Financial shortfall hinders upgrade of old reservoirs

Update: July, 31/2015 - 11:11
Cay Sung reservoir in southern Khanh Hoa Province's Dien Tan Commune has deteriorated due to erosion. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Ly

KHANH HOA (VNS) — Several reservoirs in southern Khanh Hoa Province have reportedly fallen into a serious state of disrepair, leaving them unsafe, especially during the stormy season, as they may burst without warning.

However, a shortfall in finances, estimated to reach VND1 trillion (US$46 million), has hindered the provincial authorities' progress on rebuilding and upgrading the 10 reservoirs in the province.

In Dien Khanh District's Dien Tan Commune, Lang Nhot, with a capacity of 2.1 million cubic metres, and Cay Sung, with a capacity of nearly 0.5 million cubic metres, spaced several metres apart, have severely deteriorated.

The two reservoirs were built more than 30 years ago to provide irrigation water to farmland of hundreds of households in the commune. Cay Sung reservoir's dam has corroded, and many parts of it have eroded. These parts were being held up by soil alone for a while.

After several downpours, the soil eroded, settling at the bottom of the reservoir and creating a hazard for residents nearby.

Mang To, a member of the Raglai ethnic minority group living near the reservoir in Dien Tan Commune, said he only felt secure during the dry season between January and June as the reservoir contained little water.

Other reservoirs such as Da Mai, Am Chua in Dien Khanh District, Dong Bo in Nha Trang City and Suoi Trau in Ninh Hoa Township are facing the same situation.

Phan Thong, head of the provincial People's Council's Economics and Budget Committee, said the province had approved many projects to upgrade the irrigation infrastructure, especially the reservoirs built more than 10 years ago, but there was currently no capital to implement these projects.

One project to upgrade Lang Nhot reservoir was approved in October 2011, but the project has still not been implemented. Other projects to upgrade the Da Mai and Suoi Trau reservoirs won approval in October 2009 and October 2011, respectively, but they have remained in their deteriorated state.

Thong said the provincial People's Committee had proposed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development borrow money from its project of ensuring the safety of the reservoirs. The proposal is under consideration by the Government.

The council has also asked the committee to develop a plan for building irrigation infrastructure for the period 2015-25, which would mobilise capital from organisations and individuals that could be used to dredge and consolidate the reservoirs. — VNS