Prolonged drought to affect water supplies in HCMC and southern region in particular.
This year is expected to see sustained drought conditions that may create water shortages and salinity and affect the supply of clean water in Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding areas.
According to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, the El Nino weather pattern will continue to affect Vietnam and its intensity may be as much as in the 1997-1998 period, when it had its biggest impact on the country.
Besides its intensity, the El Nino in 2015 and 2016 is expected to be the longest for 60 years, lasting until the end of the winter-spring period. The rainy season may come late and end early. The total amount of rain and in the region will be less than the average, especially in the central and southern regions and the central highlands. Water levels in irrigation lakes and hydropower lakes will be lower than in 2014, which will have a major effect on Ho Chi Minh City.
In response to the dangers posed by the drought, the city has requested that departments implement measures on saving water and changing crop planting and livestock methods. In order to fight the abnormal changes the drought will bring, the Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) has set up emergency plans for water supply, such as using tank trucks and delivering water.
Sawaco will also cooperate with the Dau Tieng - Phuoc Hoa Irrigation Company and the Tri An Irrigation Company to obtain water supplies when necessary. In the long term it will study construction plans for water reservoirs along the Saigon River.
Management bodies at Dau Tieng Lake, which supplies water for thousands of hectares of crops and clean water for Ho Chi Minh City and Tay Ninh province, said they will rotate discharges to save water. After discharging water to Tay Ninh for three days it will then provide water to Ho Chi Minh City four days, and vice-versa. In doing so the amount of water saved may increase 20 to 30 per cent.
People have been asked to regularly check weather forecasts to respond in a timely fashion, changing crop planting and livestock methods accordingly.