Deteriorating reservoirs pose threat in central region
  • | Lao Dong, | September 11, 2012 05:58 PM

There are currently 6,000 reservoirs and dykes, 22 hydropower plants of 20-220MW capacity mostly located near the Vu Gia - Thu Bon River in Quang Nam Province and Ba River in Binh Dinh Province.


Safety concerns over hydropower reservoirs

Reservoirs in the central region are being inspected in the run up to the storm season to check their construction, while inter-reservoir operating procedures will be reviewed to prevent sudden flood discharges. However, despite these precautions local people continue to express concern about their operation.

In Quang Nam Province, the people who live in mountainous areas, especially Bac Tra My District near Song Trang 2 Hydropower Plant, are very concerned that water continued to leak from the plant since 2011, and these fears have been intensified by a series of earthquakes. This 730 cubic metre reservoir is held by a 165 metre high dam, which despite assurances from EVN and the Ministry of Industry and Trade continues to concern local residents.

Asides from Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant,  there are several other major plants in the central region such as Binh Dinh and A Luoi in Thua Thien - Hue Province, the Dak My 4 and A Vuong plants in Quang Nam Province or Song Hinh Hydropower Plant in Phu Yen Province. All of these plants have suddenly discharged their reservoirs and caused damage to the people living downstream before.

According to the Committee of Flood and Storm Control in the central region, locals are facing dangers from the degradation of various medium and small sized reservoirs.

In Quang Ngai Province, 60 reservoirs have degraded, including 30 lakes which are severely broken. Binh Dinh Province also has two large reservoirs, Dinh Binh and Vinh Son, holding over 260 cubic metres of water and 130 small reservoirs that pose a danger of erosion. Most of these ponds have been built over 30 years ago and now need urgent repairs, at an estimated VND300 billion (USD14.4 million).

Van Phu Chinh, Deputy Head of Dyke Management and Flood Control Department said the management of the existing reservoirs had proved complicated. Reservoirs attached to hydropower plants are managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, while irrigation reservoirs are controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; while the rivers are the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment while the localities manage the small reservoirs.

Due to these overlapping responsibilities, it comes as no surprise that regulation works, maintenance and renovations always encounter difficulties. The Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association are proposing to the government to review and establish a new organisation to manage the country’s water resources.

In many localities, the authorities have reinforced lakes and reservoirs to ensure local safety. Chinh said people should remain calm since the reservoir safety was not an issue.

The representatives of the Department of Safety Engineering and Environment said the leaking at Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant had been greatly reduced. After a report on the recent earthquakes that struck the area are conducted, the government will decide if the reservoirs should continue storing water.

Earthquakes have occurred at Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant

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