Call to scrap environmentally damaging hydropower projects

It should soon set up a dedicated agency for managing water resources, they said.
The central region now has 6,000 reservoirs and dams and 22 hydropower plants located mostly along the Vu Gia – Thu Bon and Ba Rivers.
But their operation is not efficient, often causing loss of property and lives in downstream areas during the rainy and flood seallasons, according to the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Association (VUSTA).
Most hydropower reservoirs only focus on protecting themselves from floods and not on downstream areas.
Speaking at the seminar held by VUSTA, Pham Xuan Su, chairman of the Viet Nam Irrigation and Drainage Association, said natural disasters were becoming more severe in the area in recent years since hydropower plants were operated without proper zoning plans.
The responsibilities of each hydropower plant with regard to operation and flood regulation needed to spelt out in detail, he said.
Tran Quoc Hung, deputy director of the Ha Tinh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said competent agencies should act to mitigate a situation where hydropower plants caused flooding in the rainy season and drought during the dry season.
Ha Tinh had rejected several proposals to build hydropower plants in recent years because their economic benefits were insignificant compared to the loss of forests and threats to people's safety, he said.
Dao Minh Huong, deputy director of the Quang Ngai Tinh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said flood warning systems and hydrographic measuring facilities had not been set up at hydroelectric projects.
If they were installed, they could play an active role in informing local residents about floods as well as measuring the rainfall quantity to make plans for releasing waters appropriately, he added.


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