Viet Nam News
GIA LAI — This Central Highland province’s steering committee met leading experts in water management, forestry and power plants on Friday, to discuss measures to deal with drought in the region and water reserves.
The one-day workshop looked at the causes and impact of the average annual loss of 51,200ha of forests as well as the impact of power plants’ dams and reservoirs built on Srepok and Sesan on local livelihood, environment and water resources.
The participants at the workshop also had a closer look at the fast and unplanned growth of plantations of commercial trees such as pepper, rubber, coffee and cashew, which had led to increased deforestation in the highlands over the past few decades.
All the three above-mentioned causes had converted areas such as the Central Highlands that once had plenty of water into drought-hit regions that face a crisis every year.
This year’s drought is the worst in 20 years, which has made rivers, streams and underground water sources to dry up, experts said at the workshop.
A report released by the agriculture and rural development ministry in April this year said 160,000ha of plants faced critical shortage of water, causing economic losses of about VNĐ100 billion each in Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Đắk Nông and Đắk Lắk, besides Lâm Đồng.
Panel discussions focused on climate change and the impact of the El Nino phenomenon and possible threats to the region in the coming years.
The meeting of 150 participants, including local residents and representatives from Electricity of Việt Nam and the Việt Nam Rubber Corporation, aimed to reach conclusions that could help to enhance water security in the region.
The steering committee for the Central Highlands is a central government body that specialises in monitoring the political and socio-economic balance of the region. — VNS