Rivers in Vietnam utterly torn by hydropower plants

VietNamNet Bridge – All the rivers in Vietnam, both small and big, have and would have hydropower plants on them. Scientists have expressed their worry that the river system would be torn, which would seriously damage the ecological environment and people’s livelihood.

Too many hydropower plants

The participants at the annual workshop of the Vietnam River Network (VRN) held on December 16 spent much time talking about the Dong Nai river valley and the Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A hydropower plant projects, which have been the hot topics in the public.

5000 people have signed a petition to the government so far, expressing their protest against the two hydropower plant projects. Dr Nguyen Huynh Thuat, who was an officer of the Nam Cat Tien National Park, once sent a letter to the President, requesting to cancel the two hydropower plant projects.

However, Dong Nai River is not the only victim of the hydropower plants, which have been developing so rapidly in recent years.

Dao Trong Tu, a member of the VRN Consultancy Team said that hydropower plants have been built on all 13 big river networks. Hydropower plants have also been built on small rivers as well.

“A thick network of hydropower plants has been set up on the Dong Nai river system, which has cut the rivers into pieces. If two more plants, 6 and 6A are built here as well, this would severely affect the whole region,” Tu warned.

Dr Le Anh Tuan, a climate change and water resource expert, also said that the existence of too many hydropower plants has cut the river networks into artificial water reservoirs. The hydrological characteristics of the river system and the inborn seasonal variation and water storage have been broken.

Scientists have agreed that it’s necessary to reconsider the development of the hydropower plants on the river network in Vietnam. They have warned that hydropower plants have been mushrooming which would damage nature. The Dong Nai river system alone has to bear 20 power plants already

Losers bigger than gains

It is now a growing tendency that wind or solar energy projects have been developed instead of hydropower plants. Vietnamese scientists have warned that in the current conditions, when the climate change shows unpredictable moves, if Vietnam continues devastating forests to build hydropower plants, this would cause immeasurable consequences.

The existing hydropower plants have seriously damaged the environment around which will never be rehabilitated. Thousands of hectares of forests in Vietnam have been chopped down to give place to power plants.

Dr. Le Tu Trinh, an environment expert, said the investor of the Tri An hydropower plant predicted that the sphere of influences of the plant would be some 210 square meters. Meanwhile, in fact, thousands of square kilometers have been severely impacted.

“If the Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A are implemented, they would have impacts not only on 300 hectares as reported, but the area to be affected would be much higher,” Trinh said.

“After Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A, the hydropower plant project in the Ba Ba National Park, the one on Serepok River would also be implemented. If so, a vast area of forests and a lot of values would be lost,” he warned.

The Japanese government has agreed to fund the Mekong green decade project with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia being the beneficiaries. However, Trinh said, if Vietnam continues devastating forests to build hydropower plants, it is highly possible that the funding would be reconsidered.


Vietnam, river network, pollution, water, natural resources