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Da Nang utility blames broken pumps for water shortage during rainy season

Friday, November 09, 2018, 20:35 GMT+7
Da Nang utility blames broken pumps for water shortage during rainy season
The Red Bridge area in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Residents in four districts in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang have been hit by a water shortage amid the rainy season, with the supplier putting the blame on equipment problems.

While the city’s utility, Dawaco, attributed technical errors of its pumps to the severe water shortage, a local expert wonders if the firm just made an excuse to cover the fact that it stopped operating some of the pumps to cut down on electricity bills.

The short supply of clean water affects Hai Chau, Lien Chieu, Ngu Hanh Son, and Cam Le Districts when Da Nang and central Vietnam are in the middle of the rainy season.

The primary water input of Dawaco comes from the Cau Do (Red Bridge) area.

Since 2012, whenever saltwater intrusion occurs at the location, the firm has been forced to take water resources from the An Trach dam, which is ten kilometers away.

Due to the long distance, the company has to operate its pumps for the process.

Since Monday, many residents in the four districts have reported they severely lack fresh water for their daily activities.

A resident in Da Nang suffers fresh water shortage in early November 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A resident in Da Nang suffers fresh water shortage in early November 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The water shortage peaks between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm, forcing the locals to wake up early in the morning to store water for the entire day.

According to Dawaco general director Ho Huong, the An Trach dam can only provide 220,000 cubic meters of water to the company on a daily basis, while the actual demand of local residents is 270,000 cubic meters per day.

The figure contradicts a report Dawaco submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in which the utility said it has a total of six pumps with a combined capacity of 300,000 cubic meters a day.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters accompanied a delegation of local authorities to the station of Dawaco on Thursday, discovering that only three of the machines were put to use.

An employee stated that three pumps had broken down.

The An Trach dam in Da Nang City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The An Trach dam in Da Nang CityPhoto: Tuoi Tre

Phan Luu, director of an affiliate of Dawaco, confirmed that an error had occurred to the machines, adding that repair work is being carried out.

“Even if there are no errors, only four pumps can function at a time as the pipeline connecting the An Trach dam and the Red Bridge can only withstand a certain volume of water,” Luu elaborated.

Huynh Van Thang, an expert on irrigation and former deputy director of the municipal agriculture department, did not seem to agree with the explanation.

Thang expressed his doubt that it was just a coincidence for the pumps to stop working right at the time when the Red Bridge area is affected by saltwater intrusion.

“I don’t think there were any problems with the machines. It would just cost more electricity to operate all of the pumps,” the pundit said.

“If Dawaco had operated the pumps with responsibility, people in the city would not have been deprived of fresh water in the middle of the rainy season,” he added.

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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