|Ly Son Island. — File Photo
QUANG NGAI (VNS) — Ly Son Island, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai Province - known as the Kingdom of Garlic - is experiencing a serious shortage of fresh water, seriously damaging both its onion and garlic crops.
This is due to the worst drought in the island's history - and over-exploitation of the island's ground water.
Vice-chairwoman of the island's people's committee, Pham Thi Huong, said the district had used 83 per cent of its total groundwater reserves.
"The dry weather came earlier this year and the district has warned onion and garlic farmers who dominate the island's farms that it could continue," said Huong. "We have also advised farmers to buy or make metal or concrete tanks to store water."
Huong said that the 20,000 cu.m Thoi Loi reservoir had a limited amount of water for farm and living.
Some areas could not use wells because of the salinity problem, she said.
She said nearly half of the 200 wells used for farming had become saline.
"Islanders will have a poor harvest of onions, but hope remains for the main garlic crop, which is harvested between September and February," the chairwoman said.
Ly Son island has 21,000 inhabitants. They make their living from farming garlic and onions - and fishing. The island provides 3,500 tonnes of onions and 2,000 tonnes of garlic each year.
Suggestions have been made that farmers switch to drought resistant plants, such as maize and sesame.
The district has also asked the province to build a VND100 billion (US$4.8 million) desalination station.
An Binh Islet, five kilometres away from Ly Son Island, benefits from the US$1 million desalination project.
Funded by the South Korean heavy industry group Doosan Vina, it provides 30 cubic metres of water a day. — VNS