Binh Thuan province dries up in severe drought hinh anh 1A rice field dries up (Photo: VNA)

Binh Thuan (VNA) – The south central coast province of Binh Thuan has declared a state of natural disaster in the 2015 – 2016 winter-spring crop as drought is taking a heavy toll on local agriculture.

Acute water shortages have been recorded in Ham Tan, Duc Linh, Tuy Phong and Bac Binh districts.

In this winter-spring crop, the province only has enough water reserves to irrigate 18,700ha of rice, down more than 15,000ha from the previous year. About 50ha of rice have already been ruined, while over 450ha of rice and other crops in Duc Linh and Ham Tan districts are experiencing serious water shortages.

Some water supply facilities in Ham Tan and Tanh Linh districts have had to suspended operations due to a lack of water. Meanwhile, about 90,000 families in Binh Thuan are also lacking water for daily use.

The water stored at irrigation works province-wide is now estimated at 87 million cu.m., which is only about 40 percent of the total design capacity.

Binh Thuan reviewed the cultivation schedule and replaced 1,300ha of rice with short-term crops such as maize, vegetables and different types of bean. It also encouraged residents to dredge canals and save water during irrigation.

However, if drought lingers, about 200ha of cassava in Ham Tan, 3,000ha of rice in mountainous communes of Ta Linh, and a widespread area of perennial trees like rubber, dragon fruit, pepper and cashew will be severely affected, according to the province’s sub-department for water resources.

Provincial authorities have asked the Prime Minister to allocate over 106 billion VND (4.77 million USD) from the State budget for addressing drought.-VNA