was established in 2005 but the projects to supply fresh water to the commune were still only on the paper.
Recently, an investor conducted an investigation to build a system of fresh water tanks and pipes to every household in Ngang Isle, Du said.
The project, which is expected to be completed next year, will help people survive in the dry season, he said.
Nam Du archipelago consists of 21 islands and isles belonging to 2 communes of Nam Du and An Sơn with a total area of more than 1,000 hectares. The archipelago’s 14,000 people are living on 11 islands. But most of them live on Hòn Lớn (Lớn Isle) of An Sơn Commune, and Hòn Ngang (Ngang Isle) and Hòn Mấu (Mấu Isle) of Nam Du Commune.
Nam Du Archipelago, now, is an ideal tourism destination. Since February, more than 15,000 tourists have visited the island.
The severe shortage of fresh water would be a hurdle when it comes attracting tourists, Du said. – VNS