A rice field in Quảng Ngãi Province is dried up. — VNA/VNS Photo Phước Ngọc
QUẢNG NGÃI — Although it is just the beginning of the dry season, many districts in the central province of Quảng Ngãi are already suffering the effects of extremely hot weather and drought.
Many areas of agricultural land have been abandoned due to a lack of water for irrigation, while local people were also struggling.
Phổ Cường Commune of Phổ Cường Township was one of the most severely affected.
This was the hardest year, according to local people.
Up to 700ha of cultivated land has been abandoned and about 400ha of rice was at high risk of being destroyed due to the lack of water.
The local authority has implemented several temporary measures to cope with the situation.
Võ Cường, vice chairman of Phổ Cường Commune, said the commune had instructed residents to dredge canals and ditches to direct water to rice fields.
The commune asked Liệt Sơn reservoir’s management board to discharge water for 12 days, but the board agreed to discharge water for just three.
Thus, only 50-60ha of rice could be saved, said Cường.
Meanwhile, in Tịnh Long Commune of Quảng Ngãi city, the underground water level dropped sharply, so saline water intrusion was reported.
An Đạo rice field along Trà River near the Cửa Đại Seagate was badly affected by saltwater intrusion.
Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, chairman of Tịnh Long Commune, said at present there was about 15ha of rice submerged in saltwater.
The commune’s agricultural staff recommended farmers save water and adjust irrigation properly, Tuấn Anh said.
Nguyễn Mậu Văn, vice director of Quảng Ngãi Agriculture and Rural Development Department, suggested local farmers change from rice to other short-term, drought-resistant crops, which could be grown in higher areas and need less water.
The department also required localities to quickly repair damaged canals and sewers to avoid water loss and prepare for the upcoming summer-autumn rice crop, Văn said.
The province had asked the central Government to allocate VNĐ150 billion (US$6.5 million) for drought, he added.
According to statistics of the department, the current water level in 124 reservoirs in the province was 76 per cent of the level in the same period last year.
Therefore, about 7,000ha of cultivation area would suffer severe drought and 7,500 people and 9,000 livestock would not have enough water. VNS