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Drought, saltwater dry up Mekong Delta’s largest reservoir

Update: April, 30/2020 - 03:00


The Kênh Lấp Reservoir in Bến Tre Province’s Ba Tri District is drying up because of the impact of drought and saltwater intrusion. – VNA/VNS Photo Huỳnh Phúc Hậu

BẾN TRE – The Kênh Lấp Reservoir in Bến Tre Province, the largest in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, is drying up due to drought and saltwater intrusion, leaving thousands of households facing a water shortage.  

The reservoir in Ba Tri District is nearly 5km long and 40 -100m wide. It used to be a canal running into the Ba Lai River, and was converted into a reservoir last year.

It has a capacity of more than 800,000cu.m and supplies water to 200,000 people in the district.  

Trần Văn Thanh of Ba Tri’s Phước Ngãi Commune said after the reservoir was built he did not have to buy freshwater for feeding cows and household use at the beginning of the ongoing dry season last year.

But the reservoir is drying up and he cannot draw water from it any longer, he said.

He now has to buy water or get it from free water supply sites in the commune, he said.  

Hồ Văn Thương, deputy head of the district’s Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said because of prolonged drought and saltwater intrusion since the end of last year, all the water in the reservoir has been drawn and it has little left.

It has not received water since January 10 because the 9A Canal, which supplies it water, was affected by saltwater intrusion.

Ba Tri has more than 11,000 households facing a water shortage because all 12 water supply plants and pumping stations in the district have been affected by saltwater intrusion, according to its People’s Committee.  

The committee has called on donations of water, containers and purifiers to help local people overcome the crippling shortage.  

Donors have provided thousands of cubic metres of freshwater and more than 5,000 containers, funded drilling of more than 100 wells and installed 66 purifiers for filtering saltwater in public places to provide free water to locals.  

Bến Tre is one of the delta’s coastal provinces facing severe saltwater intrusion.

It is expected to last until May, according to the province’s Centre for Hydro-Meteorology Forecasting. – VNS

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