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Incomplete irrigation project leaves thousands in water crisis

Update: May, 29/2015 - 17:28
Thousands of households resettled for the Ban Chat hydropower project face water shortage due to snail - slow irrigation project. — Photo

LAI CHAU (VNS) — An irrigation project worth hundreds of billions of dong that has failed to become operational on time has affected some 1,000 households in Than Uyen District, Lai Chau Province.

The construction of the VND300 billion (US$14 million) irrigation work started in 2009 and was to become functional a year later. However, six years have gone by, and local people, who were resettled here for Ban Chat hydropower project in the district, still don't have sufficient water for agricultural purposes.

According to Than Uyen District's Hydropower Resettlement Management Board, there are two main reasons why the project has been held up. Firstly, the Electricity of Viet Nam had been unable to arrange enough funds for the project even after two years since the construction started. Secondly, site allocation at the other end [the water source] of Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, had been progressing rather slowly.

This affected the progress of work on the irrigation project in Than Uyen District.

"The project involves the administrative border between Lai Chau and Yen Bai provinces. On April 27, we officially received a final decision on compensation options for site clearance for Nam Mo irrigation project from My Cang Chai District authorities," said Bui Van Chinh, deputy head of the Hydropower Resettlement Management Board.

The irrigation project has been progressing five years behind schedule. Relevant authorities have affirmed that the project will be completed this year, according to e-paper

The e-paper also reported that all the obstacles to the project's completion have been cleared and work has been stepped up and is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

Until then, ethnic minorities in the area will have to rely on rains for their rice crop. Water shortage has prevented them from cultivating two crops annually.

"We are badly in need of water. Without water we cannot have two rice crops a year," said Giang A Khay, a resident of Ta Mung Commune, Thanh Uyen District. — VNS

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