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Phu Yen rice crop faces drought risk

Update: July, 08/2015 - 14:28

A sad-looking farmer in Phu Yen Province squats over his parched rice crop. — Photo

PHU YEN (VNS) — Phu Yen Provinces agricultural department said thousands of hectares of the summer-autumn rice crop would face a water shortage if theres no rain in the coming days.

The department in the central coastal province said fighting drought would be one of its key tasks till the end of August.

Rice seeds have been sown and rice seedlings transplanted on 24,200ha for the summer-autumn crop in the province. Of these, the Dong Cam Agricultural Irrigation Co., Ltd, an irrigation company that provides water to paddy fields, manages 17,650ha.

Director of Dong Cam Tran Tien Anh said at present 970ha of the rice fields located downstream from the irrigation canals managed by the company were thirsting for water.

He said the water levels in the rivers and reservoirs the company exploited for feeding irrigation canals had dropped by 0.15m to 8m.

In addition to eight pumping engines, each of which is working at a capacity of 1,000cu.m per hour, the company has installed 11 more pumps that can pump 500cu.m to 1,000cu.m per hour each.

The company is working with local authorities to dig wells to get more irrigation water.

However, Tien Anh said these were only short-term measures.

"If there is no rain in the upstream areas, the area of drought-hit rice crops will increase," he said.

The provincial authority has set aside VND23 billion (US$1.6 billion) to help the rice fields fight drought.

They have also ordered the lower authorities to guide farmers on thrifty watering" methods, which means watering a rice field while leaving the adjacent one dry or alternating the watering.

As the receding water table makes way for the encroaching sea water, the provincial authority has instructed pumping stations to closely follow the tide schedule and to regularly check the level of salt in the groundwater they pump to irrigate rice crops. — VNS

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