Tens of thousands of hectares of coffee in the Central Highlands are facing water shortage, potentially costing growers heavily, according to the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands Region.

Currently, only 19.3 percent of coffee farms in the region are being watered by local irrigation works and the remaining 80.7 percent depend largely on rivers and streams, which dried up in the current drought, the committee noted.

As of April 24, nearly 40,000 hectares of coffee in Dak Lak province, a key coffee cultivation area of the country, have been affected.

Climate change, coupled with dwindling forest areas and unsustainable exploitation of water resources, are attributable to the serious decrease in water sources in the region.

In this context, the Steering Committee for Central Highlands Region advised regional localities not to expand coffee farms and shift to cultivate other types of plants with drought-tolerant features.

Regional localities are home to 2,354 irrigation works, including 1,190 reservoirs, 972 dams and 130 water stations, supplying water to 202,166 crop-farming hectares.

Under a master irrigation plan for the region until 2020, they will invest 58 trillion VND (2.76 billion USD) in upgrading and repairing 756 irrigation works and building 1,614 new ones.
The effort aims to raise farming areas being watered to nearly 540,000 hectares and coffee areas benefited to 51.28 percent.

Central Highlands localities currently cultivate more than 573,400 hectares of coffee, with Dak Lak having the largest area of 204,400 hectares, followed by Lam Dong with 157,307 hectares and Dak Nong, 118, 469 hectares.-VNA