PM calls for urgent action to deal with drought, saltwater intrusion

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked authorities in the central and Central Highlands regions to take action to deal with the prolonged heat wave, drought and saltwater intrusion.

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A canal has dried up amid severe drought in the central region of Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

The south central and Central Highland regions have witnessed a sharp decline in rainfall since the beginning of this year compared with the average. The water level in many irrigation and hydropower reservoirs have dropped to 20-60% of their designed capacity. Many small ones have even dried up. Drought and severe water shortage have occurred in some localities.

The Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration has forecast that the heat will last until the end of August while water flow in the rivers will continue to decrease.

It has also predicted the possibility of widespread drought and water scarcity, which will seriously affect the production activities and lives of local residents, particularly south central coastal provinces.

To cope with the situation, PM Phuc told ministries, sectors and localities to take urgent measures to deal with it.

The PM asked the People’s Committees of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan to dredge irrigation systems, canals, ponds and wells or build makeshift dams to store water.

Water supply project should be sped up and pumping stations should be installed to ensure there would be enough water for local residents, schools, hospitals and health facilities.

A campaign should be launched to guide people on storing water and using it effectively.

Localities were requested to instruct relevant agencies to assess the water maintained at irrigation and hydropower reservoirs to have appropriate plans for water usage. Priority should be given to supplying water for people’s daily lives, animal husbandry and industrial crop cultivation of perennial trees.

Localities were supposed to restructure cultivation and adjust crops based on water sources and capacity.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) was assigned to direct and support localities in carrying out measures against drought and saline intrusion.

The ministry was also asked to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and Vietnam Electricity (EVN), hydropower plants and localities in unifying plans to regulate water at reservoirs on each river basin to supplement water for downstream, serving agricultural production and people’s daily lives.

The MONRE was directed to monitor the weather, increase forecasts and provide timely information on drought and salt water intrusion to serve production and proactively take measures to prevent and combat drought, water shortage and saltwater intrusion.

The PM requested the MoIT to instruct the EVN to ensure the supply of electricity for production and local residents and coordinate with media agencies to raise awareness on energy saving, especially in the dry season.

The Ministry of Finance was authorised to coordinate with the MARD in summing up localities’ request for support relating to drought water shortage and saltwater intrusion prevention and combat effort, and submit to the Prime Minister.

The Ministry of Information and Communications, Voice of Vietnam, Vietnam Television, Vietnam News Agency and other media agencies were asked to strengthen campaigns to raise awareness on water and energy saving in response to drought and water shortage which might occur more often.

VNA