Da Lat waterfall turns muddy, farmers suffer

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The famous Prenn Waterfall in the resort town of Da Lat has been muddy for the last ten days, scaring away tourists.

The waterfall water has changed its color from white to dull red and has become smelled nasty as Company 508 and Song Than Company have dumped muddy soil dredged up from the Xuan Huong Lake at the Mimoza Pass upstream. Heavy rains then swept the muddy soil to the Prenn Waterfall.

Vo Van Minh, director of Prenn Waterfall Tourism Park, said the number of visitors had dropped by 40 percent last week.

"From April 1, Sinh Café (a major Vietnamese tour operator) has cancelled tours to the waterfall," he said.

Minh said the park has placed buoys to prevent the muddy soil along from flowing to the waterfall but this work would not be effective if Company 508 and Song Than Company continued to dump their waste at Mimoza Pass.

The dumping is not only affecting the waterfall but also taking a toll on about 150 farmers living near Lang Spring along the pass.

Pham Minh said water from Lang Spring was the only source residents had to water their flower and vegetables gardens but now the spring was seriously polluted.

"My family has just sold gladiolus for VND21 million (US$1,100) and green cauliflower for VND12 million, but our customers returned them and took their money back because the flowers and vegetables rotted because they had absorbed the polluted water," said farmer Pham De.

Other farmers claimed that their flowers and vegetables did not grow well or were affected by diseases because of the polluted water.

They said they had already reported the case to the People's Committee of Ward 3 in Da Lat Town but the officials only asked them to "try to deal with the incident".

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