Drought threatens Red River rice crop

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VietnamNet English - 61 month(s) ago 1 readings

According to the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting’s deputy director Nguyen Lan Chau, the weather would become erratic over the coming months, due to the El Nino phenomenon.

VietNamNet Bridge – Farmers of the Hong (Red) River Delta and northern mountainous provinces will face a serious shortage of water for this year’s winter-spring rice crop, weather experts have warned.

Northeast regions and northern mountainous provinces are forecast to be hit with serious droughts, possibly worse than in previous years.

The early end to this year’s rainy season plus low rainfall will make the situation worse and the drought may stretch to next June, Chau said.

Water levels in northern rivers have recently fallen markedly - about 2 to 3 metres in areas including Muong Te, Lao Cai, Ha Giang provinces and Ha Noi. The Hong (Red) River in Ha Noi has dropped 1.2m, double last year’s rate while Thai Binh River dropped 0.36m.

Many reservoirs in Lang Son, Bac Giang, Quang Ninh and Vinh Phuc provinces have yet to store enough water and levels are between 0.2 and 6 metres less than the required amount. The water levels at Tuyen Quang, Thac Ba and Hoa Binh Hydro-power reservoirs are 107m, 53m and 114.8m respectively, a reduction of 8 to 13 metres compared to last year.

"These reservoirs will have no water left by next April if they release water to serve this winter-spring crop," Chau said.

"It’s hard to say if these reservoirs can supply enough water for agricultural production and hydroelectric plants’ activities in the next couple of months. Waterway traffic will also be affected due to the low water levels and the region may face electrical shortage," Chau said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s vice minister Dao Xuan Hoc said the ministry’s irrigation operation group would be in charge of supplying water for localities if it is required.

The ministry would require Electricity of Viet Nam to release water from Hoa Binh and Thac Ba for agricultural purposes if necessary. In the worst case, rice farmers would be advised to shift to less water reliant crops to avoid losses.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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