Inhabitants of Cham Island, 18km off the coast of Hoi An, now have access to fresh water for the first time.

“In the dry season, it took us hours to waif for water from wells because of high demand,” recalled Truong Thanh Phuong, a resident of the island. “Now, we can access a different water source.”

The new reservoir also benefits visitors to the island one of the major tourist destinations in the central province of Quang Nam.

Vice Chairman of the Hoi An People’s Committee Nguyen Van Dung said the 80,000 cubic metre reservoir would supply enough fresh water for nearly 3,000 people who live on Cham island and the surrounding eight islets.

“Islanders get water from springs, rain and digging wells during the wet season between September and April. But the island has limited clean water in the dry season,” Dung said.

“Wells are either water dry or salinated, sot their water can only be used for cleaning.”

The reservoir cost 162 billion VND (7.7 million USD) from the State budget and took six years to build.

Local authorities also piloted a solar powered seawater filter system which, if successful, would provide more freshwater to people on the island and islets.

Cham island was recognised as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2009. It hosts around 100,000 tourists annually of which 10 percent are foreigners.-VNA