|A local resident of Gia Lai Province’s An Khê Town washes clothes near the An Khê–Kanak Hydroelectric Dam. — Photo tuoitre.vn
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS — The Central Highlands region is lacking water for crops and daily activities because of a lack of rainfall, and water levels at lakes and rivers have decreased drastically.
As the dry sesaon has begun in the area, many local residents are digging more wells and expanding their ponds to store water for crops.
Several irrigation works in Đắk Lắk Province are drying up and may not be able to satisfy water demand in the future. In addition, seven lakes have completely dried out.
Meanwhile, in Gia Lai Province, the Sài Gòn–An Khê water plant, which supplies water to 15,000 households, has to occasionally interrupt operations and could not supply water for four days due to the low level of the lake that provides water to the plant.
Because of the water shortage, local people sometimes have to wash their clothes and bathe near the Ba River.
The water level at the An Khê–Kanak Lake is now at at around 10 per cent of its expected capacity.
Trần Trung Thành, deputy director of the Central Highlands Centre for Hydro-Meteorology, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that at the end of February, the lack of rainfall was already severe although the dry season has just begun.
Nguyễn Văn Huấn, deputy head of the forecasting department, said that last year the rainy season ended early and did not supply enough water to rivers, lakes and groundwater.
Forecasts show that the drought will worsen in the next few months.
Nguyễn Văn Tỉnh, head of the General Department of Irrigation, said the department would work with other agencies to ensure water for agricultural activities.
Only around 20 per cent of farming areas in the Central Highlands uses water from irrigation works, and the rest relies on natural water sources, so it is important for provinces to look into ways to cope with drought and efficient crop watering.
This month, drought is expected to affect 40-60 per cent of Gia Lai Province.
Meanwhile, in the southern region, temperatures in Bình Dương, Bình Phước and Đồng Nai provinces and in HCM City could rise to more than 35 degrees Celsius in the next week. — VNS