Central Vietnam faces water shortage as El Nino drains reservoirs

By Gia Chinh   May 10, 2023 | 08:30 pm PT
Central Vietnam faces water shortage as El Nino drains reservoirs
Ban Ve Reservoir in Nghe An Province, May 9, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Hai
With major reservoirs running out of water due to the impact of El Nino, central and Central Highlands regions could lack water for the next three months.

Currently, the water level in major reservoirs in the two regions is 0.4-24 meters lower than needed for operating hydropower plants, according to the Department of Water Resources Management at the environment ministry.

Ban Ve Reservoir in Nghe An Province is lacking 400 million cubic meters of water. Ngan Truoi in Ha Tinh Province lacks 222 million cubic meters. Buon Tua Srah in Dak Lak lacks more than 111 million cubic meters. Song Tranh 2 in Quang Nam lacks nearly 70 million cubic meters.

Chau Tran Vinh, head of the department, said Tuesday that the downstream area rivers in the central and Central Highlands regions would face the risk of drought and water shortage between May and August due to El Nino.

The phenomenon, which brings more intense heat and less rain, caused drought and water shortage for the entire central region in 2019, he said.

This year, El Nino is forecast to cause a shortage of 20-40% in rivers in the north-central area, 20-50% in rivers in south-central, and 15-25% in rivers in the Central Highlands compared to previous years.

The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said last week that this year's total rainfall would be lower than the average but there would be a little chance of heavy rain in late May and early June.

Drought and water shortages may occur in the central region and the Central Highlands from May to August, it said.

Da Nang City and its neighbor Quang Nam Province have already raised the alert on water shortages.

At the Cau Do Water Plant, which provides about 80% of clean water for Da Nang’s population of more than 1 million people, salinity in recent days has reached approximately 1,000 mg/liter, making it difficult to collect water.

Quang Nam is suffering a similar fate as the area downstream of the province’s main river Thu Bon has been salinized.

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