An Khe hydropower plant built, river gets depleted, people get thirsty

VietNamNet Bridge – The Ba River, which has been providing water to thousands hectares of agriculture land and to people on the riverside for the last many generations, is now getting depleted, because it has to “bleed itself dry” for the An Khe – Kanak hydropower plant.

Vietnam, river network, environment, hydropower plant, project

The Ba River originates from the Truong Son mountain chain, running from Kon Tum across Gia Lai and then flowing to the lowland before pouring to the sea.

The river, which has been a friend to the riversides’ residence, has become depleted and polluted. Meanwhile, the Ba river bridge on the Highway No. 19, the welcome gate to the An Khe town, seems to be unwelcomed to visitors. People, who go across the bridge, all have to hold their noses to avoid the bad odor from the river. This warns people that they would enter an unfriendly land.

The polluted river

If standing on the riverside and casting an eye at the Ba River, one would see a whole section of the river dry to the bottom and the puddles of black waste water. The polluted river has kept people away. No one dares to walk and take some fresh air on the riverside any more, because the river has been driven to death as described by the local residents

For the last many years, the Ba River has become the place for industrial waste water from industrial factories to go to. It is now the “rendezvous” of the waste water from the An Khe sugar refinery, Veyu cassava, K’bang ore sifting factories, and from the houses of tens of thousands of people.

Vo Thi Tram, a local resident in An Binh ward, pointing to the factories, affirmed that the pollution has been caused by the industrial production. “Fishes have all died, while people have been living in terrible conditions,” she said.

In the past, when the water was profuse, the polluting elements ran to the lowland areas. However, sine the day the An Khe – Ka Nak hydropower plant arose, which takes away the water of the Ba River, the polluting elements get stagnant and harm local residents’ health.

People get thirsty

A report of the Gia Lai provincial authorities showed that there are some 400,000 households living in the urban areas along the Ba River, and all of them have complained about the lack of water.

The residents in Ka Nak town of Kbang district seem to be the luckiest people, because the upper stream suffers fewer influences from the hydropower plants. Meanwhile, the other urban areas including An Khe town, Kbang town, Ia Pa, Ayunpa and Phu Tuc – Krong Pa towns all have been suffering heavily.

Those visitors to the area would see a lot of groups of people who drive motorbike early in the morning and carry big cans containing water. They are the residents from An Khe town, who have to travel to Kbang district in the upper stream area to take water and bring home for daily use. They have to travel a long distance of 30 kilometers every day.

Since the Ba River has got seriously polluted, the An Khe water supply plant has no more water to provide to urban areas. Local residents now dare not use the muddy red water running from the faucets.

It seems that the An Khe – Ka Nak hydropower plant has not been welcomed in the land, because it has taken water away from people, left no fish for fishermen to catch, no water for farmers to cultivate. People in Phu Yen province, who suffer most from the hydropower plant, always complain about the drought in dry season and flood in rainy season.

Thien Nhien

Vietnam, river network, environment, hydropower plant, project