Laos builds third hydropower dam, threatening Mekong River in VN
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam needs to find solutions to the increasing number of hydropower dams being built in regional countries, according to Dr Vu Trong Hong, chair of the Vietnam Water Resources Association, and former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

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Laos is preparing to build the third hydropower dam on Mekong mainstream early next year, despite warnings.

The expert imagines a gloomy future for Mekong once countries continue building hydropower plants on it. “Mekong will die, step by step,” he said.

“In dry season, hydropower developers will store water to generate electricity. Meanwhile, Vietnam, a country on the lower course of Mekong, needs more water river for irrigation,” he explained.

What Vietnam needs to do is to adapt to the new circumstances, by storing water in flood season to be used in dry season. 

Ten years ago, Vietnam warned that the water for Vietnam from Mekong would be exhausted. 

What Vietnam needs to do is to adapt to the new circumstances, by storing water in flood season to be used in dry season. 

At present, the current capacity in Mekong River Delta is 6,000 cubic meters per second. The ecological current helps wash away toxins and bring salinity into the sea. 

However, in the future, when Laos runs its hydropower plants, the current capacity would reduce to several hundreds of cubic meters per second only. 

This would turn Mekong into a dead river. Meanwhile, Vietnam needs 2,000 cubic meters per second.

However, it did not pay appropriate attention to the warning at that time. 

Scientists then thought that if necessary, Vietnam could exploit the underground water in Mekong River Delta which is in huge reserves.

Hong, while confirming the reserves of underground water in Vietnam and in the delta, said that the water is polluted.

While the Mekong River in the south has been threatened by hydropower dams in Laos, the Red River in the north has been affected by Chinese dams.

Scientists say the necessary flow on the Red River is 800 cubic meters per second, but recent surveys show the figure is just 700 cubic meters per second. 

Meanwhile, according to MONRE, the water level at some river sections is just 10 cm and current capacity is just 10 cubic meters per second.

Hong believes that to adapt to the new circumstances, Vietnam needs to reduce the rice growing areas and change the crop structure. 

However, once Vietnam reduces the rice growing area, rice export volume will fall.

Hong estimates that if Vietnam cuts export volume by 1 million tons, it would have save w volume of water big enough for 60 million people in first-class urban area (160 liters per day per head).


Dat Viet

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