A sharp decrease in rainfall in the central, Central Highlands and southern regions will likely lead to a huge drought during the 2012-13 dry season, warns the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre.

The centre’s Deputy Director Le Thanh Hai said that the quantity of rainfall in some areas has decreased by 70-90 percent from the average level of previous years.

“The rainy season in these areas ended earlier than previous years and the overall quantity of rainfall is lower, leading to severe water shortages,” he explained.

The rainfall in central Quang Tri province, for example, was just 1,700mm so far this year, while the average annual rainfall in the province was 2,500mm, according to local authorities.

By the end of November, the average water level of reservoirs in most central provinces was between 20-50 percent lower than their designed capacity. Water levels in central Ha Tinh, Quang Nam , Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh provinces fell even more dramatically, with a 60-80 percent difference between actual levels and capacity.

Meanwhile, rainfall in this dry season was expected to be less than previous years, particularly in the central region, Hai said.

Salt water will also likely intrude between 40-60km inland in central and southern regions.
The dry season lasts from November to May in the Central Highlands, from November to April in the south and from January to July in the central region.

However, drought has already been recorded in some areas. In the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai , the drought has caused poor harvests in eastern districts.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported in May this year that nearly 50,000ha of crops nationwide were damaged by droughts during the last dry season.-VNA