The south-central region of Vietnam is estimated to have 51,000 – 70,000 ha of farmlands facing a water shortage and a temporary halt to cultivation until there is rain or farmers switch to drought-resistant crops, according to the General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The ongoing dry season is forecast to last until the end of August while reservoirs already have very low water levels. The department has instructed provinces in the region to not grow summer – autumn crops in drought – hit areas until the rains begin. The region plans to grow 370,000ha of crops in the summer – autumn crop, including 172,000 ha of rice. Around 49,000 ha of the rice crop have been sown so far.
Ninh Thuan province should delay the crop in 13,000 – 15,000 ha, or 52 – 60 percent of its total farming area, the department said. These areas receive irrigation water from the province’s 21 small dams and reservoirs, which are now prioritised for household use and animal husbandry.
Binh Thuan province is estimated to have enough water for growing 12,500 ha of summer – autumn rice in Duc Linh and Tanh Linh districts, but lack water in other areas now.
Luong Van Anh, deputy head of the department, said water in irrigation reservoirs and the Dai Ninh hydroelectric dam are reserved for household use, animal husbandry and irrigating dragon fruit orchards until the start of the rainy season.
Binh Thuan should delay the sowing schedule for around 30,000 ha of summer – autumn rice, or 22 - 37 percent of its total rice farming area until the end of June or there is enough water, he said.
To mitigate the impact of drought in the south-central region, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has drafted schedules for releasing water from the Dai Ninh, Don Duong, Ham Thuan – Da Mi, and An Khe – Ka Nak hydro-electric reservoirs for agricultural production and household use.
In Ninh Thuan, 12,156 people and 110,000 animals will face a severe water shortage next month if there is no rain. The province plans to supply free water for household use amid a record drought, which is only forecast to end when it rains in mid-September.