A maize field affected by water scarcity in central Ha Tinh province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – If extreme heat continues in the central region until the end of the dry season, about 65,500ha of rice and annual crops will suffer from drought and water scarcity, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The affected area will include 55,400ha of rice and 10,100ha of annual crops. 

Additionally, 138,800 local households may face water shortage if the scorching weather lingers on until the dry season’s end, which falls in late July in the north of the central region and late August in the south of this region, the MARD reported on July 23.

In the north central region, drought and water scarcity have hit about 21,600ha of rice and crops, accounting for 4.5 percent of the total farming area. Meanwhile, 16,340ha in the south central region have been affected, equivalent to 4.6 percent of the total.

As a result of saltwater intrusion, water shortage has also been reported on 5,800ha of plants and affected nearly 114,000 households in the central region.

The MARD said in this region’s northern areas, water levels on rivers and streams are currently 35 – 60 percent lower than the average, even over 70 percent lower on the Ma River in Thanh Hoa province and the Ca River in Nghe An province. Local hydropower reservoirs also have only 30 – 60 percent of their capacity filled, and 55 small ones have dried up.

In southern areas, rivers and streams have also shrunk. Some rivers have recorded a decline of over 70 percent in their water flow, such as the Vu Gia and Thu Bon rivers in Quang Nam province and Da Nang city, and the Ba River in Phu Yen province. While only 25 – 55 percent of local reservoirs’ designed capacity is filled on average, 281 of such facilities have run out of water so far.

The MARD blamed the drought and water scarcity on high temperature, low humidity and the strong foehn wind from the southwest, resulting in intensive evaporation which in turn has led to higher irrigation water demand and lower water levels in reservoirs.

In the face of this situation, the ministry asked the Prime Minister to direct other ministries, sectors and localities to coordinate with it to cope with drought and saltwater intrusion. -VNA