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Potable water scarcity hits Nghe An families

Update: July, 20/2015 - 09:39
A resident uses rain water for cooking in Quynh Luu District of Nghe An Province. Thousands of inhabitants in two of its districts of the province still face a severe clean water shortage. — Photo tienphong.vn

NGHE AN (VNS) — Despite the VND7-billion (US$320,000) clean water project Nghe An Province implemented five years ago, thousands of inhabitants in two of its districts still face a severe clean water shortage, the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

In 2010, the government sponsored 90 per cent of the project, which built new water pipes to supply clean water to poor households in coastal communes. Each resident had to contribute VND350,000 to VND400,000.

However, locals still pray for rain so they can have enough clean water during this prolonged drought. In order to cook their meals, many people have to pay VND70,000-100,000 to buy a cubic meter of water. They have to use salt water for other daily activities. Meanwhile, they worry that fresh water supplied by such vendors is not safe, as it may have been drawn from wells and not treated at water filtration plants.

An increasing number of residents have been diagnosed with cancer, local man Nguyen Huu Huynh said.

Previously, Quynh Luu Water-supply Ltd was in charge of providing clean water for families in Quynh Luu District. However, it has stopped providing it.

"Our water sources are also very limited and we could not provide water to all communes – just to some limited areas," said Hoang Van Chuong, the company's director. "In other communes, the water pipes were damaged and polluted since there was not enough water to make them operate. So it has become even more difficult to give them water."

Many households in the two districts have had to build cisterns to store rainwater.

Nguyen Viet Man, chairman of Dien Bich Commune's People's Committee, said that after a clean water project was finished in his commune, the water pipes providing clean water were destroyed by a newly built road, leaving 12,000 residents without clean water.

"We do not only suffer from a water shortage, but also a money shortage," said Hoang Danh Lai, chairman of Quynh Luu district's People's Committee. "We sent requests several times to the provincial People's Committee, and asked big enterprises to invest in and build water-supply plants. But we are still waiting for their answers."

In June, Nghe An's People's Committee announced a state of emergency across the province for the first time, due to a prolonged, severe drought during this year's summer-autumn crop.

Most of the reservoirs have dried up, with water volumes standing at about 20 to 30 percent of their designed capacity. Pumping stations along the province's largest river, the Lam River, no longer work. — VNS

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