09 April 19 Source Vietnamnet Global VietNamNet Bridge - The news about land subsidence in the western provinces of the southern region has once again rung the alarm over the exploitation of underground water.
The surface water at many lakes and rivers are becoming polluted because of industrial and domestic waste water which goes directly into the environment without treatment. In addition, underground water is being overexploited.
Living near Ma River, nearly 1,000 households in Yen Tho commune of Yen Dinh district of Thanh Hoa province are facing a water shortage.
Most of the households' wells are depleted to the bottom. To ease the shortage, many households have tried to drill new deeper wells. However, the underground water pumped from the wells cannot be used because it is very polluted.
Nguyen Huy Luong from the same hamlet said he is expecting the local authorities' assistance because attempts to find new water sources have failed. He cannot travel far to get water, and new wells do not offer safe water.
A survey by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) found serious pollution of underground water in some localities, especially in Hanoi and HCM City, where TDS, ammonium, and heavy metals such as arsenic and manganese concentrations are higher than the Vietnamese standards.
Do Van Dinh, director of the Song Duong Surface Water Plant, said it is costly to separate arsenic, manganese and ammonium. Using underground water will harm human health.
"Open landfills, untreated waste water and chemicals are all absorbed into underground water and polluting it," Dinh said. "In coastal areas, which suffer from climate change and rising sea water, underground water is getting saltier."
"Experts have warned that pollution of both surface and underground water has worsened," he said.
Hoang Duong Tung, former deputy general director of the Environment Directorate General, it is necessary to tighten control over underground water exploitation.
According to the International Water Resources Association, domestic water resources are at a low average level, with 3,600 cubic meters per head per annum.
To date, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) has granted 184 licenses related to the use of water resources, including 42 licenses to discharge waste water into waterway sources, and 27 licenses to exploit underground water.
HCM City plans to reduce the exploitation of underground water from now to 2025 to prevent land subsidence. The total volume of water exploitation would be reduced to 330,000 cubic meters a day this year