Sa Pa hotels hit by severe water shortage

By Dat Nguyen   April 24, 2019 | 06:03 am PT
Sa Pa hotels hit by severe water shortage
Sapa's government has bought water from elsewhere in Lao Cai Province to supply households. Photo by VnExpress/Dieu Binh
Hospitality businesses in the drought-hit mountain resort town of Sa Pa are struggling to find enough water.

Abnormally low rainfall has hit one of the country’s most popular travel destinations. Four out of five sources supplying Sa Pa’s water plant have gone dry, while 50 percent of the fifth has also to be used for irrigation, according to local authorities.

With only 60 percent of the demand being met, Sa Pa hotels have to buy water at high prices.

Dinh Van Hung of the Sapa Eden Mountain View Hotel located near the town center told VnExpress International his hotel has been buying water brought elsewhere from northern Lao Cai Province for the last few days.

"We had to refund two room bookings the other day due to the water shortage. We have faced this problem in previous years too, but this time it’s more severe."

A cubic meter water costs VND300,000 ($12.9), and on a weekday his hotel needs four cubic meters, he said. But some hotels have reported paying VND500,000 ($21.5).

Cans of water being transferred to hotels and households. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Huong

Cans of water being transferred to hotels and households. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Huong

Bui Son Hoai, owner of Sapa 17 Hotel, has stopped accepting bookings since he is concerned about the water shortage. But most of his rooms have been booked since Vietnam will have a five-day holiday starting Saturday.

Pham Cao Vy, chairman of the Sa Pa Tourism Association, said the water shortage this year could cause heavy losses to hospitality businesses.

Many hotels have had to refund deposits and reject bookings, he said.

"At this time we can only advice customers to check with their hotels first before coming to make sure there is enough water."

Sa Pa’s water supply has been declining in recent years due to the construction of new hydropower projects and fish farms. To cope with the problem in the long term, the district plans to build a larger water plant.

But for now hotels and restaurants have to suffer since the top priority for clean water is hospitals and schools, Le Manh Hao, deputy chairman of Sa Pa District, said.

Local authorities are working to get water from other sources for the holiday. 

"But even if all sources are mobilized, water supply can only meet 70 percent of demand," Hao added.

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