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Buon Ma Thuot reels from water shortage

Update: May, 12/2011 - 13:37
Dac Min Lake in Buon Don District, in central Dac Lac Province dries out after a severe drought this year. Other lakes in the province are barely a third full. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

Dac Min Lake in Buon Don District, in central Dac Lac Province dries out after a severe drought this year. Other lakes in the province are barely a third full. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

DAK LAK — More than 50,000 families in Buon Ma Thuot City in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak are facing a severe water shortage because of prolonged drought.

Since April 15 the local water supplier, the Dak Lak Construction Investment and Water Supply Company, has cut off supply once every three days, Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper reported.

Le Thi Huong, owner of a boarding house on Y Nue Street, said: "[Even] when there is tap water, the pressure is very low. We cannot store enough water for use when the supply is cut off.

"For tenants, I have to pump water from a bore well that was dug more than 10 years ago and has become polluted."

Other residents said they have to stay up very late and get up early to be able to get a few buckets of water from the tap.

Tran Van Thien, the company director, said the city water-supply system had a capacity of 49,000cu.m a day but it now only pumped 35,000-37,000cu.m from 27 bore wells and three open wells because of the drought, meeting just 70 per cent of demand.

When it was built 10 years ago, the city had only 25,000 families. The number of households registering for tap water had since increased to more than 52,000, fully stretching the system.

In the absence of sustained heavy rains in the upcoming days, the supply cut would last until the end of this month.

The Tay Nguyen region now faces the most severe draught in the last five years. According to scientists, its average annual rainfall has reduced by 2 per cent since 30 years ago.

New water supply

2009 the company had submitted to the province authorities a proposal to draw 15,000cu.m of water per day from the city's Ea Chu Cap Lake and Ea Nhai Lake in Krong Pac District.

Thien said: "At first the lake management companies did not agree because they were afraid of running out of water for coffee plants. Recently they agreed."

The project, to cost VND90 billion (US$4.2 million), cannot be completed before the end of this year, he said.

In 2009 the company had proposed another water-supply project at a cost of $24 million with funding from the Asian Development Bank.

To supply 35,000cu.m a day, the project will draw water from the Serepok River.

It was recently approved by the Government and would take at least two years to complete, Thien added.— VNS

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