VietNamNet Bridge – Tens of thousands of families in Gia Lai provinces, who have been living on the Ba River side, now do not have running water because the Ba River – the main water supply source – has become dried and polluted. The An Khe-Kanak hydropower plant has deprived water of local residents.
Water supply plants, drilled wells all unusable because of mud
The Ba River’s passage in the An Khe town of Gia Lai province is sunk in mud and pollution in the sunny season. It is getting depleted because all the water has been deprived by the water reservoirs of the two hydropower plants. It is also getting polluted because a lot of factories and workshops are discharging untreated waste water to the river, turning the river into a dead river.
The local residents in distress continuously cried for help, while the local authorities have continuously asked the investor of the An Khe-Kanak hydropower plant to settle the problems Finally, the investor has to accept to “give water back to the Ba River”. However, the water has been running at a low flow of 4 cubic meters per second.
Also, local residents cannot use the water. Dang Duc Binh, a local resident of the An Khe town said that there always exists a thick mud layer on the river, which makes the water unusable. Meanwhile, the majority of the families here cannot get tap-water any more. The families, which still can get tap-water in accordance with the signed contracts with the local water supply company, dare not use the supplied water because the water smells nasty.
If someone goes to the An Khe town these days, he would see people rushing to purchase and carry water. A lot of people have to travel tens of kilometers to K’bang district to bring clean water back home for use.
Local residents in the districts of Kon Chro, La Pa, Krong Pa and Ayun Pa town have to drill wells themselves to look for underground water. It costs 20-30 million dong to drill a well, but in many cases, the found water cannot be used because it is infected with acidity.
Nguyen Van Thi, Deputy Head of the An Khe water supply plant said that since the Ba River has become seriously polluted, and the volume of mud on the river has become too big, the plant has to treat the water with the volume of chemicals double the previous level. However, this does not help, and the tap water supplied to local residents cannot meet the required quality.
Meanwhile, Thi said, as the filtration system has been overloaded; the equipment has been degrading very quickly. At present, the water supply plant is running only one machine with 60 percent of the capacity; therefore, it can only satisfy 30 percent of the total demand.
Hydropower plants’ floodgate the culprit
Nguyen Van Thang, Chair of the An Khe town People’s Committee, said that right after discovering the thick mud layer on the Ba River, local relevant agencies took an inspection tour and found out that the culprit was the floodgate of the An Khe-Kanak hydropower plant.
According to Dang Thi Yen, Head of the Sub-department for natural resources and the environment, the hydropower plant has two water reservoirs, including the Kanak reservoir in K’bang district, and the An Khe reservoir in the place between K’bang district and An Khe town.
The latter, An Khe, takes the responsibility of containing and providing water to run the second hydropower plant located in Tay Son district in Binh Dinh province. At the An Khe reservoir, there is a floodgate to the Ba River, which is open only for discharging flood. At the floodgate, there is a sewer with the diameter of 600 cm, put deeply at the bottom of the reservoir, through which water is discharged to the Ba River.
Thang said that to date, no proper solution has been found to rescue the water supply source for local residents, because the hydropower plant has been put into operation. Yen also said that local authorities had working sessions with the investor of the power plant many times, but there has been no reply and no solution.