Over 26,000 hectares of farming land in the central provinces of Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen has been left uncultivated during the summer-autumn rice crop due to the current severe drought, the worst in the last ten years in the region.
The cultivation of rice and other crops in the localities has been paused because of the desperate shortage of water, according to reports by the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development of the three provinces.
Ninh Thuan has 10,000 hectares of farming land which has been left fallow thanks to a lack of water, said Pham Quang Thuu, vice director of the province’s agricultural department.
On May 2, the total volume of water left in all 20 reservoirs in Ninh Thuan was 17 million cubic meters, or nine percent of the capacity of the lakes, according to Pham Van Huong, director of the Irrigation Works Company in the province.
The neighboring province of Khanh Hoa has 13,600 hectares left untilled for the same reason.
“Cam Ranh has never experienced such a severe drought in the last ten years,” said Nguyen Ngoc Son, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Cam Ranh City in Khanh Hoa.
The city has had no rain for several months and Suoi Hanh, the only reservoir in Cam Ranh, has been left unused for a long time, he added.
Locals cannot find water even though they have managed to dig wells and ponds, Son said.
Phu Yen, meanwhile, has 3,000 hectares of farming land left fallow.
Last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung agreed to grant Khanh Hoa VND66 billion (US$3.1 million) in aid to remedy problems caused by the ongoing drought.
Meanwhile, Ninh Thuan has been allowed to apply for financial aid from the World Bank to build the Tan My reservoir, with a capacity of 219 million cubic meters of water, more than the current total volume of water of all reservoirs in the province of 192 million cubic meters.