Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Farmers in the central province of Binh Dinh are struggling to
find water to irrigate their rice paddies due to severe drought.

Nguyen Duc Dieu, a farmer from Cat Hanh Commune in Phu Cat District,
said he had spent a whole day under the sun manually watering his
plants, hoping to save his 10-day-old seedlings.

“It has taken
me three days to soak the soil like this. Very little water runs down
here and I have to watch it closely,” said Dieu, pointing at his paddy.

Other farmers use pumps in an attempt to utilise underground water, but many of the pumps are ineffective.

“The reservoirs are empty, and rivers and canals have dried up. There
is not even any underground water left,” said Pham Van Trong from the
Phu Cat District People’s Committee.

Trong explained that low rainfall last year had resulted in the water shortage.

Water has all but evaporated from the Suoi Tre Reservoir in Phu Cat
District and locals can now walk from one side to the other without
getting wet, while the Hoi Son Reservoir is down to about a tenth of its
capacity.

Suoi Tre and Hoi Son are the biggest reservoirs in
the province and the main supply of water for irrigation in Phu Cat, Phu
My and adjacent districts.

They were originally lakes but
local authorities turned them into reservoirs by building sluice gates
to control the water flow.

Trong said the province has asked farmers to plant peanuts or sweetcorn instead of rice, because they need less water.

However, farmers said that peanuts will not grow because their roots will be unable to reach any water.
“Despite the risk, I’ve planted peanuts in a field that I used to
cultivate rice last year,” said farmer Nguyen Thi My Ly in Cat Hanh
Commune.

Farmer Dieu said he wants to cultivate rice because
he is worried about the effects that alternative crops will have on
the soil.

Other farmers said that there is no point in
planting peanuts in lowland areas because they will die as soon as there
is any rain.

According to the province’s Department of
Agriculture and Rural Development, there are 53,500ha of soil available
for cultivating different crops in the province for the summer-autumn
crop.

Around 12,000ha of land had been hit by the drought,
while a further 4,000ha had been left empty. Crops in the remaining area
were struggling to stay alive.

The provincial People’s
Committee has asked the Government for 100 billion VND to tackle the
drought, and the PM is expected to approve the funds in the near future.

In the meantime, rice paddies remain thirsty for water.

Local weather forecasters said that temperatures will fall and rain is
expected, but this may be too late for the rice because it needs more
water than other crops to survive.-VNA

By vivian