Commune thrives after dam safety efforts

July 11, 2024 - 09:51
With their livelihoods largely dependent on agriculture, farming and water management have always been a priority for Vân Trục Commune's residents.
The 172ha Vân Trục Lake provides irrigation water for 13 communes in Lập Thạch District of Vĩnh Phúc Province, including Vân Trục. — Photo

VĨNH PHÚC — Previously suffering the devastating consequences of floods, Vân Trục Commune in Vĩnh Phúc Province is now seeing remarkable progress thanks to the safety brought by reinforced dams and reservoirs.

With their livelihoods largely dependent on agriculture, farming and water management have always been a priority for local residents, especially after the heavy floods in 1971.

Recalling the incident, Phạm Văn Hùng said: “It had been raining heavily that year, the reservoir’s water level rose quickly. Even with the main spillway opened, the dam was still at risk of overflowing, so they had to open an auxiliary one.

“The water was led directly to the rice fields because there are mountains on both sides of the stream. Everything was swept away, there was nothing left,” he told Nông nghiệp (Agriculture) newspaper.

While the floods did not cause any casualties, more than 20 hectares of crops, which were already near harvest season, were lost. The damage was also long-term as all the rich, nutrient topsoil had been washed away, leaving behind heavy clay soil.

Local farmer Nguyễn Thị Đường said: “After dam water was released, I went to my rice fields and did not even know where to begin.

“There was nothing left, everything was swept away that it was even difficult to locate your own paddy fields, as even the banks between them had broken down.

“We had to reshape our fields and make green manures from leaves to improve soil fertility.”

Fully aware of the devastation that a dam water release can cause, locals agreed with the authorities that the consequences of a broken dam could be even more severe.

In this scenario, the amount of water in the reservoir at that time could submerge not only Vân Trục but also the neighbouring areas, according to Vũ Đình Thọ, the chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee.

While the flood was a sombre memory for local people, it also served as a reminder for them to ensure dam and reservoir safety.

Now, Vân Trục Lake is the source of irrigation water for not only the commune but also other areas in the district.

Water for irrigation is managed periodically based on crop growth stages for optimal water management, said Thọ.

Apart from its 120 hectares of rice fields, Vân Trục Commune also has approximately 300 hectares of fruit trees and vegetables.

Taking advantage of the irrigation water system, red dragon fruits have become a leading crop in local agricultural production.

Not only playing a crucial role in rice cultivation, Vân Trục Lake also brings aquaculture benefits. Local estimates show that around three tonnes of fish are harvested daily.

“In the future, the lake is also planned as a space for tourism activities, which are expected to bring significant economic benefits to the commune,” said Thọ.

To maintain and develop the local economy, water management and particularly reservoir safety is identified as a top priority through structure reinforcement projects.

As the rainy season nears each year, local authorities increase their inspection and patrols.

Every year, they devise plans, response scenarios as well as resource and human allocation in response to thunderstorms and floods, according to the commune’s People’s Committee’s chairman.

When water must be released from the dam, officers will set up warning signs and barriers to ensure the safety of local people. — VNS