The battles for water getting more violent

VietNamNet Bridge – Where there are hydropower plants, the battles between the local people and the plants’ developers have been lasting for many years.

Vietnam, water sources, hydropower plant, economic development

A lot of hydropower plants have been built on the upper course of rivers to generate electricity to ease the thirst for electricity from industries and households. However, the plants, which need huge volumes of water to run their turbines, have caused a drought to the residents in the lower course of the rivers.

While people keep complaining about the lack of water for daily use, the owners of the hydropower plants and state management agencies simply say they have done all the things they can as promised in the reports on the possible impacts of the investment projects on the environment.

Therefore, the battles between the involved parties which both need water, have been lasting for the last many years and have not reached a common voice.

The battle for the water of the Ba River broke out as soon as the An Khe – Kanak hydropower plant began storing water and generated electricity. The local authorities of the Gia Lai and Phu Yen provinces complained that the water of the Ba River has been used up by the power plant, while no water has been left for the local people’s daily use.

Tran Trung Thanh, Deputy Director of the Meteorological stations in the central region, said it’s a taboo to transfer the water from one river basin to another. He believes that it’s necessary to demolish the hydropower plant to give the water back to the river and the local ecosystem.

However, the developer of the An Khe – Kanak affirmed that the company has done everything written down in the report on the possible impacts on the environment which was approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in 2007.

The hydropower plant has broken the natural laws of the Ba River. This has resulted in the serious water shortage in the area, making hundreds of thousands of people, living on the river’s water, suffer.

In Gia Lai province alone, 450,000 people in 8 districts and towns in the southeast have suffered heavily because of the water exhaustion.

The Gia Lai provincial authorities have many times asked the government, central agencies and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment to apply necessary measures to settle the problems.

Like the other hydropower plant developers, the management board of the Thuong Kon Tum hydropower plant on Dak Snghe river of Kon Tum province, has affirmed that the developer has followed all the restrictions by the watchdog agency.

Especially, the hydropower plant has been doing “more than it is requested”: it can ensure the water flow speed of up to 3 cubic meters per second instead of 0.9 cubic meters per second as instructed.

However, 0.9 cubic meters per second is a too low level. In fact, the normal water flow on Dak Snghe River was 10 cubic meters per second at the lowest, while the figure was over 15 cubic meters per second on Dak Bla River.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has been criticized for the bad works in considering the reports on possible impacts on the environment submitted by hydropower plants’ developers, which has lent a hand to the plants to drive the rivers to death.

Thien Nhien

Vietnam, water sources, hydropower plant, economic development