Drought has occurred early this year in the Central Highlands causing water shortage to hit residents and thousands of hectares of rice and coffee plants.
Ethnic minority people extract water from the dry IamaLah Spring in Krong Pa District, Gia Lai Province
Water level on rivers and reservoirs has fallen and is much lower than average level of several years in Dak Lak and Dak Nong Provinces. If the scorching weather continues until the end of March, vast areas of rice and coffee plants will be threatened.
Drought has never come as early as in this year in Dak Lak, where 2,000 hectares of rice are parched and more than 100 hectares have been burnt.
H’jul Adrơng, a resident in Ea Bong Commune in Krong Ana District, said that her family cultivated a 1,000 square meter rice field but it has been burnt due to the scorching weather. She now cuts the dead rice to feed her cattle and catch shellfish for sale to purchase rice.
The Dak Lak Water Supply and Construction Company can supply water for only one third of population in Buon Ma Thuot City. The water supply is also short of 5,000-10,000 cubic meters a day in Krong Pak District and Buon Ho Town.
Dak Nong Province is also struggling with drought. Local residents have to dam Krong No River to take water for 120 hectares of rice and coffee plants in Quang Phu Commune, Krong No District.
According to the Irrigation Exploitation Company in Dak Nong, 28 hectares of rice have been burnt and 50 hectares are undergoing severe drought in Krong No District. Most reservoirs have fallen to the dead level. Dak Mam Reservoir with capacity of one million cubic meters is depleted in Nam Da Commune. Similar condition can be seen in Dak Song and Dak Mil Districts.
Meantime, residents are looking forward to rain every day in Gia Lai Province. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that drought has damaged more than 8,000 hectares of plantations in Kbang, Dak Po, Kong Chro, Ia Pa Districts and An Khe Town.
Kong Chro District is badly hit, water supply plants can meet only 40-50 percent of demand while 75 percent of wells have showed their bottoms.
Drought has affected nearly 3,000 hectares of plants. Of which 1,136 have suffered complete loss while the remaining areas see productivity fall by 30-50 percent.
Tran Van Quang, a resident in An Trung Commune, said that his corn plant fields were about to be harvested but withered all.
In Kon Tum Province, irrigation reservoirs are likely to run depleted in the next few days. Coffee plants have begun to experience water shortage on wide areas. Several rivers and springs have dried up. The water level on Dak Bla River has receded to lowest level over the last 37 years in Kon Tum City.