A bell chilli farm in Lâm Đồng Province’s Lạc Dương District. – VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Dũng
LÂM ĐỒNG — The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Lâm Đồng is seeking more than VNĐ127 billion (US$5.5 million) from the Government to repair and dredge irrigation projects and water supply projects in rural areas during the peak drought season.
The province has had little or no rain in the first two months of the year, with average rainfall lower than normal, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Hydropower reservoirs in the province lack water due to an earlier than usual dry season, severe drought, and high temperatures.
The province is well-known for its vegetables and flowers, and has one of the largest coffee areas in the country.
About 25,000ha of farmland and 4,300 households in the province are expected to face water shortages if hot weather continues for a long time, according to the department.
In Đạ Tẻh District’s Đạ Pal Commune, which is the hardest-hit area in Lâm Đồng, many orchards and households are suffering from water shortages.
K’s Điệp, who has a 3ha coffee and cashew orchard in Đạ Pal, said his coffee and cashew trees were withering because of water shortage. He dug two wells last year to take irrigation water and has continued digging two ponds to store water near his orchard.
Điệp has also been pumping irrigation water, but the pumped water is insufficient for his orchard.
“If the drought lasts for two more weeks, I will lose all my harvest this year,” he said.
In Di Linh, Bảo Lâm, Đạ Huoai and Cát Tiên districts and Bảo Lộc City, farmers are buying water pumps and pipes, and digging ponds and wells to take irrigation water for crops.
Nguyễn Văn Sơn, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said localities had been told to dredge canals and build small irrigation works, and use irrigation water efficiently.
In areas far from or without irrigation works, the province had encouraged rice farmers to switch to drought-resistant crops.
To provide water for household use, the province had sped up the building of new irrigation projects and had upgraded irrigation works and clean water works, Sơn said.
The department had asked the province’s People’s Committee to allocate VNĐ8.33 billion ($360,000) to a programme that digs small ponds to help farmers cope with drought.
Under the programme, which started in 2016, farmers dig small ponds with a minimum area of 500sq.m with a capacity of at least 1,500cu.m. The ponds draw groundwater and also take water from reservoirs. – VNS