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Vietnam anticipates severe water shortages this year

Vietnam anticipates severe water shortages this year

Rivers across Vietnam are set to face severe water shortages in the coming dry season.

The Vietnam Metrological and Hydrological Administration on Friday said water reserves of northern rivers would remain low between this month and July.

Between this month and April, the water level in the Da river basin to reservoirs of Lai Chau, Son La and Hoa Binh provinces is predicted to be 20 to 50 per cent lower than in previous years.

The Thao river basin will lack 40 to 70 per cent of its water reserves compared to previous years, while the Lo river basin might be 60 to 90 per cent below its normal capacity.

The lowest water level recorded at the Hanoi measuring station on the Red River at the end of this month or early next month is predicted to be 0.2 to 0.3m.

Rivers in the central region and Central Highlands are forecast to suffer severe water shortages over the summer, with volumetric flow rates reducing by 25 to 80 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Between next month and May, Thanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces, as well as Central Highlands localities, will face a water crisis

Between June and August, drought and saline intrusion are set to spread in coastal central provinces from Quang Tri to Khanh Hoa, similarly to the last dry season.

In the south, as the water level in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake has dropped, the volumetric flow rate on the Mekong River to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta between this month and next month is predicted to reduce between five and 20 per cent compared to 2016.

In mid-March, the flow rate to Kratie Station in the Kingdom might rise as reservoirs will open sluice gates.

The administration’s deputy head Hoang Duc Cuong said saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta will worsen this year, peaking this month.

Department of Water Resources Management deputy head Chau Tran Vinh said as of last month, four of the 11 river basins had suffered water shortages – namely the Ma, Huong, Vu Gia – Thu Bon and Ba rivers.

However, since the beginning of the dry season, many reservoirs had halted discharges of water or stopped generating electricity to ensure water supply for the rest of the season, from five to seven months. Therefore, despite the shortage, the situation had not yet been serious, he said.

Seasonal rainfall between this month and April is forecast to drop by up to 40 per cent compared to previous years, especially in the Central Highlands and southern region, triggering a looming water crisis across the country, the Vietnam Institute of Metrology, Hydrology and Climate Change said.

The National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation said Vietnam’s underground water reserve is 91 billion cubic metres per year including 69 billion cubic metres of fresh water.

The fresh water that has been licensed to exploit is 3.6 billion cubic metres per year or 9.9 million cubic metres per day, it said.

The centre’s director Tong Ngoc Thanh stressed underground water planning as an immediate solution to respond to the water shortage, especially in urban areas, and subsidence due to excessive exploitation in deltas.

Le Cong Thanh, deputy minister of natural resources and environment, asked the Department of Water Resources Management to give early warnings to localities which might face water shortages.

He also urged Vietnam National Mekong Committee to research Cambodia’s Sesan and Srepok rivers and propose a plan with Cambodia over water sharing and requested that the Vietnam Metrological and Hydrological Administration report on saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta.



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