A woman in Sơn Hòa District, Phú Yên Province, carries big bottles to get clean water from the only active reservoir in the area. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Cường
PHÚ YÊN — Thousands of people living in the mountainous areas of south-central Phú Yên Province have been short of clean water amid a prolonged heatwave.
Local residents and authorities have come up with solutions to bring water to households.
Every day under the heat, Mí Ran, a resident of Sơn Định Commune, brings his household’s bottles and travels a long distance to a ground reservoir to get water.
This is the only reservoir in the area that has water. Mí Ran said three-fourths of the reservoirs have run out of water due to declining water levels of nearby streams.
Local residents have flocked to the only active reservoir to get water for their domestic activities, making the water level reduce day by day.
“I have to wait for two hours to get a can of water for my family,” Mí Ran told Vietnam News Agency.
La Lang Tiến, head of the residential cluster in Hòa Ngãi Hamlet, home to 141 households, said local residents are in dire need of clean water. Some have to wait until 1pm for water at the reservoir.
Local authorities have reminded people to keep a safe distance from each other and not to gather in a crowd near the reservoir to ensure COVID-19 protocols.
Authorities have also encouraged local people to seek water at ponds, streams for washing and reserve water from the reservoir for cooking.
According to Nguyễn Minh Hoài, secretary of Sơn Định Commune, the area is located 400m above sea level so it often lacks water in the dry season.
The dry season this year has lasted longer and has been more intense. More than 2,000 residents of the commune are in dire need of water. Some households have to buy water at a cost of VNĐ50,000 to VNĐ80,000 per cu.m.
According to Phú Yên Clean Water Company, Sơn Định Commune has a clean water supply facility invested by the national poverty reduction and hunger elimination programme. However, the water resource is declining due to the shortage of water from Hòa Bình Lake.
Since 2016, dozens of wells have been drilled to bring more water to local people but their capacity has been reduced. Due to a lack of investment, the upgrading of these projects has been suspended.
As of August 19, more than 3,200 households in Tuy An, Sơn Hòa, Đồng Xuân districts and Sông Cầu Town are lacking domestic water.
Ngô Đình Nghĩa, living in Sơn Định Commune, has pumped water from his household’s well and sold water to neighbours.
He also gives the water for free to families with disadvantaged backgrounds and ill-health.
A man in Sơn Hòa District pumps water from his family's well and sells to neighbours. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Cường
In Tuy An District, local authorities have worked with Phú Yên Urban Environmental Company to supply seven trucks of clean water to local households.
In Bình Ngọc Commune, Tuy Hòa City, three villages are in lockdown due to COVID-19. Local authorities have supplied more than 1,000 bottles of clean water and transferred them directly to every household.
Nguyễn Trọng Tùng, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said local authorities tried to encourage local people to save water and share water with each other in this difficult time.
Mobile vehicles such as fire trucks and military vehicles must be mobilised to carry water to residential areas, he said.
For the long-term, Phú Yên Province will mobilise investment from the national target programme on building new-style rural areas and other sources to build water supply facilities, especially in areas lacking access to clean water and ethnic minority areas, he said. — VNS