VietNamNet Bridge – Farmers in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region are struggling to find water to irrigate their crops as a drought that hit them early this year has caused many rivers and reservoirs to dry up.
llustrative image – Source: Internet
In Dak Nong and Dak Lak provinces, they have been able to water their coffee plants twice, but there is not much water left in rivers and reservoirs.
Every year, coffee plants have to be watered three to five times during the dry season, which lasts from November to May.
Nguyen Van Hoa of Dak Lak’s Krong Pak District said the reservoir near his coffee plantation in Hoa Dong Commune normally had plenty of water at this time of the year and would only run empty at the end of the dry season.
But this year, the reservoir has dried up after the second irrigation, he said.
The reservoir provides water for more than 100 farming households.
Many households have taken their tractors with pumps to the centre of the reservoir bed to pump water but have failed to find any, Hoa said.
In Dak Lak, rainfall in the last rainy season only reached 70 per cent of the average volume of previous years, according to the province’s Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre.
Drought has affected more than 1,600 hectares of winter-spring rice and destroyed nearly 100ha of rice in Krong Ana and Krong Bong districts, the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has reported.
In Gia Lai Province, drought has damaged nearly 8,000ha of crops, mostly corn and beans in Krong Chro, Kbang and Dak Po districts.
Hoang Trung Tho, director of the Dak Nong Irrigation Company, said that because of the low level of underground water and dried-up rivers and reservoirs, they were unable to operate many pumping stations.
To rescue rice and cash crops, the company has had to dredge the Krong No River section where its pumping stations are located, he said. It has also inserted longer pipes into the riverbed to pump water, he said.
In Dak Nong, farmers in Krong No, Cu Jut and Dak G’Long districts say that if the drought persists, all rivers, canals, ponds and reservoirs would dry up at the end of this month.
On Tuesday, hundreds of farmers in Krong No District’s Quang Phu Commune built a temporary dam across the Krong No River to retain water for rice cultivation and household use.
Meanwhile, in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta coastal provinces of Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Kien Giang and Ben Tre, saline water intrusion has been deeper than usual this dry season.
In Ben Tre, water with salt content of 0.01-3 per cent has encroached more than 10km inland from the mouth of the province’s big rivers.
Water with a salt content of 0.4 per cent is likely to enter Ben Tre City, more than 50km away from the coast, by this weekend, according to the province’s Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre.
Rice fields can be significantly damaged by water with a salt content of 0.4 per cent.
Tra Vinh Province has closed sluice gates on the banks of Hau and Co Chien rivers to mitigate saline water intrusion and protect more than 64,000ha of winter-spring rice fields and 25,000ha of aquaculture farms.
Local authorities have closed all 27 sluice gates in the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral region to prevent saline water intrusion and retain fresh water for hundreds of thousands of hectares of winter-rice crop in Kien Giang and An Giang provinces.