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Phu Quoc Grapples With Fresh Water Shortage as Tourism Grows

Currently welcoming a staggering 1 million visitors a year, Phu Quoc is having a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, this figure marks an important milestone in the island’s tourism development; on the other, Phu Quoc’s increased tourism is igniting concern among local officials over the shortage of fresh water currently plaguing Vietnam’s biggest island.

While tourism to Phu Quoc has grown considerably over the past few years, a lack of fresh water threatens to undo some of the island’s progress, reports Tuoi Tre.

At present, islanders take their water supply from the Duong Dong Reservoir, which has a capacity of 5 million cubic meters, as well as through freshwater streams in the island’s interior. However, due to heavy unlicensed drilling and the ever-increasing number of resorts cropping up across the island, overexploitation of Phu Quoc’s groundwater is leaving its residents high and dry.

Faced with a diminishing water supply, Phu Quoc must now figure out how to accommodate its approximately 100,000 residents, in addition to scores of visitors and migrant workers, not to mention local industries, according to Huynh Thanh Ha, deputy director of Phu Quoc’s water supply branch. On average, residents of the island consume 120 liters per person per day, while tourists use about 300 liters per person per day. By 2020, Ha expects the island to consume roughly 70,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day. Currently, the system Ha oversees only provides 16,500 cubic meters of fresh water per day, just enough to supply Duong Dong and An Thoi.

According to the island’s development plan, there are five new reservoirs and several water factories currently in the works, however construction has yet to begin on these projects. Meanwhile, the island’s groundwater continues to disappear as local officials are desperately seeking funds to bring these infrastructure projects to fruition.


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