This VND1.3 trillion (US$620 million) investment plan has recently been approved by the provincial People’s Committee.
Tran Huu Hau, director of Tay Ninh province’s investment promotion center said the Binh Duong-based Audio Visual Global Company, the main investor, has completed a detailed zoning plan for the project while seeking approval from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which manages the reservoir.
According to the plan, the entire Nhim Island will be developed into a complex for film production and a resort area for holiday makers on short vacation trips.
The island will be divided into three sections. The first section of 119 hectares will house a studio and film production center. The second one of 108 hectares will provide shooting locations for movies of both the historical and modern genres. There will be theme parks and amusement areas for visitors to the island. The remaining land will be built into an ecotourism site and a cinema village.
The project also includes a 3-hectare area, home to a wharf and boats carrying passengers on an 8.5 kilometer trail from Tay Ninh province’s Duong Minh Chau town to the island.
This studio project, which meets regional and international standards according to Hau’s estimation, will not only benefit the investors but can also be rented to domestic and foreign film crews, thus helping to boost tourism in Tay Ninh, in accordance with the provincial development plan.
Many problems predicted
According to Hau, AVG plans to construct for this eco-friendly project a separate sewage system and waste treatment facilities. Trees will be planted around the island to prevent the waste water from leaking out and contaminating the reservoir’s water. The electricity grid for the studio and resorts will be laid underground, stretching from the other side of the reservoir.
However, irrigation experts fear this plan to transform the island into a studio and resort will disrupt the ecological balance and cause water pollution in the reservoir.
Nguyen Truong Xuan, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City’s Irrigation Management, Exploitation & Service Company, said Dau Tieng Reservoir will soon have to expand its irrigation service for tens of thousands of additional hectares in Tay Ninh province’s Tay Bien and Long An province. Although it will receive a supplementary 50 cubic meters of water per second from Phuoc Hoa reservoir, it could scarcely meet the area’s irrigation needs, especially during the dry season.
The Ho Chi Minh City Irrigation Science Association has agreed with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s proposal to raise the reservoir’s height by 2 meters more to increase its storage capacity and avoid excessive water overflow which may flood Ho Chi Minh City, and Binh Duong and Tay Ninh province.
“The new water level in the reservoir will be higher, giving the film studio a high chance of being flooded,” warned Xuan.
“The waste material from the studio and the pollutants from farming and animal husbandry activities in the reservoir area will make the water pollution more serious.”
Dr. Nguyen An Nien, chairman of the association, said because the reservoir is an inter-provincial project, safety should be a top priority.
“If problem happens, more than one billion cubic meters of water will be discharged and cause inundation to the downstream area, especially Ho Chi Minh city. The association has officially asked the Ministry to carefully consider the plan’s many disadvantages before approving this project,” he said.
Dau Tieng Reservoir is 25km from Tay Ninh, 70km north of Ho Chi Minh City, on the way to the Cao Dai Temple and Ba Den Mountain. The reservoir covers 27,000 hectares and has a water reservoir of 1.5 billion cubic meters used for irrigation in Tay Ninh Province, as well as for other neighboring provinces.