Making news

Central Highlands faces water scarcity

Although the dry season has yet to reach its peak, many reservoirs in the Central Highlands have recorded seriously receded water levels, leading to water scarcity for agriculture.

According to the Central Highlands hydro-meteorological station, the rainfall in this region in 2018 was equivalent to only about 60 – 70 percent of the annual average.

Water levels in some local reservoirs are currently much lower than in previous years. Notably, the level is almost 22 metres lower than the annual average in the Ka Nak hydro-power reservoir in Gia Lai province, meaning less than 10 percent of this lake’s water storage capacity is full.

Meanwhile, the long dry season is still to come and the rainy season this year is forecast to arrive late. Water scarcity in the east of Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces is likely to be very serious, the station said.

Head of Dak Lak’s irrigation division Nguyen Thanh Long said there are 246 irrigation reservoirs and dams in his province. So far, water levels in 53 reservoirs are at less than 50 percent of their storage capacity, and some lakes have begun to dry up.

In Dak Nong province, water scarcity is also severe. Dak Ken irrigation reservoir in Dak Lao commune, Dak Mil district, that serves about 1,000 ha of coffee trees has also dried out. Since the beginning of February, the irrigation works operating company of Dak Mil has had to pump water from Tay Dak Mil Lake into Dak Ken reservoir.

In Krong No district of Dak Nong, drought has also threatened hundreds of ha of wet rice. The Dak Ren paddy in Nam N’dir commune and the Buon Choah paddy in Buon Choah commune, rice production hubs of Krong No, have also seen chapped soil and poor rice growth.

General Director of the Directorate of Water Resources Nguyen Van Tinh said the 2018-2019 dry season will be a serious problem in the Central Highlands, noting only 20 percent of the local plant area is grown in areas accessible to water from irrigation reservoirs, the remaining 80 percent is highly vulnerable due to their dependence on natural water sources.

Predicting the possibility of harsh drought, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development last October requested localities to step up irrigation measures to cope with water scarcity and saltwater intrusion in the 2018-2019 dry season.