Vietnam province reels from groundwater shortage, climate change blamed

By Le Hoang, Minh Nga   March 27, 2019 | 04:53 pm PT
Vietnam province reels from groundwater shortage, climate change blamed
A well in Yen Tho Commune in Thanh Hoa Province in north central Vietnam runs out of water. Photo by VnExpress/Le Hoang
Some 1,000 households in a north-central Vietnamese province are facing a water crisis, and local authorities are blaming it on climate change.

More than two months ago wells in most of their homes, with 4,000 members, in a commune in Thanh Hoa Province went dry.

The local agriculture department Tuesday blamed it on climate change reducing water levels in the Ma River that runs through the province.

"Compared to last year the water level in the section of the Ma River that flows through the commune has fallen by two meters," commune chairman Ho Xuan Binh said.

The water shortage started early this year at several areas near the river bank in Yen Tho Commune and gradually spread across the commune, to areas lying several miles from the river.

The condition has been described as "unprecedented" by both residents and authorities.

Ha Xuan Bai, 79, said he has lived his whole life in the commune but never experienced a water shortage.

Most wells are 10-15 meters deep and some families decided to dig deeper after they dried up. All they found was contaminated water they are unable to use for daily activities.

Bai told Van Hoa and Doi Song (Culture and Life) newspaper, "I had my family well dug two meters deeper but the water we got stinks and has yellow scum."

As a temporary solution, Yen Dinh District is building a channel to bring water from a nearby canal to Yen Tho, and people have to clean the water themselves.

A water treatment system will be built in the commune in the future.

Last January, in its 2019 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum had listed water scarcity as one of the largest global risks over the next decade.

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