QUANG NGAI — Inhabitants of An Binh Islet, 30km off the coast of central Quang Ngai province, will now have access to fresh water for the first time in 300 years.
The water comes from a desalination station which was put into use yesterday and will be provided free of cost to over 500 islet residents.
The South Korean heavy industry group Doosan Vina is funding the US$1 million project, which will desalinate and filter sea water to produce 200 cubic metres of fresh water each day.
The lack of fresh water in the dry season has been a burden for local people who farm the islet's two major crops, garlic and spring onion. "We have waited from generation to generation for fresh water. Our dream comes true today," said Bui Ma, a resident of An Binh islet.
"We used to save rain water in tanks, but the scant amount of water saved us from thirst for only a few months. Residents used to buy water from Ly Son Islands, 5km away, at a cost of VND180,000 per cubic metre," he said.
"Although we collected water during the rainy season from September to April, we were always thirsty in the dry season from May to August," said Nguyen Thi Chung.
"We had to save water in the dry season. All local people had to bathe in the sea and clean with fresh water. The used water was reserved for watering plants and washing clothes," she recalled.
The 1sq.km islet has yet to get access to the electric grid or the Internet, while the solar energy system only offers enough power for a few hours of light or TV. — VNS