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Central provinces grapple with increasing droughts

Update: April, 22/2014 - 08:26
Electrical engineers check the power safety of a pump in central Quang Tri Province's My Thuy Commune. Central provinces are pumping more water and building dams to cope with drought and prevent sea water from penetrating further inland, a report says. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha

HA NOI — Falling water levels in several rivers and increasing salinity intrusion have authorities in the central region scrambling for solutions, local reports say.

A report in the Ha Noi Moi newspaper yesterday said that the central city of Da Nang and its neighbouring Quang Nam Province were pumping more water and building dams to cope with drought and prevent sea water from penetrating further inland.

It cited the Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre for Central Region as saying water levels had decreased sharply in the Vu Gia River, one of the two biggest rivers that flow through Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province, as well as other smaller rivers.

Water flow in the Cai River, one of three tributaries of the Gia River, had reached just six per cent of its average flow of the season in four previous years.

In the lower sections of the rivers in the region, sea water penetration had been stronger and happened earlier than usual, depriving millions of local residents of clean water for daily use and cultivation, the centre said.

It added that drought is threatening hundreds of hectares of summer-autumn rice crop in Da Nang's Ngu Hanh Son and Hoa Vang districts.

Le Duy Vong, director of the Irrigation, Storm Prevention and Control Division under the Da Nang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that for the past four years, the city lacked water by the end of the winter-spring crop and the problem had worsened for the summer-autumn crop.

He said the main reason for this was falling water levels in the Vinh Dien River.

Small reservoirs in the city were likely to run out of water for the summer-autumn crop, Vong said.

Nguyen Truong Anh, director of the Da Nang Water Supply Company (DAWCO), said that the Cau Do Water Plant in the southern area of the city, the only supplier for the city, had been dealing with a depleting water sources.

To supplement its supply, the city would build a new water plant in Hoa Vang District's Hoa Lien Commune, taking water from the Cu De River, Anh said. Construction of the first phase of the plant, which would have a capacity of 1,200cu.m per day, is expected to cost US$30 million, he added.

DAWCO was also pumping more water from the An Trach Pumping Station, which is 8km away from the Cau Do Water Plant, to supply residents, Anh said.

Saline intrusion

Meanwhile, Duy Xuyen District in the central province of Quang Nam has been taking measures since the beginning of this month to mitigate the impacts of drought including sea water penetration.

Van Ba Nam, director of the district's Agriculture and Rural Development Division, said that by the end of the winter-spring crop, water levels in three big reservoirs - Vinh Trinh, Thach Ban and Phu Loc – was between 1-2m lower than in the same period last year.

If this situation persists, water pumping stations in nearby rivers would lack water and sea water would penetrate deeply into the mainland at high concentrations, Nam said.

Last month, the district began building a dam across the Vinh Dien River in order to prevent further salinity incursion into the province. — VNS

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